Lebanese Easter Cookies

4.0
(5)

These cookies are made in my mom's home village of Baalbek, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, a week before Easter. They are such a hit, everyone asks for the recipe. They taste good and they're not hard to prepare, especially if you add the right ingredients.

2
2
Prep Time:
2 hrs
Cook Time:
10 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
10 hrs 10 mins
Servings:
60
Yield:
60 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds butter

  • 4 cups white sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 9 cups semolina flour

  • 8 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ tablespoons quick rise yeast

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ½ teaspoon allspice

  • 1 teaspoon ground mahleb

  • ¼ cup black sesame seeds

  • ¼ cup rose water

  • ¼ cup orange flower water

  • 1 cup warm water

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in sugar and water; continue stirring to dissolve sugar. Do not boil. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

  2. Measure flours into a large bowl. Add melted butter, yeast, spices, and sesame seeds; stir slowly for about 10 minutes to thoroughly blend ingredients. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave dough in bowl to rest for 1 hour.

  3. Prepare 3 baking sheets with cooking spray or parchment paper. In a small bowl, pour the rose water and orange flower water. Pour the warm water in to a second small bowl. Working on a floured board, pull off about 1 cup of dough. Dip your fingers first in the warm water and knead the dough a few minutes; then dip the dough in the flower water and knead it again until the dough is soft and pliable.

  4. Use the palm of your hand to roll the ball of dough into a rope 12 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Cut the rope in half and make a wreath-shaped cookie with each one, pinching the ends together. Place on a baking sheet. When you have filled a baking sheet, cover the cookies with a clean towel and refrigerate overnight to rest the dough.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove baking sheets from the refrigerator to warm up while the oven preheats. Bake cookies in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Editor's Note:

Mahleb is a spice made from ground black cherry pits (from a type of tree that grows in the Near East, not North America). Used to flavor baked goods with a subtle, sweet/nutty taste, it can be found in Greek or Middle Eastern ethnic markets.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

198 Calories
10g Fat
26g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 60
Calories 198
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 66mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 2g
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 31mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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