kahk: National Cookies of Egypt: الكحك المصري

Recipe and Photo Credit to Nagwa Elarabi @nagwa.elarabi.photographer 

Egyptian Kahk  is the synonym of feast in Egypt. 

I have been traveling the world for the last 20 years of my life, rooting for exotic recipes, savory and sweet. Yet, with clear conscious, empty of chauvinism, I can declare that Kahk (Egyptian National cookies) are so unique.

Those are melt-in-your-mouth cookies. Their brittle texture relies on a generous amount of ghee. Kahk comes with different fillings: date paste, walnuts, agameya (see notes), or agameya mixed with walnuts. 

The best Kahk in my book is the one my late grandma made, yet you probably guessed what comes next!

My grandma never wrote down a recipe, my mom neither. Their common sense is all what they used when they made this ancient Egyptian recipe.

Therefore, I was jumping up and down when I found online, an accurate recipe of kahk that was tested and approved by a large Facebook group of Egyptian food bloggers.

The recipe belongs to Nagwa Elarabi @nagwa.elarabi.photographer, the talented food blogger and food photographer who is devoted to researching, documenting authentic Egyptian recipes, and sharing them with the world either in photos and words.

Nagwa is generously sharing with us today, the recipe for Kahk along with a stunning photography of her homemade feast Kahk.   

For a little bit of history, According to Nagwa: “It is believed that Kahk dates back to the ancient Egyptian civilization. It was offered to the priests, who were in charge of protecting the Khufu pyramid on the day where the sun falls perpendicular on Khufu’s cellular. The Ka7k shapes are found carved on templates pillars.Clearly, the popularity of this delicacy didn’t stop there.

Kahk remained venerated after the Arab invasion to Egypt. At the museum of the Islamic Art in Cairo antique Kahk moulds are exhibited. Some of them carry engraved sentences in Arabic that translate to “Eat and thank”.

After the kahk is rolled, shaped and filled, It is pinched with special tweezer found in Nagwa’s beautiful photos. The logic behind the pinching is to make dents in the cookie dough where the powder sugar to nest in. 

It might not be the quickest cookie recipe, but it is definitely a memorable experience, laden with aromas and flavors deeply-rooted in history. 

Many thanks to my Food Blogger and Instagram Nagwa Elarabi @nagwa.elarabi.photographer, for sharing her family signature recipe. 

For more flavorsome recipes, inspired by my Egyptian Cuisine, follow my IG @cheznermine.

 

 


Kahk: The National Egyptian Cookie

 

Recipe Credit to: Nagwa Al Arabi 

Makes 25 cookies 

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 grams all purpose flour
  • 275 grams ghee or 1 cup and 2 tablespoons
  •  3/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup water or milk, warm
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kahk Essence optional. See notes 
  • A pinch of salt
  • Date paste, walnuts or Agameya for stuffing. See notes.

Agameya

  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
  • 2 tablespoons of flour 
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame 
  • 1 cup honey 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F
  2. Melt the ghee until it becomes hot and fragrant.
  3. Add the flour, salt, sesame and kahk spices to a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the hot ghee to the flour and carefully mix it between your hands until all the flour absorbs the ghee. The ghee will be hot, so wait a minute or two before mixing.
  5. Prepare the yeast mixture. Mix the milk, yeast and sugar in another mixing bowl and don’t let the yeast proof. Add the yeast mixture immediately to the dough and stir it in.
  6. Shape the kahk.  Make a ball first in the size of a walnut, make a well in the center, place the filling and then roll again. Place the shaped and filled Koh balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Don’t let the kahk rise and bake immediately. 
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until its done. Let it cool completely and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Agameya 

  1. Melt the ghee on low heat. 
  2. Add the four to the ghee and keep stirring on low heat until a golden paste forms.
  3. Add the sesame and continue mixing.
  4. Add the honey and the spices.
  5. When the mix starts to bubble, remove the pan from the stove and let the mixture cook down.
  6. When it is completely cooled off, form small balls in hazelnuts size and use them to fill the kahk.

NOTES 

  • Yeast is mixed with water right before adding this mixture to the dry ingredients.
  • Don’t let the cookie rest before baking, so they don’t rise and lose their shape.
  • Kahk essence is basically a spices mix made of equal amounts of ground spices: cardamom, cloves, mahlab, fennel, bay leaves.

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Former diplomat | Travel & Food Writer | Stauch advocate of Culinary Diplomacy. Find more here: https://cheznermine.com/about/

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