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 It’s this time of the year again when we say good bye to the holy month of Ramadan. Every year this month comes and goes in a blink of an eye! Yes we fast all day and yes we sleep less, yes we struggle to keep up with school routines, training schedule, homework etc., but for some reason this month is always full of joy at our home, a time of the year when we build beautiful memories that will last a life time. 

During this month we get to learn how to slow down our pace. We get to appreciate lots of things we are blessed to have. We connect more as a family. We give more to charity. We share delicious meals with family and friends. We get a chance to cease bad habits and detoxify not only our bodies but our souls too. And at the end of Ramadan we celebrate Eid which is the day we have our breakfast as normal in the morning. We celebrate by buying new clothes and presents for the kids. We also remember those people who are less fortunate by giving out money to the poor so they can buy new clothes for their kids too. 

My kids get spoilt in Eid, especially from the grandparents. They get lots of money and lots of presents, sometimes too much. I usually hide some of the presents so they don’t get too overwhelmed. But I give them out later on during the year as rewards. It’s a win win for me, because I get the credit for being such a caring and loving mum who makes the effort and buys great presents all year round, and I kinda like that. Haha! 

We also cook up a storm for breakfast on the first day of Eid. Which usually starts with savoury like eggs, falafel, cheeses etc. and ends with a mouth watering dessert called ‘KAHK’ the Egyptian version of shortbread cookies, which is what I have here ready for you.  

I made these babies today for the first time and I had to share the recipe with you straight away because they were absolutely delicious!! They literally melt in your  mouth. 

With the help of a dear friend of mine and my mother’s friend over the phone, who is an amazing cook herself, we managed to repeat this recipe 3 times, and so we ended up with just over 4 kilos of cookies. Yes you read this right 4 kilos in one day! 

I cannot believe how easy this recipe is and how perfect they turned out!! Seriously, no more shop-bought ones for me. This is amazing! 

p.s: it’s not my norm to use this much ghee in a recipe. But this is a special post for a special occasion, right? 

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All purpose flour

All purpose flour.

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Pure ghee

Ingredients:

1 kilo all purpose plain flour

1/2 a kilo pure ghee melted

2 teaspoons dry yeast, 2 tablespoon tepid water and 1 teaspoon sugar.

1/2 cup of water

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of the special Kahk spice mix  (Reehet el- kahk)* details below

pure icing sugar to cover. 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius grease 2 oven trays with a touch of ghee(not much)
  2. Prepare the special spice mix (Reehet el kahk) : add equal amounts of (1/2 teaspoon of each of the following spices) vanilla sugar, ground cardamom, ground mastic spice and ground Mahlep in a small bowl and mix them until combined. (If your mastic spice is not in a powder form like mine, then grind it until it turns into a fine powder then add 1/2 a tsp to the other ground spices), then add a pinch of cinnamon and mix well.                                                                                                        *Mahlep is a spice mixture used often in making middle eastern cookies, it adds a special flavour and you can find it in middle eastern food stores. If you cant find it, then the rest of the spices in the recipe should still give a delicious taste and aroma to your shortbread, so don’t stress.
  3. Sift the flour in a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of the special spice mix prepared in step 2.
  4. Stir all ingredients and transfer to an electric mixer.

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5. Add two tablespoon of tepid water and 1 tsp of sugar to the dry yeast and leave aside for 5 mins.

6. Meanwhile, grease 2 oven trays with a small amount of ghee. 

7. Now, back to the electric mixer add the melted ghee ( just melted not hot) to the flour mix gradually while beating on low speed.

8. As soon as you finish adding the ghee, add half a cup of water to the yeast mixture you left on the side and stir well, then add the latter to the mixer while still beating on low speed for a min or so until a thick greasy dough forms.

** the dough should be holding itself but still very soft. *Tip: don’t add extra water as it could easily dry out the cookies.

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9. Cover the dough and rest for only 10-15 mins.

*Tip: remember not to leave it for longer as this is not bread and so you don’t need it to rise much.

10. Now it’s time to play! you can get the kids to help you at this stage. Start shaping the dough, make medium size balls using your hands as shown in the pictures below, then place each ball on the tray and using a patterned cookie press, press down gently to slightly flatten the dough but don’t go all the way down. These patterns are essential as they will help the icing to hold on to the baked cookies later.

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my daughter Labiba joined the team shaping ‘Kahk’

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11. Place in preheated oven for 15 -20 mins or until the top is firm and slightly coloured. *Tip: a cookie is ready when the bottom is light brown in color. 

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12. Remove from oven, leave to cool down completely, then start sifting soft icing sugar to cover the top of each cookie. 

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It is a tradition in our culture not to eat these shortbread before the first day of Eid which is tomorrow. We made this huge amount and I thought, well that means these cookies will have to sit here on my kitchen bench for at least 14 hours until I can taste them?!! Nah, sorry I’m having one right now, I don’t care.

“Happy Eid”

 

Egyptian short bread 'Kahk'
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Ingredients
  1. 1 kilo all purpose plain flour
  2. 1/2 a kilo pure ghee melted
  3. 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  4. 1/2 cup of water
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 1 teaspoon of the special Kahk spice mix 'Reehet el- kahk'
  7. pure icing sugar to cover.
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. grease 2 oven trays with a touch of ghee (not much)
prepare the special spice mix
  1. add equal amounts of vanilla sugar,ground cardamom, mastic spice and ground Mahlep and grind them until the mastic turns into a fine powder
  2. add a pinch of cinnamon and mix well ***Mahlep is a mixture well known to be used in Middle Eastern biscuits to add a special flavour found in Middle Eastern food stores.***
  3. Sift the flour in a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of the special spice mix.
  4. stir all ingredients and transfer to an electric mixer.
  5. add two tablespoon of tepid water and sugar to the dry yeast and leave aside for 5 mins
  6. meanwhile, grease 2 oven trays with a a touch of ghee.
  7. now, back to the electric mixer add the melted ghee to the flour mix while beating on low speed.
  8. as soon as you finish adding the ghee, add half a cup of water to the yeast mixture you left on the side and stir well, then add the latter to the mixer while still beating on low speed for a min or so until a thick greasy dough forms. ***the dough should be holding itself but still very soft don't add extra water as it could dry out the biscuit later when cooking.***
  9. cover the dough and rest for 10-15 mins maximum. This is not bread so don't leave it for longer to rise
now its time to play shaping the dough on prepared trays
  1. make medium size balls place on a the tray, then press down gently with a patterned cookie press disk on top. This will make the icing hold on to the cooked biscuits later.
  2. place in preheated oven for 15 -20 mins or until the top is firm and slightly coloured, also check the bottom as it should turn into a light brown color when it's ready.
  3. leave them to cool down .. then start sifting soft icing sugar to completely cover the top of each biscuit.
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