Abbas cookies (Kaak al-Abbas)

November 14, 2013  •  ,

I have a new-found appreciation for traditions lately; probably because I grew up in a family who pooh-poohed all manner of traditions (or at least my mother did). I asked around Malak and Hossein and other friends and acquaintances what is traditional for the commemoration of Ashura; first of all, huge vats of a wheat and meat (or chicken), called hreesseh, are cooked and distributed to neighbors and relatives; for pastries, these cookies called Abbas cookies as well as the plain sandwich cookies with a couple of pieces of Turkish delight, called raha. These were a childhood favorite for many.

 Lebanese oreo or s'mores

form a ball and press against mold


 

  • dupl abbas kaak

 

INGREDIENTS: Makes about 25 cookies

10 Tbsp. butter-flavored shortening
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
2 yolks
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Dash salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp mahlab (available at Med markets)+1 tsp dukkat al kayak (replace with a combo of ground anise and ground fennel powder)+1 tsp turmeric+1/2 tsp ground ginger (optional)

4 pebbles of mastic mashed with one teaspoon of sugar till powdery

METHOD: 

Place the shortening and sugar in the bowl of a stand-in mixer. Beat over medium speed until the mixture turns fluffy; add the yolks and beat till they are incorporated. In another bowl, place all the dry ingredients and mix with a wire whisk for a few seconds until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the butter mixture. When a dough forms, transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate for one hour or longer.

Grease and flour the molds. Shape the dough (let it soften a bit) into balls with a one-inch dough scooper. Flatten the ball onto the molds until it adheres to it and with a firm gesture flip it onto the cookie sheet (lined with parchment); bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 12 minutes or until firm. Cool and serve.

 

Comments

21 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    Pretty cookies¨This is a wonderful treat.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Subha Subramanian says:

    Lovely cookies………..looks yum

  3. Oui, Chef says:

    Love the cookie molds….how fun and beautiful!

  4. Jamie says:

    Your recipe calls for dry yeast but you don’t mention it in the instructions. I assume it is dissolved in the warm milk with the sugar? I ask because it is the yeast in these cookies that intrigues me! I love the flavors and would give these a go!

    • Joumana says:

      @ Jamie: I did dissolve the yeast in the warm milk but half of it did not dissolve; so when I wrote the instructions, I had the yeast included with all the dry ingredients; I will change this, thanks for pointing it out.

  5. Joy @MyTravelingJoys says:

    I love traditions! And these cookies look so cute. I’ll soon be making my grandmother’s recipe for German lebkuchen for the holidays. 🙂

  6. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Those molds are gorgeous, and these just look like every morsel is an experience.

  7. Nuts about food says:

    What a beautiful cookie mold!

  8. nusrat2010 says:

    Cute cookies! Glamorous cookies! The best part: Rose water in it. Lovely!

    Very nice, captivating pictures indeed!

  9. Paula Mello says:

    You always catch me by the heart! Loooove this beautiful cookies, so amazing and yet so simple, as life should be!

    We must pay more attention to traditions and add our new ones too =)

  10. Suzan says:

    Hi joumana its me again! My mother in law makes these but they come out hard and after a few hours even harder!
    The trick among us is who can make these nice and “soft” its always tricky to get them to the right softness, some people tell me to add much much more shortening to a point that i find it unhealthy ! so my question is : using ur exact recipe above are these soft or not ? Do they get softer if i add more shortening ? Do they become hard after a few hours ? Thx a lot !!

  11. Suzan says:

    Hi joumana its me again! My mother in law makes these but they come out hard and after a few hours even harder!
    The trick among us is who can make these nice and “soft” its always tricky to get them to the right softness, some people tell me to add much much more shortening to a point that i find it unhealthy ! so my question is : using ur exact recipe above are these soft or not ? Do they get softer if i add more shortening ? Do they become hard after a few hours ? Thx a lot !!

    • Joumana says:

      @Suzan: If you are more shortening, they will get denser and heavy, at least that’s my experience with them; I have baked them a few times and still not where I want to be with them; I can suggest another recipe that could be used of korban, these cookies made to be distributed at churches. These cookies are more like soft sweet breads and have almost the same flavorings, but different molds. I’d make them with just a little butter.
      http://www.tasteofbeirut.com/2010/01/qurban-holy-bread/

  12. Kamela says:

    Hi Joumana, is semoline طحين الفرخة أو السميد الناعم?

    • Joumana says:

      @Kamela: semolina is both smeed and ferkha; in this case, smeed na3em and ferkha would be the same thing; smeed is usually a coarser grade of semolina and ferkha is the finer grade.

  13. Liza says:

    Joumana, great new look of you web site, love you videos!!! May I please ask what do you think about using oil I stead if butter or shortening. We are on line fat diet in our family but I just have to try these cookies!

  14. maria says:

    Joumana, if you don’t use the semolina, would you need the add more flour to replace the semolina? And how much of it? Love your recipes ♥

    • Joumana says:

      @Maria: your question comes in the nick of time: I am about to change this recipe which is very tricky. Give me a couple of hours. But, in general, if you use flour instead of semolina, you may need to add less liquid. They are both flours, except one is milled coarse, and the other super fine and powdery.

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