Chebakia Recipe | Moroccan sesame cookies with honey

Dripping with honey, and crunchy with nutty flavors Chebakia is a staple in every Moroccan table during the month of Ramadan. Chebakia is a beautiful and prestige Moroccan sesame cookie that is a joy to see on any table at special occasions and it is a friend to any sweet tooth. Though the folded floral-like shape might look quite intimidating, it is not that hard to do with my step-by-step guidance I will explain to you in detail with the full chebakia recipe.

From above the silver tray, filled with fried and decorated Moroccan honey and sesame cookies, chebakia.

Chebakia is definitely not the easiest nor fastest cookie to make and it needs some practice but it is so worth it! It is quite time-consuming and that is why the women in the family gather together the week before Ramadan to do the work together and batch work chebakia with things like briouats and sellou. Moroccan mamas do make these normally with their daughters and extended family together to save time and do huge piles at once (I’m talking about more or less 10 kilos here!) But this chebakia recipe is a scaled-down version, that can be managed with one cook as well. Prepare yourself to spend the day in the kitchen with this one, and make yourself a cup of Moroccan Mint tea while working.

I do batch of chebakia normally in parts: first, I roast the almonds. This can be days or weeks before when I do meal prepping I can have plenty of things to roast on the same day. Another day I grind the almonds and do the dough that I put in the fridge if I don’t have time to finish it. Then the next day I roll the dough and shape the chebakias. If I cannot fry all the chebakias in one day I cover the tray with folded chebakias with cling film, plastic bag, or beeswax wrap and push it into the fridge overnight and fry the rest the following day.

Tips for making the best and most beautiful chebakia

  • Make sure you have pinched the strips of dough well together. The chebakia will open and get deformed when you start frying if you have not pinched the strips of dough tight enough.
  • Fry at the correct temperature. Heat the oil to no more than 170 – 190°C (338 – 374°F). If the temperature is higher, the chebakia will not cook through, but just burn on the surface. You can recheck the temperature a few times when frying.
  • The dough itself will be very tough, kind of like pasta dough, and though I always make it by hand if you have a stand mixer with dough hooks this is a good moment to use it.
  • You can use the pasta maker to roll the dough evenly if you feel that is easier.
  • Grind the fennel and anise seeds very fine with almonds to get a smooth dough. If the seeds are not well ground, the thin dough strips will tear apart easily and it is difficult to obtain the beautiful floral shapes.
  • When decorating chebakias use unroasted white sesame seeds to give a beautiful contrast to the cinnamon-colored chebakia dough.
  • Moroccan style, this is a good recipe to do with friends and family to have more hands to split the work for this is a bit time-consuming treat. When you have folded the first chebakias it will get so much easier and faster.
Fried and decorated chebakia on a palm.

Ingredients you need for the chebakia recipe

Best chebakias are the ones that you have made at home from scratch with quality ingredients. When families in Morocco are making this treat several kilos at one go the price tag rises quite high with all the olive oil, natural honey, orange blossom water, real threads of saffron, and sesame seeds with almonds as well. There is a possibility to leave some out or use artificial orange flower water or honey syrup, but if you have a possibility I truly suggest that you use the real quality ingredients because it will make the difference in this chebakia recipe.

The ingredient list for the chebakia recipe is quite vast but contains only a few special ingredients.

  • Wheat flour
  • Tahini, the sesame paste. Can be substituted with ground, roasted sesame seeds.
  • Almonds, roasted and ground
  • Anise seeds, ground
  • Fennel seeds, ground
  • Cinnamon, ground. Use Ceylon cinnamon if possible.
  • Baking powder (not baking soda!)
  • Dried yeast
  • Salt, I use sea salt.
  • Egg yolk
  • Butter, melted. I prefer normal salted butter, but you can use a low-salted one too.
  • Olive oil, use a good quality olive oil.
  • Saffron threads
  • Vinegar, use regular vinegar, that has a neutral taste
  • Orange blossom water, I would prefer an authentic one but cannot find it in Finland so I have been successfully using an artificial one
  • Honey, for bathing the chabakias. Can be substituted with honey-syrup.
  • Vegetable oil, use a neutral-flavored oil like sunflower seed oil for frying.
  • Sesame seeds, unroasted, for decorating.

