Tag: Dessert

Tahini Rice Krispie Treats

Tahini Rice Krispie Treats

Happy Valentine’s Day! Ok, well, yes. You can make rice krispie treats adapt to really any holiday, but we loved our Valentine’s Day twist on this classic sweet. If you love halva, you’re going to love our tahini upgrade. Grab some sprinkles and melt some 

Fried Dough

Fried Dough

There are few things in life as tasty as FRIED DOUGH. It’s basically the quick fix for a doughnut. And as quick it is to make, it will be equally as quickly gone. My love for fried dough runs deep, like all the way to 

Shekkar Lemma (Sugar Cookie)

Shekkar Lemma (Sugar Cookie)

There is no better cookie to kick-off the holiday cookie baking season than Shekkar Lemma. Its simple and minimal ingredients make it an easy cookie to make, but its not your average sugar cookie. Its ratios of butter, sugar and flour, produce the most heavenly, buttery, sweet, cloud-like cookie. You can find this cookie in many Middle-Eastern stores/bakeries, but I have yet to find one that makes it as perfectly as my Tata (paternal-grandmother). In fact, her Shekkar Lemma was my favorite cookie as a child. My eyes would light up when I would see a freshly made batch on her kitchen table. While I haven’t had her cookie since childhood, I can still remember its exact taste. With that memory, and little documentation of her specific recipe, we (Three Ts and Mom) recently went on a mission to come as close as we could to Tata’s Shekkar Lemma. First, we used powdered sugar (which many others’ recipes called for), but the taste wasn’t quite right. So we tried a batch adding granulated sugar instead. That was it – the taste was spot on, but the texture was still a bit off. So we played around with the dough and oven temperatures to make sure the cookie kept its cloud-like shape and texture. After about 15-20 trial batches – we finally got it!

The process of developing this recipe of Tata’s special cookie was as heavenly as the cookie itself. I felt as if she was watching us from above helping us channel her energy into reliving a very specific memory of her and helping us pass it on. May your holidays be filled with joyful memories of the past and hope for the future. With this special cookie as our start, I know ours surely will.

Shekkar Lema

Course Dessert

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter 2 sticks
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Cups All- Purpose Bleached Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Almond slivers

Instructions
 

  • Bring butter to room temperature.
  • Cream butter and sugar together in electric mixer on medium setting until fully combined (should look almost white in color).
  • Slowly add flour to the butter and sugar while still mixing, scraping sides with spatula occasionally until one large ball of dough forms.
  • Split dough into two balls and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 375°
  • After 20 minutes of chilling, take one ball of dough and knead it for 10 seconds. Then roll into 12 evenly sized balls. Roll minimally to avoid warming the dough with your hands. Keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator during this process.
  • Place 12 balls on baking sheet and place one almond sliver on the center of each ball and push down slightly.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until bottom of cookie is light golden brown.
  • Take the other half of the dough out of the refrigerator and repeat steps 6-8.

Notes

To prevent this cookie from flattening in oven it is very important to keep the dough chilled and knead and roll minimally.
Rustic Cranberry Cornmeal Cake

Rustic Cranberry Cornmeal Cake

This cake is a perfect addition to the holiday season. It has such a luscious texture, and has delicious pockets of tart cranberries scattered throughout. What really takes it over the top, though, is the caramelization of sugar, butter, cinnamon, cardamom and clove lining the 

Apple Spiced Oat Cake with a Tahini Maple Crumble

Apple Spiced Oat Cake with a Tahini Maple Crumble

This cake is all the fall things. Granny Smith apple is shredded and folded into both ground oats and flour creating a delicious and tender apple cake. Not to mention, the nutty tahini and rich sweetness of the maple in the crumble is a perfect 

Kakat’ Mahlab

Kakat’ Mahlab

This is my favorite Middle Eastern cookie. It is buttery, doughy, and has just the right sweetness. It is like a cross between a shortbread and sweet bread. And of course, it goes great with tea! I used to love making these with Nana B. I felt so talented being able to twist these into their knot shape. Growing up, we would often go over to Nana’s and help her make cookies. I look back at these moment and realize how it was really her teaching us how to make these recipes. It was not so much us “helping”, and with how fast her hands moved compared to ours I think she would agree.

