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. With clear conscious, empty of chauvinism, I can declare that Kahk (Egyptian National cookies) are unique.
These 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.
In my book, the best Kahk is the one my late grandma made, yet you probably can guess what comes next!
My grandma never wrote down a recipe, my mom neither. Their common sense is all that they used when they made this ancient Egyptian recipe.
Therefore, I was jumping up and down when I found an accurate recipe of kahk online 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 and documenting authentic Egyptian recipes, and sharing them with the world in photos and words.
Today Nagwa is generously sharing with us the recipe for Kahk along with 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 Kahk shapes are found carved on temple pillars. Clearly, the popularity of this delicacy didn’t stop there.
Kahk remained venerated after the Arab invasion of Egypt. At the museum of Islamic Art in Cairo antique Kahk molds 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 tweezers found in Nagwa’s beautiful photos. The logic behind the pinching is to make dents in the cookie dough for the powdered 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 Food Blogger and Instagramer, 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
- 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)
- 1 tablespoon of ghee
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
- 1 cup honey
- Preheat the oven to 300 F.
- Melt the ghee until it becomes hot and fragrant.
- Add the flour, salt, sesame seeds and Kahk spices to a mixing bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shape the Kahk. Make a ball the size of a walnut, form a well in the center, place the filling in and then roll again. Place the shaped and filled Kahk balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Don’t let the Kahk rise and bake immediately.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until they are done. Let them cool completely and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Melt the ghee on low heat.
- Add the flour to the ghee and keep stirring on low heat until a golden paste forms.
- Add the sesame seeds and continue mixing.
- Add the honey and the spices.
- When the mix starts to bubble, remove the pan from the stove and let the mixture cook down.
- When it is completely cooled off, form small balls in hazelnuts size and use them to fill the Kahk.
- 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, and bay leaves.