Enjoy a Recipe from Gaza for Palestinian Date Cookies
Last year, with funding from Islamic Relief USA, Anera supported eight women’s cooperatives with dough mixers, pans, cooking utensils and stoves to support their professional work and help them generate income despite the difficult economic conditions in Gaza. To say thank you to the Anera community, the women of Al Hakoura Women’s Cooperative have shared their favorite recipe for Palestinian date cookies – or ka’ak bi ajwa (كعك بالعجوة) in Arabic – below.
Palestinian Date Cookies
- 3 cups, flour
- 3 teaspoons, anise seeds
- 3/4 cup, olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 cup, sugar
- 1 teaspoon, instant yeast
- 1/2 cup, warm water
- 4 teaspoons, sesame seeds (black sesame seeds are ideal)
- 2 teaspoons, baking powder
- 500 grams (approx. 20 ounces or 2 1/2 cups), date paste (if unavailable, mash pitted dates to a paste)
- 1 tablespoon, ghee (if unavailable, substitute with butter)
- 1 tablespoon, anise seeds
- 1 tablespoon, cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon, sesame seeds
- Prepare the filling by mixing the date paste with the ghee and the other ingredients. Divide the mixture into balls (somewhat smaller than a golf ball) and then with your hands roll them into ropes about the width of a pencil and approximately six inches long. Set aside.
- Prepare the dough: In a bowl, add the flour and anise seeds and then the oil. Rub it into the flour with your fingertips until it is well mixed and set aside to allow the flour to absorb the oil.
- Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the water. Slowly add to the flower mixture along with the rest of the dough ingredients while kneading gently until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough into egg sized balls.
- Again using your hands roll the dough into six-inch lengths. Flatten the lengths of dough into really thin sheets using a rolling pin or your thumb. If the dough is thick your cookies will be chewy as opposed to crisp.
- Place the lengths of date filling on top of the flattened pieces of dough and fold the dough over the filling, enclosing it. Join the ends, forming a ring.
- Bake in the center of a very hot oven (400℉) till the bottoms are golden brown (approximately 10-15 minutes). Optionally, turn on the broiler for a few minutes until the tops are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven to cool for 10 minutes before enjoying.