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Moroccan Fekkas with Almonds, Sesame and Raisins

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Moroccan Fekkas with Almonds, Sesame and Raisins

Moroccan Fekkas

Photo © T. Zouhair

These traditional Moroccan cookies are one of my favorites because they're not too sweet and go well with tea, coffee, or milk. Like the Italian biscotti, fekkas are baked twice. Anise seeds and orange flower water give fekkas a distinctive Moroccan flavor.

The recipe below comes from my husband's aunt, and it always earns compliments. I've cut her recipe in half because Moroccan cookies are traditionally made in very large batches. Try doubling the sesame as I do, or follow the measures exactly.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups plus 1/2 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds
  • 1/4 cup golden unhulled sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water until plump and then drained
  • 1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup orange flower water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk)

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly oil a baking sheet.

Mix together 3 1/2 cups of flour with the sugar, salt, baking powder, sesame and anise seeds. Stir in the raisins and almonds.

Add the eggs, oil, butter, orange flower water and vanilla and mix well to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Add up to an additional 1/2 cup flour only if you need it to make the dough manageable.

Divide the dough into large balls about the size of baseballs. On a lightly floured surface, roll the balls of dough back and forth to form smooth logs about the diameter of a banana. Place the logs about two inches apart on the greased baking sheet.

Brush the logs with the egg wash, and pierce the logs with a fork in several places to let steam escape. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the logs barely begin to take on a pale golden color.

Carefully transfer the logs to a rack to cool. Cover with a towel, and leave until the next day or at least 10 to 12 hours.

Preheat your oven to 400F. Cut the logs into 1/4 inch slices (a long serrated knife works best). Place the slices on an ungreased baking sheets, and bake in batches for 15 to 20 minutes, until medium golden brown. Remove the cookies to a rack to cool.

Store fekkas in an airtight plastic container for up to a month. They will keep well in the freezer for several months.

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