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Chebakia Recipe- Prepare A Delicious, Homemade Moroccan Sweet in 3 Hours

Chebakia Recipe- Prepare A Delicious, Homemade Moroccan Sweet in 3 Hours

If you’re an avid fan of Moroccan cuisine, you like chebakia, or just have a sweet tooth for foreign, exotic sweets, this post is for you. Here, we’ll share the traditional Moroccan chebakia recipe and teach you everything there is to know about this delicious, sticky-sweet Moroccan sweet.

But first things first…

What Is Chebakia?

chebakia cookies
by Lucyin CC by SA 4,0

Chebakia, also known as Halwa Chebakia or mkharka, is a Moroccan sesame cookie coated with honey that’s often associated with the Ramadan fast. This sweet is prepared by shaping a rolled-out dough into a flower, deep-frying it, and dipping it in hot honey (it’s also often flavored with orange flower water). This sweet is traditionally served when Moroccans break their Ramadan fast alongside a bowl of harira soup and it’s also common on special occasions, such as birth celebrations, weddings, etc.  

Where To Get Chebakia?

The tastiest chebakia you can find is the one made at home. You can find some very tasty chebakia in high-end bakeries but the price is quite high compared to the local standards. Street food stalls, on the other hand, are quite cheap in price but also cheap when it comes to ingredients and they often cut costs by reducing or completely omitting important ingredients or by using artificially-scented water, and replacing honey with sugar syrup.

Chebakia can be time-consuming to make but when looking at the available options, it makes the most sense to try out our chebakia recipe and try to make it by yourself. In Morocco, women traditionally gather a week or so before the start of Ramadan and team up for making as many chebakias as they can to last for the entire month of fasting for all of their families.

Origin Of Chebakia

Chebakia moroccan food
by Indif CC by 3.0

The word “chebakia” can be translated to “intermixed”. Even though it’s not clear exactly what this could refer to, my guess is that it probably has something to do with the flower shape of the pastry which requires interwinding the far ends of the dough but it can also refer to the long list of ingredients that need to be mixed to prepare chebakia. The flower shape of the sweet is also said to symbolize respect and love during the month of Ramadan.

The traditional chebakia recipe originates from Morocco bus as we’ll show in the next section, there are several different local variations. However, they all have one thing in common; they’re mainly served during the month of Ramadan or for other special occasions.

For many Moroccans, chebakia is the first thing they eat to break their fast as the sun sets. This happens, not only because chebakia is delicious but also because they believe that by breaking their fast with something very sweet, they can expand their stomachs and eat more as the night progresses.

Do you like Moroccan desserts but you’re looking for something lighter? You may want to check out our amlou recipe.

Variations

griwech chebakia variations
by Opsylac CC by SA 4.0

There are slight variations to the chebakia recipe in different parts of Morocco, but the sweet is also popular in other countries like Algeria. In Algeria, this sweet is known as griouech, in the eastern part of Morocco, the sweet is known as Oujda, while in Fez and Rabat, the sweet is referred to as mkharka. In eastern Morocco, you can also find a similar sweet known as bouchnikha, and last but not least, there’s another popular variation named halwa chebakia.

Griouech (the Algerian version of chebakia) has a slightly different shape (a square with inner slits) and doesn’t use some of the ingredients needed for the chebakia recipe, such as cinnamon, aniseed, saffron, and also it doesn’t incorporate ground sesame seeds into the dough.

Bouchnikha is a chebakia variation popular in the southwest of Morocco but this version uses fewer ingredients and is a bit harder than the traditional chebakia. I think it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this is some sort of poor man’s chebakia.

Halwa chebakia, on the other hand, is a variation of chebakia that’s traditionally prepared by men. The main difference in the preparation is that the dough is set aside for 20-24 hours. This also means that the final product is often up to three times larger in volume.

Some other pastries that look close or similar to chebakia include the Italian sweet Cartellate, and to an extent, the Jewish sweet Fazuelos.

Serving Chebakia

chebakia recipe
by Arnaud25 CC by SA 3.0

Chebakia is traditionally served next to harira soup and this meal is traditionally consumed when breaking the Ramadan fast. Additionally, chebakia also goes very well with Moroccan mint tea, especially during winters, or as an afternoon snack on its own. Of course, it can also be a nice dessert after a full course meal or it can also be eaten after some other Moroccan light snacks, such as taktoukabissara, or zaalouk with khobz.

Preparation Tips

chebakia cookie
by Lucyin CC by SA 4,0

If you’re in a country where the temperature is warm, you can use1/2 teaspoon of yeast instead of a full spoon to avoid the cookies becoming too puffy.

