Persian Rice Flour Cookies: Nan Berenji

Naan Berenj

The very joyous Nowruz – Persian New Year, is almost here and in honour of that, a group of 14 lovely Persian bloggers and I got together for a recipe round-up celebrating this vernal equinox, which will take place on Thursday, March 20th.

I am honoured to be a part of this group, thanks to my paternal grandmother.

As this imminent holiday approaches, out come the fragrant, musky saffron threads, gorgeous green pistachios, sweet almonds and other delicious ingredients to prepare sweet treats for sharing with friends and family members.

I made noon berenj, which is made with rice flour, so it is a gluten-free treat.

It is not traditionally made with saffron or rosewater, but I found that it paired beautifully with the rice flour.

The jelly was another addition – a flavour from home here in Canada – Niagara Pepper Jelly, which is sweet, tangy and has a hint of spiciness.

These are lovely with a milky tea or even a bone-dry Prosecco!

Naan Berenj1

Wishing everyone a beautiful year ahead – and let’s hope that Spring comes soon, as we are all rather frozen here in Toronto.

Please do scroll down and click on the links of my fellow Persian bloggers’ Nowruz creations! A special thanks to you, Sanam joon, for organising this.

Persian Rice Flour Cookies: Nan Berenji
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Persian Rice Flour Cookies: Nan Berenji

Author: Shayma Saadat


  • 1 tsp heaped saffron threads, crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 100 g unsalted butter (softened, at room temperature)
  • 120 g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (bring to room temperature)
  • 250 g white rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp rosewater
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • red Pepper Jelly or any jam or jelly you prefer
  • crushed, unsalted pistachios


  • Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil.
  • Crush saffron threads into a powder form in a pestle and mortar. Transfer saffron powder to a small teacup. Add 2 tbsps warm water, stir and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  • Add eggs one by one, till incorporated.
  • Add rose water and the reserved saffron water.
  • In batches, add rice flour, baking powder and sea salt. Mix gently, till incorporated into the mixture.
  • At this point, place the cookie dough in the mixing bowl straight into the fridge for 20-30 minutes for the dough to chill. Cover the bowl with foil, plastic wrap or a plate.
  • After the dough has rested in the fridge for the requisite amount of time, you will start to form the cookies.
  • Using a measuring tablespoon, scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough and place in the palm of your hand. Form into a ball and gently, press your thumb in the middle to form a well, flattening out the cookie at the same time.
  • Place each cookie on your baking tray and when they are all lined up on the tray, bake for 10 minutes.
  • Fill each "thumbprint" well of the cookie with your favourite jam or jelly and adorn with pistachio dust. Serve warm. If you want to take these to work, as I did – then add the jelly or jam into the well right before serving.

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  1. Shayma I love how you took a traditional recipe and put your own elegant spin on it. Yes to eating these with Prosecco! Looking forward to cooking with you one of these days! -Louisa

  2. As my punjabi neighbor aunty would say, “Oye, kammal kar ditta puttar!” LOL
    There’s something in your writing S. I know you did not write much here but you still took me back home. I love you and your posts for that! 🙂
    I’m definitely trying this recipe probably for holi which is just round the corner.

  3. Shayma, How lovely that you have learned to enjoy Persian flair through your paternal Grandmother. You have added a brilliant twist to this ever so delicious cookie. The addition of jam, and not any old jam, is quite intriguing. I have never made noon-berenj, but this recipe sure inspired me. Thank you for sharing. ~ Fae.

  4. I make noon berenji every year for Norooz but never with jam, they look absolutely fabulous! Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Norooz

    Afsaneh xxx

  5. Shayma – these are gorgeous. And yes ,yes, yes to Noon Berenji with Prosecco. A perfect combination capturing our very similar life journeys. Happy Norouz to you and your family!

  6. Hi, Shayma your recipe is so good and different I like very much and I want to know more about like these recipes. Thanks for…

  7. Shayma, Nowruz Mubarak!
    These cookies look delicious, and totally achievable for novice cook who wants a sweet, homemade treat for the new year!

  8. Happy Happy Nowruz. Hope springs eternally in this period of revival, rejuvenation and reinvigoration. May you continue to educate all us Epicureans. May you enjoy little Spice Spoon in this forthcoming Spring. Thanks for your lovely writing and great recipes.

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  10. Hi Shayma,
    could you please suggest me something so that I can replace rose water?
    It’s quite unusual here in Italy and hard to find.
    I’ll try these biscuits…look inviting to me.


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