How This Community Member Turned a Rice Pudding Tradition Into Delicious Cookies
Lebanese meghle gets a new look
Every month we’re putting the spotlight on one community recipe that catches our attention and fits in with our monthly issue. This month? It’s all about spices. So we’re highlighting these spiced up meghle cookies from community member, Elianne Hala.
The tradition behind meghle
All around the world, there are dishes linked to traditions that carry a whole lot of meaning to some of us—and meghle (or meghli) is one of them. Meghle is a Lebanese rice pudding—usually spiked with cinnamon, anise, and caraway—that’s made to celebrate the birth of a new child. It’s usually prepared by the appointed godparents and is served to friends and family in bowls topped with shredded coconut and pistachios or other nuts. Imagine your whole house filled with laughter and the sweet smells of cinnamon, aniseed, and caraway. Isn't that a wonderful way to welcome a new life into the world?
It’s not uncommon for specific smells to trigger some of our memories. For me, the smell of warming spices evokes memories of Christmas and time spent with family, especially since these spices are often used to make holiday cakes, cookies, and all sorts of Christmas sweets in Germany. Since meghle is made to celebrate new life, it’s no surprise that it’s also served at Christmas in celebration of the birth of Jesus.
A new way to meghle
Our community member Eilanne Hala was preparing the traditional rice pudding for her godson when the idea to make meghle cookies struck her. And thus, the meghle cookie was born and the result is delicious.
Eilanne’s recipe only requires a handful of ingredients to make roughly 20 small cookies, which you can whip together and serve for just about any occasion, whether that’s brunch or a special day like Christmas. The preparation is very easy, just as long as you carve out some time for chilling the dough. You’ll need at least one hour of chilling, but you can also prepare the dough one day before baking and leave it to chill in the refrigerator overnight. Chilling the batter is very important and shouldn’t be left out!
To make the dough, simply whisk flour, baking soda, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, caraway, aniseed, and salt in a large bowl. Then cream butter and sugar together. Add an egg and vanilla extract to the butter-sugar mixture, then mix the dry and wet ingredients together. After the dough has chilled, form it into small balls and roll each one in shredded coconut and chopped pistachios. Let them bake for approx. 15 - 18 min., or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.
Time to make your own meghle cookies
Just as Elianne was inspired to merge two recipes together, what’s stopping you from creating your own version at home? Who knows what great discovery will come out of this? Or maybe you'd like to use her recipe as is, but with walnuts instead of pistachios or sesame seeds instead of coconut flakes—the choice is yours!
You can also experiment with how to sweeten the cookie dough. For example, replace the whole cane sugar with any sweetener of your choice, like xylitol. Add pinches of cardamom to amplify the warming flavors of the cookies or a teaspoon of rose or orange blossom water to add more depth and something unique to the cookies. Whichever way you choose to experiment, don’t forget your favorite recipe has the opportunity to be featured. For more information on how to upload your own recipes, see our guide here. We’re excited to see what you cook up!
Published on October 26, 2020