These little cakes are on sale in every Arabic pastry shop in Lebanon; their bright yellow color is due to turmeric; a spice that is apparently very good for you. The good ones also contain anise powder, which I made sure I included. Preparation time for these is less than 15 minutes, just a matter of stirring the ingredients, brushing the pan with tahini and throwing them in the oven for 20 minutes or so.
I made them once the traditional way, cutting them in losanges. This is just a different presentation.
Recipe courtesy of Anahid’s Gourmet cookbook.
INGREDIENTS: Quantity can be divided; use two large 9X13 rectangular pans or cupcake pans
- 3 cups of flour
- 3 cups of coarse or fine semolina (can use polenta or cornmeal)
- 2 1/2 cups of sugar
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 Tablespoon of anise powder (can increase to 1 1/2 tablespoons for a more pronounced anise flavor)
- 1 cup of melted butter or vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon of turmeric
- 1 Tablespoon of baking powder
- a teaspoon of vanilla powder or extract
- to garnish the surface of the cakes: pine nuts or almonds
- to coat the pan: tahini, as needed
- Place the flour, semolina (or cornmeal), sugar, anise powder, turmeric, baking powder and vanilla powder in a bowl.
- Mix the milk and the oil or melted butter and vanilla (if using extract).
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until mixed well; if the dough is very stiff, add a little more water or milk until the dough is thick and firm but very moist and easy to pour.
- Grease the pans with tahini well, sprinkle some pine nuts or almonds on the pan, pour the batter and bake in a 350F oven for 20 minutes or longer (depending on the pans) until the surface is golden brown and the cakes are done.
NOTE: Some pastry shops like to coat the cakes with syrup, to keep them moist and longer-lasting; if you wish to do this, boil one cup of sugar in 1/2 cup of water for 7 minutes, adding a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice once the water starts to simmer; for flavoring you can add a teaspoon of rose water at the end of cooking; add to the cakes once they are ready,
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