Babas – Date-Filled Cookies with a Flair of Anise by Orya Geva. photography by Asaf Ambram
Babas – Date-Filled Cookies with a Flair of Anise by Orya Geva. photography by Asaf Ambram
Recipe

Babas – Date-Filled Anise Scented Cookies

With the addition of fennel seeds, these gourmet date filled cookies from Iraq carry a tasteful anise flavor.

Ingredients for Date Filled Cookies

For the dough:

  • 3½ cups + 1 tablespoon (500 grams) sifted flour
  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) butter soft
  • 2 tablespoons neutral - flavored oil
  • 0.9 ounces/ 25 grams fresh yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water

For the filling:

  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 16 ounces (450 grams) date spread

For the egg wash:

  • 1 beaten egg
  • fennel seed (optional)

Instructions

Preparing the dough:

  • 1. Using a mixer fitted with a dough hook, knead all the ingredients at a low speed for about 6 to 8 minutes until the dough is homogeneous and soft.

  • 2. Form a ball out of the dough and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise for about an hour until the dough increases in size by 50%.

Preparing the filling:

  • 3. Mix the date spread with the ground fennel seeds.

  • 4. Heat the oven to 350F/180ºC and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • 5. Divide the dough into 30 balls about 1½ inches/4cm in diameter. Use your hands to flatten each ball into a pita bread shape. After placing a teaspoon of the filling in the middle, fold the dough around the filling (like when preparing kubbeh) and roll it into a ball. Repeat the process for all the balls.

  • 6. On a floured work surface, gently roll out the filled dough balls into pita bread shapes that are nearly 2½ inches/6cm in diameter. Place the babas (cookies) on the baking sheets, leaving about an inch/2-3cm between them, and then prick them gently with a fork. Brush the beaten egg over each cookie and sprinkle some fennel seeds on top if you like.

  • 7. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool down. The babas can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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This recipe is courtesy of Hashulchan.

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