Kahk (Egyptian Eid Cookies)
Kahk is a traditional Eid cookie originating from Egypt. They have a circular shape, a buttery crumb, and can be made plain or with various fillings.
For Agameya (Honey Filling)
- 1 Tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
- 1/8 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 6 Tbsp Honey
- 1/2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds, Toasted
- 2 Tbsp Finely Chopped Almonds Or other nuts of choice
For Agwa (Date Filling)
- 1/2 Cup Pitted Dates
- 1 Tbsp Butter or Ghee
- 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon Powder
- 4 Cups All- Purpose Flour
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1/8 Tsp Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon Powder
- 1 1/3 Cups Ghee
- 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar/ Icing Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Milk
To make the agameya (honey filling)
- Melt the ghee in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook till the mixture turn slightly golden brown. Make sure to whisk constantly with a small whisk.
- Add honey and bring to a boil. Make sure to stir constantly. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat to low-medium and cook until the honey thickens.The consistency should be of a thick pourable sauce but not hardened. If a candy thermometer is available, this is called the softball stage, 234-240F (112-116C).
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the toasted sesame seeds and the finely chopped nuts. Stir through, and then transfer the agameya to a small bowl. Let the mixture cool till it is firm but still soft enough to shape. If the mixture hardens too much, warm it in the microwave for a few seconds.
- Grease hands with oil and then roll the agameya into small, teaspoon-sized balls. Use a small cookie scoop orteaspoon to help with scooping out the filling. Place the agameya balls on a parchment paper-lined tray and keep them in the fridge until ready to use.
For the date (agwa) filling
- Place the pitted dates in a food processor, and pulse until a paste is formed. If a food processor isn’t available, it is possible to chop the dates finely using a sharp knife.
- Place butter in a small saucepan over low heat and let it melt.
- Add the chopped dates and the cinnamon powder and stir together. Stir the dates till a soft paste is formed. If necessary, add ½ – 1 tablespoon of water.
- Once the paste is formed, take the dates out of the saucepan and let the paste cool. Once the date paste is cool, make small teaspoon-sized balls of the date mixture just like you did with the agameya filling. (Grease your handswith oil if necessary.) Place the date paste balls on a parchment paper-lined tray and keep them in thefridge until ready to use.
For the Kahk dough
- Place the flour, cinnamon powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix with a spoon and set aside.
- Place ghee (clarified butter) in a large bowl, and add the powdered sugar/icing sugar. Use an electric beater to whisk together till light and fluffy (about 2minutes).
- Add the flour mixture to the ghee and sugar. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. (The flour will get coated in the ghee / clarified butter and have a crumbly texture.)
- Add the milk and mix again. The dough is ready when it can be formed into a ball and doesn’t crack when pressed. If the dough hasn’t come together, add another tablespoon of milk or a tablespoon of flour, as required.
- Cover the dough with a cloth, and let it rest in a cool place or the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Before starting to roll your cookies, preheat your oven to 180 C (355F) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop out the dough and roll it between your palms to form individual balls. The dough balls should be double the size of the filling balls. (It is essential to make sure the dough balls are all the same size to bake evenly.)
- To stuff the kahk cookies, place a ball of dough in your hand and make an indentation using your thumb. Place the filling ball (agameya or date filling)in the center and wrap the remaining dough around it. Roll it into a smooth ball again. The kahk cookies can also be made plain without any filling.
- Make an indentation on the top of the kahk cookies using a fork.
- For agameya cookies – don’t make any indentations as the filling can ooze out if there are cracks on top.
- Place the prepared kahk cookies on a sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure there is space between each cookie.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C (355F) for about 15 – 18 minutes until the bottom is browned and the top is pale golden. The filled cookies will bake more quickly than the plain ones.
- Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- When the cookies have cooled, place them on a platter and dust generously with powdered sugar. This step is particularly important. The cookies aren’t too sweet, and the powdered sugar looks beautiful and adds sweetness to the cookies.
Kahk seasoning is a unique blend of powdered spices added to kahk cookies to give them their distinctive flavour. It is also known as kahk essence, or reehet el kahk and is available at Egyptian stores. Some of the common ingredients in kahk seasoning are ground mahlab, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and fennel. If you can find kahk seasoning, do give it a try. Otherwise, substitute with your favourite dessert spice or spice blend or simply use cinnamon.