K’ak – Hala’s recipe

Hala
Hala Jahshan

You may need to buy some ingredients in a Middle Eastern grocery, a health food store or a specialized spice shop.

  • 2.2 pounds of wheat semolina flour
  • 2 cups of butter
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • ½ teaspoon of rock cherry
  • ¼ teaspoon of Arabic gum

Mix ingredients and oil in a bowl and refrigerate two days before baking. Add the yeast mixture (1 teaspoon of active yeast and warm water) after kneading the dough. Let it rise and set oven for 350 degrees.

Filling: Mix together 7 cups of soft dates, add a pinch of oil and nutmeg, as well as sugar.

Roll out the dough and cut with a round cookie cutter. Add date mixture in the center and then roll the dough into a ball, crimping the edges. Force your finger through the center to make a hole and then bake the cookies at 350 for 12 minutes.

K’ak is a typical treat in Palestine and families have variations on the recipes.

A recipe with more accessible ingredients is used by the brothers who run the Abu-Aziz Baker in the heart of the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.
The family recipe is:

  • 1 pound, 2 ounces of fine wheat semolina flour
  • 4 Tablespoons of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon active yeast
  • ½ tablespoon anise
  • ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 7 ounces of butter

The filling includes: Five ounces of thick date paste, a little vegetable oil, a little water, if needed.

Add the oil, butter, sugar and flavoring to the flour and work it together. Knead the dough, adding yeast and only as much water as necessary to keep it pliant. Let it sit as the filling is prepared. The filling should be soft, but firm enough to be rolled into balls a bit less than an inch in diameter.

Break off biscuit-size pieces of dough, making each into a ring wrapped around a ball of date filling. Then press the filling down so the cookies is shaped like a wheel. Pinch a design into the top of the cake and bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.

Let it cool and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

(The last recipe is reprinted with permission of the Presbyterian News Service.)