Rosebud Cookies

Gonca Gül Tatlisi

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Fatma learned how to make this sweet from her friend who lives in Rize, a province in northeast Turkey. According to the story, two lovers would make this dessert when they were at odds with each other, in hopes of reconciling. Gonca gül tatlısı are also prepared at every stage of a courtship — during the proposal, to celebrate the engagement, and to eat during wedding parties, as a symbol for happiness and love.

Ingredients

For the syrup

  • cups (800 milliliters) water
  • 3 cups (300 grams) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) lemon juice

For the dough

  • 1 cup (250 grams) yogurt
  • ½ cup (75 grams) melted butter or margarine
  • 1 cup (175 grams) olive oil (or any other oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (170 grams) semolina
  • 4 cups (550 grams) flour
  • 1 tablespoon (10 grams) baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) vanilla powder
  • 300 grams walnut halves (may substitute pistachios, hazelnuts, or almonds)

Method

Prepare syrup by combining the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Boil for 20 minutes, then remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice, and let cool.

Mix the yogurt, butter, oil, and egg in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Stir in the semolina, flour, baking powder, and vanilla powder, mixing to make a dough as soft as an earlobe.

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Pinch off a walnut-sized ball of dough. Flatten the ball into a circle about 1 cm (⅓ inch) thick. Use a small, sharp knife to cut the dough into four pieces, but keep the center of the dough intact. Place a walnut half so that it stands up in the center (the bottom should be perpendicular to the dough). Fold over two opposite pieces around the walnut, then fold over the remaining two pieces, to make a rosebud shape. Repeat with the remaining dough and walnuts, placing the shaped pieces on a greased baking sheet as you go.

Bake (middle rack) 25 to 30 minutes, until golden. While the cookies are still hot, ladle the syrup over them over a period of 10 to 15 minutes, until they absorb the syrup and become glossy. It is always tastier if the dessert is prepared in advance and rests overnight, as the taste develops.

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