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afghan cookies

¾ cup vegetable oil

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp. ground pistachios*

I have to admit that I nearly stopped in my tracks when I first read the recipe for awb e dundawn. The instructions recommend kneading the dough for at least a half hour, ideally an hour. An hour of kneading anything is a baking deal breaker. Then it struck me that my kitchen, and hopefully yours, is outfitted with something even the most well-to-do Afghan woman lacks: a stand-up mixer. Whether my version of the cookies would measure up to Helen’s standards, I can’t be sure, but they disappeared from my own cookie tin in short order.
Form the dough into smooth, round balls, about the size of a whole walnut, and distribute onto two baking sheets. Use your thumb to make a distinct imprint in the top of each cookie.
*Grind the pistachios in a mini food processor or with some vigorous chopping using a chef’s knife.
Cooking fats are considered quite precious in Afghanistan. One of the ways Afghans, who are famous for their hospitality, honor their guests is to serve them the fattiest cut of meat, the dish brimming with the most oil. Butter is particularly dear on Afghan soil and not likely used for baked goods. Indeed the original recipe for this cookie, which I adapted from Helen Saberi’s book Afghan Food & Cookery, calls for vegetable oil. The use of butter in the recipe below is my own greedy addition.
1 ½ tsp. baking powder

3 cups all-purpose white flour

MELT IN YOUR MOUTH COOKIES – AWB-E-DANDAN The direct translation from Dari into English of awb e dundawn, the name of these delectable Afghan cookies, is “water from the teeth”. I’m guessing