When soaking the cookies in the honey, make sure the honey is melted, and keep in mind that the longer the cookies stay in the honey, the sweeter and less crispy they become. Knowing this, you can try to achieve your ideal trade-off between crispy and sweet.

Make sure you use freshly toasted sesame seeds and never use old or stale sesame seeds; this can mess up the entire chebakia recipe.

If you don’t like orange blossom water, you can also use rose flower water.

If possible, have another person helping you with frying and dipping the cookies in the syrup.

And last but not least, if you struggle with shaping the cookies, there are plenty of chebakia molds that can be found online.  

Storing Chebakia

The chebakia cookies should cool down for a few hours before being placed in an airtight container. At room temperature, the cookies can remain edible for up to a month. If you want to freeze the cookies, you can and they’ll be good for up to 3-4 months.

A Few Things You Might Need

Yield: 60 Cookies

Chebakia Recipe

chebakia recipe

In this post, we’ll share the traditional Moroccan chebakia recipe and teach you everything there is to know about this delicious, sticky-sweet Moroccan sweet.

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 and ½ Cup Sesame Seeds
  • 4 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Yeast (dissolved)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Saffron Threads (crumbled)
  • 1 Teaspoon Anise
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Melted Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Orange Flower Water (or Rose Water)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • A Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Vinegar
  • 5 Cups Honey
  • 6 Cups Vegetable Oil (for frying)

Instructions

Preparing the Sesame Seeds

1. The unhulled sesame seeds are used two times in the recipe- when making the dough and when garnishing. For starters, take your sesame seeds, clean them and remove any debris that you may found.

2. Afterward, toast the seeds in the oven at 400° F (200° C) for approximately 12 minutes. After the sesame seeds cool down, store them in a container for later.

3. Grind the toasted sesame seeds in the food processor until it gets a powder-like structure. In the end, the mixture should be moist enough to pack.

Preparing The Dough

4. Grab the bowl and mix the sesame seeds, flower, baking powder, and the other spices.

5. Add some orange flower water and yeast and mix with your hands until the dough gets a stiff and pliable texture (something like play dough). If necessary, add more flour or orange water to reach this consistency.

6. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes (or 4-5 minutes if you use a mixer). Divide the dough into four equal portions and shape each portion into a smooth mound.

7. When done, add the dough in plastic bags to rest for the next 15 minutes.

8. Add some flour on the work surface and start rolling the portions of dough one by one. Aim for thin consistency.

9. Use your pastry cutter to cut every individual piece of dough into rectangles roughly the size of an average human palm. Make four evenly-spaced cuts that extend throughout the rectangle’s length for each of the dough rectangles.

Folding the Cookies

10. Take one rectangle and use your finger to thread through the alternating strips of dough. Drape the rectangle over your finger and use your other hand to pinch the outer corners of the dough below your fingertip.

11.  Holding the pinched corners, allow the dough strips to slide off your finger while gently turning them inside out around the corner.

12.  Pinch the opposite corners and close them once the dough is turned inside out. By now, you should start seeing the flower shape.

13.  Place the shaped cookies on a baking sheet/tray. Repeat the process as many times as cookies you want to prepare.

14.  As you work, keep gathering the scraps, mold them together and let the set aside before rolling them out.

15.  Cover the tray of shaped chebakia cookies with a towel until they’re ready to fry.

Frying the Chebakia

16.  Pre-heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Simultaneously, heat the honey in a large point, almost to a boiling pot. The honey should be frothy but not bubbling.

17.  Mix the honey with the orange flower water, turn off the heat, and let it simmer. After a few minutes, add the honey-orange flower water mix in a large bowl with strainer.

18.  As soon as the oil gets hot, start frying the chebakia cookies in batches. Every cookie should get a golden-brown color which shouldn’t take more than 8-10 minutes. If necessary, increase/decrease the temperature while cooking. You have to make sure the oil is not too hot because this way, the cookies will get a golden-brown color faster but will not be cooked on the inside.

Coating in Honey

19.  When done, remove the cookies using your slotted spoon and drop them into the honey. Every cookie should soak in the honey for 5-6 minutes. In the meantime, you can fry up another batch of chebakia.

20.  Once
the cookies are done soaking, remove them from the honey and let them drain in the strainer for a couple of minutes.

21.  Transfer the cookies in a large platter (be gentle) and sprinkle some more sesame seeds for garnishing.

22.  Serve with some harira soup or mint tea and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 Cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 133Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3.5gTrans Fat: 0.3gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 4.5mgSodium: 21mgCarbohydrates: 22gNet Carbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1.2gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g

Did you ever try chebakia? How did you like our chebakia recipe? If you tried it and liked it, don’t forget to leave us a rating and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

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chebakia recipe
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chebakia recipe
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