How To Make Jordanian Dahdah

Your happiness is in your tribe!

The pursuit of a passion, a dream, or a business idea could have a lonely aspect.

Often times, your eyes are fixed at a shining goal and your hands are far-stretched to reach it while your immediate surrounding can hardly see what you are gazing at and are struggling with comprehending your arduous quest.

As Christy Metcalf, business consultant and co-founder of Two Smart Girls puts it: “Your immediate family and friends know the old you, but they can hardly see the person you want to be”. Watch the full interview here.

This is exactly when you realize the indispensability of belonging to a tribe with common interests and similar aspirations.

Social media platforms as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer us a galore of groups that you can join, and where you find priceless resources and support, and an embracing community that endorses your personal development.

Through my scope of interests— photography, food, and entrepreneurship, I came to realize the power of these online groups to harness my dream, expand my knowledge, and keep me moving forward. Even when unexpected turns of events sap my energy up, my tribe members gracefully lift me up.

It wasn’t too long ago when I joined the Facebook online group Arabic Flavor which includes members from all walks of life, yet they are bound with two elements— Arabic food heritage and passion for cooking.

Like most food clubs, a member of @Arabic Flavor shares a recipe that hails from her/his country of origin and asks the rest of the members to try the same recipe and to post it on a preset date.

It is a fun and fine tradition that made me familiar with a number of esoteric, as well as exotic dishes that I was totally unaware of it, despite my upbringing in the Middle East.

For the month of July, the recipe picked was “Dahdah” shared by Essmat Ebda7, @food_yummy_es. Dahdah is a fragrant Jordanian and a Palestinian dessert made of two semolina layers encasing a generous layer of cinnamon-spiked and coarsely ground walnut.

This vibrant dessert is not crunchy, nor cakey, it tastes like a large crumbly cookie that collapses once you bite into it. The pungency of the cinnamon notes definitely give it an edge and pairs well with the walnut. The addition of turmeric lends the cake its vibrant, happy color.

This dessert is put together in no time if you crush the roasted walnuts and clarify your butter in advance. Having said this, store-bought clarified butter will do just fine.

I tweaked the recipe slightly by infusing the simple syrup with whole cloves and orange peel to enliven the flavors and cut through the sugar with a hint of orange acidity. 

This eggless exotic recipe is a nice change from regular summer tarts and ice creams, and a wonderful treat to accompany your cup of tea or coffee while enjoying the fresh breeze of a late afternoon while gazing at the sunset.

Please like and share. Your feedback on the recipe means the world to me.

Dahdah: Jordanian Cinnamon-Spiked Dessert

Recipe adapted from Essmat Ebda7 @food_yummy_es,  a member of @Arabic_Flavor

Serves: 6-8 people



The Two Semolina Layers

  • 2 cups fine semolina
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons powdered milk
  • ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon clarified butter or ghee
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1 cup to 1½ cup warm water (depends on the type of flour and semolina)
  • 1 teaspoon mahlab  

The Cinnamon-Walnut Filling 

  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • ¾ cup sugar syrup (recipe follows)
  • ½ cup coarsely ground walnut
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter
  • A pinch of salt

The Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 whole cloves (optional)
  • 1 strip of orange peel (optional)

For Decoration 

  • Thin orange peel curls
  • Simple syrup
  • Desiccated coconut


  1. Make the semolina layers: In a deep bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Knead with your hands, and add more water if the dough is too dry or doesn’t come together. Let the dough rest, covered, in a warm place for 30 minutes to one hour.
  2. Make the Syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, orange peel, and spices and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Let the syrup simmer for no longer than 3 minutes as it should remain a light syrup and not a thick sticky one. Let the syrup cool down and then remove the spices.
  3. Combine the syrup and the dry ingredients of the filling until they are well incorporated.
  4. Assemble the dessert: Divide the semolina-flour dough into two halves. Line the cake or tart pan with the first half. Add the filling, level it with an offset spatula. For the second layer, press pieces of the dough between the palms of your hands and add them to the surface of the filling.
  5. Bake the dessert in a preheated oven at 200°F for approx. 40 minutes or until the surface starts to brown. Let it cool completely.
  6. Decorate the dessert with desiccated coconut and a drizzle of simple syrup.
  7. Serve cold or at room temperature with tea or/and coffee.

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Former diplomat | Travel & Food Writer | Stauch advocate of Culinary Diplomacy. Find more here:

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