Tools you may need

  • Oven pan and baking sheet
  • Small jar or glass (about 200ml)
  • Food processor to grind the seeds and spices
  • Large bowl for kneading the dough
  • Measuring spoons
  • Scale
  • Small pot and spoon for melting and caramelizing the butter
  • Two bigger pots for frying and melting the honey
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry wheel cutter, use the one with a wavy edge for more decorative finished look of chebakia
  • Thin knife
  • Slotted spoon
  • Thermometer (optional)
  • Sieve
  • Tray for serving
Silver tray filled with Moroccan honey sesame cookies, chebakias, on the tiled surface.

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How to make chebakias

This chebakia recipe makes about 60 Moroccan sesame cookies. Organize yourself well and read the recipe and the tips above through to maximize the successful outcome. At the end of the post, you’ll find the chebakia recipe card with the exact ingredient amounts and printable instructions.

Preparations

Roast the almonds in the oven. Set the oven to 190°C (374°F). Roast first the almonds for 10 minutes then mix and turn the sheet and return to the oven for additional 5 minutes. Add still 5 minutes if needed mixing in between – be careful not to burn them. Let them cool down.

Melt the butter in a small pot. Continue until the butter is caramelized and has a golden color. Set aside, add olive oil, mix, and let it cool down.

Separate the yolk into a small bowl and set aside. Save the egg white for the morning omelet, or for quiche topping.

Pour the orange blossom water into a small jar. Add the saffron threads and pour the vinegar in too. Shake well and set aside. This can be done even weeks before to get a better flavor.

Making and kneading the dough

Grind the almonds with fennel seeds and anise seeds all together with a food processor. Continue until you have a moist texture, like almond butter.

Mix together in a big mixing bowl almond-fennel-anise paste, flour, tahini, cinnamon, baking powder, dried yeast, and a pinch of salt. Work with hands. You should have a sandlike crumble.

Make a small well in the middle and add the yolk. Start mixing with your fingers to blend the yolk into the dough crumble. Pour the melted butter-olive oil mixture into the bowl and work some as with the yolk. Rub the hands together to crumble the dough evenly. It takes a moment to get nice and small crumbles.

Finally, to collect the dough use the orange blossom water with saffron threads and vinegar. Add gradually and knead the dough. Depending on your flour you might not need to use all the liquid to get the pasta dough-like consistency. Knead with hands for at least 8-10minutes and with the dough hook 4-5minutes. When the dough is ready it should be a smooth mound and not break apart or be crumbly.

Divide the dough into four same-sized portions. Cover with cling film or beeswax wrap, and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes.

Rolling and cutting the chebakia dough

Work with one dough ball at a time. On a lightly floured work surface roll the dough to a square shape about 30 x 30 cm (12 x 12 inches). Cut with the pastry wheel cutter about 8 centimetre squares. Inside the square cut lengthwise five cuts evenly spaced. It is easiest if you start with the cut in the middle and then add the two cuts on both sides to make it even. Do not cut through to the edges of the square, cuts should be only almost the length of the square. Result: a square with six strips of dough attached.

Folding the decorative chebakia

Do a zig-zag fold with the square: fold the first two strips on the top of the two strips in the middle. Flip over and fold the remaining two strips on the rest. You should now have two stripes side by side and three layers.

Grasp the outer corners of the first layer and pinch them together with your fingertips. Then turn the chebakia upside down. Separate the two stripes from the bottom layer to the sides revealing the floral fold in the middle. Your chebakia should have now a knot in the middle and two outer circles of the dough strips.

