I have been meaning to try making these cookies, simply because I consume a ton of them. They are popular in the Chouf mountains where folks like to boast of their ancestral traditions and love for their land. Grape molasses is made by taking lots of grapes (the sweetest variety) to the community press and boiling the juice with some local clay (called hawwara) and then whipping it to a golden color. It’s lovely and delicious and looks super luscious like a thick caramel. After a year or so, the “whipped” aspect flattens out and the molasses reverts back to a thick dark brown syrup.
Grape molasses cookies
12 or more servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Passive Time: 45 minutes
2 cups white flour (all-purpose)
1 cup semolina flour (fine aka ferkha)
1/4 cup dry milk powder (optional)
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 T baking powder
2/3 cup demerara sugar (raw cane sugar)
1/2 tsp mahlab
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup grape molasses (more, as needed)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into dice
1/3 cup olive oil (more as needed)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp orange blossom water
Rind of one lemon
- Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Flours, milk powder, turmeric, mahlab, salt, baking powder, sugar.
Mix all the dry ingredients well. Add in the bowl of a food processor some diced butter and process till the butter is no longer visible. Sprinkle the lemon juice and add the olive oil in a stream until the dough is crumbly and beginning to hold together.
Add the grape molasses in a stream until the dough holds together well and add the orange blossom water.
- Transfer the dough into a large bowl and knead it briefly, if it feels moist and easy to work with, start breaking it into small balls. If it feels dry, add more lemon juice and grape molasses one tablespoon at a time until the dough is moist, shiny, and does not fall apart.
- Form balls and roll them between your palms until you form a short rope, about 3 inches in length. tie the ends to form a ring and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
- Bake in a 325F oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown and somewhat firm. They will firm up after cooling.
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