Middle Eastern Kahk

These melt in your mouth butter cookies are served at holiday times such as post-Ramadan Eid al fitr, Christmas and Easter. This recipe is an adaptation of the original made slightly earthier with the addition of black tea both steeped into the ghee and blended in with the dried spices.

Traditionally images of the sun goddess were imprinted on the tops of the cookies, and molds and stamps are available to give this imprint as well as other festive images. There is also a traditional serrated tweezer to aid you in carving decorative tops, or they are often left plain as well. Various imprints can be useful when you use multiple fillings, or you can leave them to be a lovely surprise when eaten.

It is said that in Egypt in the 10th century these cookies were stuffed with coins by the royal bakers and distributed to the poor. Today however the fillings tend more towards nuts, dates and honey.

Middle Eastern Kahk
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
100 cookies 30 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
100 cookies 30 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Middle Eastern Kahk
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
100 cookies 30 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
100 cookies 30 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
Reehet El Kahk
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Line your cookie sheets with baking parchment or reusable silicone sheets.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer combine the flour, 3.5 ounces of the powdered sugar, the baking powder, salt and spice blend. Blend on low until evenly combined.
  4. Add the ghee and increase speed to medium low. Blend until course and pebbly
  5. Add the vanilla extract to the milk. On low, slowly stream in milk and blend until the dough pulls together and is no longer crumbly.
Form and Bake the cookies
  1. Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. If leaving plain, place on the prepared baking sheet, flattening slightly. They spread minimally so you can arrange them as close as 2/3 inch apart.
  2. If you are filling the cookies, indent the ball, press in your chosen filling then roll into a smooth ball. Flatten slightly on the prepared sheetpan.
  3. If you will be imprinting the cookies, now is the time.
  4. Bake in pre-heated oven 20 – 26 minutes until firm to the touch and lightly golden. Remove and let cool.
Finishing the Cookies
  1. Mix the remaining 1.5 ounces of confectioners sugar with the remaining 2 teaspoons of the tea/spice blend. Place into a small strainer.
  2. When fully cooled, dust your cookies generously with the confectioners sugar/spice blend. They are now ready to enjoy, serve or gift.
Filling Options
  1. The options are endless, or these little gems can be left plain. Traditional fillings often include a praline like filling made with ghee, honey, sesame and walnuts called agameya, dates, pistachios or other nuts. For variations include candied ginger, dried fruits, fig paste or interesting blends of spiced, sugared or carmelized nuts. Whatever your chosen filling or fillings, prepare it by dividing it into small even portions, before you make your dough.
  2. Today I've chosen to use candied walnuts, candied pecans, crystalized ginger and a date and walnut paste for my fillings.
Reehet El Kahk
  1. This is a traditional spice blend used in Khak cookies and other baked goods. It usually features Mahlab, an aromatic spice made from the seeds of the prunus mahaleb cherry. A bit like a sweet and fruity version of bitter almond.
  2. This spice is often blended with anise, clove, cardamom or fennel. In our very non-traditional variation here we are also including freshly ground black tea.
  3. Place all ingredients into a clean spice grinder.
  4. Pulse until your spice and tea mixture is well ground.
Recipe Notes

Traditional molds and stamps can often be found in Middle Eastern markets, as can Mahlab.  You may even be able to find the pre blended Reehet  El Kahk.  If you have difficulty finding it, it is readily available online.

As with all spices, if you can find them that way, purchase them whole and grind fresh as needed.  Spices loose their aromatics quickly when ground.

 

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