Pinch together the outer corners of the chebakia. Make sure you have pinched the ends well. The chebakia will open and get deformed when you start frying if you have not pinched the strips of dough well together. Now repeat with the rest!

Frying the chebakia

Heat the neutral vegetable oil in a large pot up to 170 – 190°C (338 – 374°F). In another pot heat the honey until it is runny and frothy then turn off the heat. Do not boil.

For a good workflow set on the side of the oil the pot of hot honey, then a bowl with a sieve on the top, and a jar with the sesame seeds.

Fry in the oil 4-5 chebakias at the same time. The chebakias will expand slightly when frying because of the baking powder and yeast. When the chebakias have a slight golden color turn them around and let them fry still a few minutes. Chebakia should have a golden amber color when they are ready. Pick up a slightly pale-colored chebakia with the slotted spoon. Chebakias will continue cooking and darken the color for several minutes after taking out from the oil.

Soaking the chebakia in honey and decorating it with sesame

Set the chebakia in the hot liquid honey with the help of the slotted spoon. Let them soak there while you put the second batch in oil. When you turn around the second batch in the oil lift the first batch from the honey to the sieve and sprinkle straight away some sesame seeds on the top – be generous.

Now you can pick up the second batch from the oil to the honey bathe. The longer you soak the softer and sweeter the chebakia will be. Just beware not to soak too much otherwise chebakia might melt and all you have is honey sesame paste. If the honey starts to be jammy and difficult to work with just heat it a bit again to keep it runny.

Continue with the rest until you have finished all the chebakia.

Serving

Place the chebakia on a round tray to pile them as a beautiful pyramid to serve. Enjoy the Moroccan chebakia traditionally with some Moroccan harira, a spicy tomato soup. It is a beautiful combination of the spicy and sweet that I love truly. I myself do pair chebakia with some strong coffee or even a cup of hot glogg.

Fried and decorated Moroccan honey and sesame cookie, chebakia on a silver tray on the wooden surface.

Storage

Chebakia stores quite nicely for a month or even longer (we have always finished all before 30 days). Let the chebakia cool down completely before packing airtightly. You can also freeze batches of chebakia for up to about 3-5 months.

Hands of a woman and a child working with the flour on a large mixing bowl on a wooden surface.

Little Helper

All hands on deck when doing chebakia. My tiny helper has hands in the dough before I even ask for help. The fun part is to make the dough crumbly before adding the orange blossom water mixture. That might have a bit strong odor for some kids (“Mama, yak!”).

When rolling and shaping the chebakia give a small portion of the dough to your tiny helper to roll while you are doing the more challenging folding. When frying, keep your child away from the stove to minimize any accidents. Give a small jar of sesame seeds to the tiny chef and let him or her sprinkle the sesame seeds on top of the chebakia.

Chebakia recipe

Fried and sesame decorated Moroccan honey sesame cookies, chebakias, on the silver tray on a tile surface.

Chebakia | Moroccan sesame cookies with honey

Yield: 60
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

Dripping with honey, and crunchy with nutty flavors Chebakia is a staple in every Moroccan table during the month of Ramadan. Chebakia is a beautiful and prestige Moroccan sesame cookie that is a joy to see on any table at special occasions and it is a friend to any sweet tooth. Though the folded floral-like shape might look quite intimidating, it is not that hard to do with my step-by-step guidance I will explain to you in detail with the full chebakia recipe.

Ingredients

  • 40g almonds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tbsp anise seeds, ground
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground
  • 100g butter, melted and caramelized
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 150ml orange blossom water
  • Couple saffron threads
  • 5 tbsp vinegar, use regular vinegar
  • 500g wheat flour
  • 100g tahini
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon, ground. Use Ceylon cinnamon if possible
  • 4 g baking powder (not baking soda!)
  • 5 g dried yeast
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 kg honey
  • 1 l vegetable oil
  • 2 dl sesame seeds, unroasted

Instructions

    How to make chebakias

    1. This chebakia recipe makes about 60 Moroccan sesame cookies. Organize yourself well and read the recipe and the tips through to maximize the successful outcome.