As we mentioned a few times before. There was no paper recipe Nana would follow, she knew it by heart . She would pull the flour, eggs, sugar and rest of the ingredients out and she would say about “this much flour, this much sugar” and so on. It was all visual and by feeling how the dough was coming together. One of my favorite memories of cooking with Nana was her saying these cookies are “good for you!” It has eggs, flour and “just a few fingers of butter.” Well, by finger she actually meant sticks of butter, and by a few she meant 10. Oh my! But to be fair the recipe below makes a LARGE batch of cookies. And I cannot agree with her more, these cookies are definitely good for the soul. The waistline?….it would not be a good cookie then if was good for that.

One last and nostalgic memory of these cookies is that whenever we would go on family trips, no matter the distance, Nana made it a point to make a fresh batch of these cookies. During the flight and in in her hotel room in the morning, Nana and these cookies would great us. It was the best! A sense of home while being away.

This recipe was made possible through verification from my Aunt Fairooz and Mama T. Below is the recipe for Kakat’ Mahlab! As they say, “see one, do one, teach one.”

Kakat’ Mahlab

A buttery, doughy cookie that pears perfectly with tea
Course Dessert
Servings 50 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 5 lbs flour*
  • 7 eggs 2 eggs will be used only for the yolks as an egg wash
  • 1 tbsp mahlab powder**
  • 1 tbsp black seeds (Nigella seeds)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 10 sticks unsalted butter (5 cups)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 ounce dry active yeast (4 packets)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tbsp salt

Instructions
 

Dough

  • Activate 3 yeast packets (0.75oz) by mixing yeast with warm water and 1 tsp sugar in a bowl or large cup.  Stir gently. Allow to activate for at least 5-10 minutes. When it is fully activated the volume will have at least doubled and you will notice a foam on the top.
  • Melt butter. Allow to cool a little.
  • Beat 5 eggs together. Set aside. 
  • Combine flour, mahlab, black seeds, sugar, salt and one packet of dry yeast (0.25oz) to bowl.
  • Add butter and activated yeast from earlier to the the flower mixture. Mix until just combined.  Now add beaten eggs and mix until just combined. 
  • Remove dough onto a floured surface to knead. Work dough with your hands for about 5-7 minutes. The dough should feel smooth when the kneading is complete. 
  • Lightly grease a large bowl. Place dough in bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm space for 2-3 hours***

Assembly

  • Remove about a soft ball size of dough. 
  • Roll out to a rectangle, with the length being about ~12 inches. Cut into 1 inch strips. 
  • Roll each strip with your hands to make a rope like shape. 
  • Preheat oven to 370F
  • To make the knot, allow the rope to hang midline on your index finger. From your index finger, moving down, twist rope edges around each other. ****
  • Bring twisted dough to a flat surface. There is now the 2 free ends and the one twisted end. 
  • Swirl the top of the twisted end towards the free ends in clockwise/counterclockwise pattern. Once you have reached the two free ends, bring the ends into middle the middle of the knot and push down to secure. You have now made the knot shape!
  • Prepare egg wash by whisking two yolks with milk. 
  • Place each cookie about 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet(s) . Brush each with yolk egg wash. 
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes. The color at the top should be slightly golden. 
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from tray.

Notes

Three Teas Tips:
* This recipe makes a large batch of cookies. Feel free to cut the recipe in half or freeze some of baked cookies for future use.
** Mahlab is spice that is actually from the cherry pit. It has notes of almond, cherry, and rose and is used in often in Mediterranean desserts. It can be found mainly at Arabic or Greek grocery stores. This is a great read for more information on this neat spice https://www.seriouseats.com/2010/09/spice-hunting-mahlab-mahleb-mahlepi.html
***Most doughs rise faster in a warm and humid environment. I like to turn on my oven for 1 minute, then turn off, to create this type of environment for the dough to rise in.
****For a video demonstration on how to make the knot shape see our stories on Instagram @threeteaskitchen