Visitors to Morocco cannot help but fall in love with the sweet, rich taste of chebakia dripping in honey.
Chebakia is a mouthwatering Moroccan pastry made from strips of spiced dough, deep fried, and then dipped in honey and covered in toasted sesame seeds. If you have never tasted it before, make today the day that you do. I promise, it is worth it.
Chebakia’s chewy, crunchy texture makes it a favorite throughout the year but it is most often enjoyed during Ramadan. No Moroccan iftaar (meal to break the fast) table is complete without a tray of honey-soaked chebakia, harira, and dates.
In winter months many families enjoy chebakia in the evening with a warming bowl of harira. It is also popular as an accompaniment to Moroccan mint tea as an afternoon snack or when welcoming guests.
Because of its rich ingredients and sweet taste, Chebakia provides enough energy for people who have spent the whole day from dawn to sunset fasting. It is one of the basic honeyed cookies on the daily Ramadan tables, as well as Harira, dates and bread.
Once you’ve tasted chebakia there is no going back. It is as addictive as it is delicious. Today I will show you how can feed your new found addiction in any country, from any kitchen.
It is quite a lengthy process, but well worth the effort.
Here is what you will need:
1kg of white flour
125 grams of ground toasted sesame seeds
125 grams of ground almonds
1 tablespoon of ground anise seeds
1 tablespoon of ground fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1 of teaspoon sugar
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of baking yeast
Some saffron threads
1 egg yolk
180ml of oil (half of vegetable oil and half of olive oil)
180ml of melted butter (about 125 grams)
80ml of white vinegar.
200ml of orange blossom
Some gum arabica pebbles (ground with some sugar)
Oil for frying (about two liters)
2kg of honey
½ cup of toasted sesame seeds
Now it is time to start cooking:
First, sift all the dry ingredients (flour, almonds, sesame, fennel, and anis seeds) into a large bowl and mix well.
In a pan, mix in the orange blossom, vinegar, and saffron and heat the mixture to warm gently, do not boil.
Add the melted butter, oil, egg yolk, and the mixture of orange blossom and vinegar to the dry ingredients.
Mix with your hands until all the ingredients are combined well, add some water if needed, the dough should be soft and cohesive. It is not necessary to knead the dough.
Divide the dough into 5 equal portions.
Cover the portions with a plastic wrap so that the dough will be softer and easier to roll.
On a working surface, flatten a portion of the dough with a rolling pin into a thin layer.
Cut into medium squares using a cutter. (A special mold is available in Moroccan stores that can make this work easier).
Cut i4 parallel lines into each square, leaving the edges intact.
Lift three alternate strips up and leave the other two down, then try to join the two opposing angles to succeed to form a flower.
Repeat the process until you have used all the dough.
Heat the oil in a deep pan on a medium heat, then lower the heat to make sure you do not burn the chebakia.
Fry the Chebakia in very hot oil until it becomes golden brown.
While the chebakia is cooking heat honey in a pan and add two tablespoons of orange blossom.
Soak the chebakia in the honey, leave it for a while to make sure the honey soaks in well.
Remove the excess honey by letting it drip off the chebakia in a strainer and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the sticky cookies.
Keep the chebakia in a plastic container in a cool and dry place, or in the fridge.
Enjoy at any time of day and try to share!