Palestinian Sesame Cookies

3 Tablespoons white sugar

3 Tablespoons boiling water

2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground anise​ or ground fennel seeds or ground cardamom seeds

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup very soft butter, not melted

½ cup water

⅔ cup icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup sesame seeds (a 150 gram package contains more than 1 cup)

First make a simple syrup: put 3 Tablespoons white sugar in a very small bowl and pour in 3 Tablespoons boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Set aside.

For the cookies: Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, the spice you are using, and salt in a large bowl and stir until combined.

Add oil and very soft butter and mix well with a pastry cutter or fork.

In a small bowl, combine ½ cup water, icing sugar,  and vanilla, and stir until the icing sugar dissolves. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well until a soft dough forms.

Cover with a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds by spreading on a large, rimmed cookie sheet and baking at 350°F for 4 minutes until golden and fragrant. Watch carefully.

Place the sesame seeds in a bowl or on a large plate and stir in the simple syrup.

Pinch off  Tablespoon-sized pieces of dough and roll into smooth balls.

Roll the balls in the sesame seed and syrup mixture.

Place on an oiled cookie sheet, flatten to a uniform thickness of 1 centimetre with your hand. Bake at 350℉ for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Remove from the cookie sheets immediately.

Yield: 30 cookies

Other spices that could be used include cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg which are also widely used in Palestinian kitchens.


2 comments on “Palestinian Sesame Cookies

  1. Denise Lay on

    Hello from St. Paul’s Anglican Church Bakery Hill in Victoria, Australia. Am helping with our World Day of Prayer ecumenical service including with refreshments. While looking for simple Palestine recipes to make, found yours for the Sesame Cookies. Hope you don’t if I also use it and will acknowledge the WICC. site, where it was located. It is also a very exciting year for our Church as we are celebrating and acknowledging our 170th anniversary since the first Church service was held on our site in 1854. Am also a member of the Australian Mothers’ Union which is part of the Worldwide Mothers Union and is also in Canada. Blessings to you all and for peace in the world. We have both a Facebook page and website. Thank you. Denise Lay (Church Warden)


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