Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lebanese Easter Cookies

"These cookies are made in my mom's home village - Baalbek, in Lebanon, a week before Easter. They are such a hit, everyone asks for the recipe.


recipe makes around 100 cookies
600 gm all purpose flour
1400 gm semolina
570 gm sweet butter preferable if half butter and half ghee or all clarified butter
640 gm sugar
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
¾ tsp Mahleb (available at Middle Eastern stores)
½ tsp cloves
1tbsp cinnamon
¾ tsp cardamom
¾ tsp all spice
½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ tbsp commercial yeast
425ml water
½ cup of black sesame seeds – kalungy
½ cup of rose water + orange blossoms

.In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in sugar ,continue stirring to dissolve sugar. Do not boil. Add the flavored water mix.
2.Measure flours and spices in a large bowl. Add the warm melted butter mix
Stirring well so that the flour mix soaks the butter, knead with both hands.
Rest for 30 minutes, the mix will be crumbly. Warm the water and start kneading to make a soft pliable dough. At this time you can wash the black sesame seeds and add them to the cookies, or to half of the mix. Or leave without. Rest the dough for 1 hour .
3.Prepare 5 baking sheets set aside. On a cutting board or large plate, cut the dough into walnut size balls, and roll each into a rope and make wreath-shape cookies pinching the ends together. You can use a cookie cutter if you prefer. Rest the cookie on the baking sheets leaving small space between them. Cover with clean towels and leave on the table till the next day.

For Klisha Cookies

same dough, add extra tbsp of black pepper and one tsp all spice, and two tbsp dry yeast.
Leave the dough in the bowl to double. knead again and leave it till morning. the more it rises and you work on it, the spongier it will become. The next day knead again, then rest for 30 minutes then start cutting them into small walnut size balls and shaping them. You can bake them right away

4-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake cookies in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

These cookies are good any time; they have a nice crunch, not too sweet, serve them with coffee or tea, or snaks. We also eat them with Halloumi cheese


Add butter mix and spices to the flours

Add the butter mixture and mix well to coat the flours with the butter

Add the warm water and knead well to get a pliable dough, dont worry if its wet, it will dry soon.

wreath shape cookies

flower cookies

Butterflies cookies sprinkled with black sesame seeds - kulungi

If you like to use tweezers, go ahead and let your imagination work


Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Arlette, you have a very nice blog. All these foods look so familiar! Lovely food of the Mediterranean. These specific cookies don't seem unfamiliar. Do they make these during Ramadan? In my province, almost every family makes these cookies during Ramadan. It could be another holiday, don't know for sure. But they call them 'kake'. I used to not like them when I was a kid, but now I really miss them and want to learn how to make them.

Arlette said...

Hello Mediterranean Turkish Cook,

Yes we call them Kaak.
In baalbeck - my mom's village they have lots of wheat, and what's funny they don't eat lots of rice there, everything is made with burghul and wheat berry and semolina. if you come to Beirut they use flour and rice in their food preparation.
my father's family are Turkish, my grnadfather was from Adana - my grandmother from Ephesis, I remember that my grandma use to do a similar version of these kaak called Klisha, its made of 50% flour 50% semolina and in some region they are prepared with flour only. The texture is spongier than these crunchy cookies.
So I don't know if you are refering to the Klisha.

Are you interested to join us , I am organizing An Arabic Cooking Club, and inviting all Arabic / Middle Eastern cooks to join us.
if you are interested email me and we will talk more.
Thanks for stopping by.. take care

MariannaF said...

Hi! Thanks for your comment on my blog... which also allowed me to discover your delicious blog in return! I absolutely LOVE these cookies... my grandma makes them all the time around Easter (next Sunday for me!). They are almost addictive!

Arlette said...

oh Hello Marianna
You are Othodox like me....
Al Masih Kam ... Hakan Kam

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Hi Arlette, sorry for not responding to your cooking club question before. I am finding it really difficult sometimes to keep up with my blog. Therefore, I am not sure I can make another commitment at this time! I hope you guys have lots of fun :) Thank you so much for asking.

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

thanxx for letting me know about this very ineresting cookie,about their crucnhy side.
Cheers and happy day!!!