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.