Friday, May 6, 2016

Harcha with Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter

I hear you: what-cha?

Luckily, if you like English muffins, johnnycakes or toasted polenta, the name of this Moroccan, skillet-cooked flatbread doesn't matter. What does matter is that it's easy, kid-friendly, infinitely variable and most importantly, delicious. 

HarchaTraditionally made with semolina, milk, cream or buttermilk, oil, and occasionally cornmeal, harcha can easily be a relatively Spartan carbohydrate staple for breakfast or with a meat or legume entree. However, adding a few extra touches - sugar, saffron, and vanilla - the crisp-crusted cakes are prime for a special breakfast or even dessert. This was the version I opted for when it came time to share the dish with my grade 1-6 classes, and while the just-textured-enough discs were more than delicious enough on their own, we upped the ante by dolloping an orange blossom water, cinnamon and honey butter on top. 

One of the best things about these (to me, anyways) is that they're yummy warm or room temperature, not to mention portable and 100% freezer friendly. Leave out the saffron, and they're totally budget-friendly too! Whether you adorn them to the nines or grab them hot out of the pan, there's no wrong way to taste Morocco at home.

Harcha
Makes ~12 
1 ½ cups fine semolina
⅓ cup fine cornmeal 
pinch saffron, ground or crushed (optional)
2 tbsp flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup canola oil
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp pure vanilla
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the semolina, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add the canola oil and milk and mix until a dough forms. (It should be very moist, but still be able to pack into a ball – add additional milk if needed).
  3. Shape the dough into balls about the size of apricots, place on a sheet of waxed paper and let rest 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a flat griddle or frying pan over medium-low heat and spray with cooking spray.
  5. With damp hands, flatten each ball into a disc at least ¼" thick.
  6. Cook the discs for 5 to 10 minutes on each side, until they are lightly golden. Make sure to turn them over only once.
  7. Serve immediately (optimally with Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter).
  8. You can freeze these up to 6 months – thaw and reheat them in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 161.5
Total Fat: 6.1 g
Cholesterol: 1.0 mg
Sodium: 5.4 mg
Total Carbs: 23.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 3.4 g

Harcha

Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter
Makes just over 1/2 cup, 8 servings
½ cup salted butter, softened
3 tbsp honey (I used orange blossom honey)
1 tsp orange flower water (or vanilla)
½ tsp cinnamon
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 126.2
Total Fat: 11.5 g
Cholesterol: 31.0 mg
Sodium: 82.1 mg
Total Carbs: 6.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.1 g