      Preparations
    2. Roast the almonds in the oven. Set the oven to 190°C (374°F). Roast first the almonds 10 minutes then mix and turn the sheet and return to the oven for additional 5 minutes. Add still 5 minutes if needed mixing in between - be careful not to burn them. Let them cool down.
    3. Melt the butter in a small pot. Continue until the butter is caramelized and has a golden color. Set aside, add olive oil, mix, and let it cool down.
    4. Separate the yolk into a small bowl and set aside. Save the egg white for the morning omelet, or for quiche topping.
    5. Pour the orange blossom water into a small jar. Add the saffron threads and pour the vinegar in too. Shake well and set aside. This can be done even weeks before to get a better flavor.

      Making and kneading the dough
    6. Grind the almonds with fennel seeds and anise seeds all together with a food processor. Continue until you have a moist texture, like almond butter.
    7. Mix together in a big mixing bowl almond-fennel-anise paste, flour, tahini, cinnamon, baking powder, dried yeast, and a pinch of salt. Work with hands. You should have a sandlike crumble.
    8. Make a small well in the middle and add the yolk. Start mixing with your fingers to blend the yolk into the dough crumble. Pour the melted butter-olive oil mixture into the bowl and work some as with the yolk. Rub the hands together to crumble the dough evenly. It takes a moment to get nice and small crumbles.
    9. Finally, to collect the dough use the orange blossom water with saffron threads and vinegar. Add gradually and knead the dough. Depending on your flour you might not need to use all the liquid to get the pasta dough-like consistency. Knead with hands for at least 8-10minutes and with the dough hook 4-5minutes. When the dough is ready it should be a smooth mound and not break apart or be crumbly.
    10. Divide the dough into four same-sized portions. Cover with cling film or beeswax wrap, and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes.

      Rolling and cutting the chebakia dough
    11. Work with one dough ball at a time. On a lightly floured work surface roll the dough to a square shape about 30 x 30 cm (12 x 12 inches). Cut with the pastry wheel cutter about 8 centimetre squares. Inside the square cut lengthwise five cuts evenly spaced. Do not cut through to the edges of the square, cuts should be only almost the length of the square. Result: a square with six strips of dough attached.

      Folding the decorative chebakia
    12. Do a zig-zag fold with the square: fold the first two strips on the top of the two strips in the middle. Flip over and fold the remaining two strips on the rest. You should now have two stripes side by side and three layers.
    13. Grasp the outer corners of the first layer and pinch them together with your fingertips. Then turn the chebakia upside down. Separate the two stripes from the bottom layer to the sides revealing the floral fold in the middle. Your chebakia should have now a knot in the middle and two outer circles of the dough strips.
    14. Pinch together the outer corners of the chebakia. Make sure you have pinched the ends well. The chebakia will open and get deformed when you start frying if you have not pinched the strips of dough well together. Now repeat with the rest!

      Frying the chebakia
    15. Heat the neutral vegetable oil in a large pot up to 170 - 190°C (338 - 374°F). In another pot heat the honey until it is runny and frothy then turn off the heat. Do not boil.
    16. For a good workflow set on the side of the oil the pot of hot honey, then a bowl with a sieve on the top, and a jar with the sesame seeds. Fry in the oil 4-5 chebakias at the same time. The chebakias will expand slightly when frying because of the baking powder and yeast. When the chebakias have a slight golden color turn them around and let them fry still a few minutes.
    17. Chebakia should have a golden amber color when they are ready. Pick up a slightly pale-colored chebakia with the slotted spoon. Chebakias will continue cooking and darken the color for several minutes after taking out from the oil.

      Soaking the chebakia in honey and decorating it with sesame
    18. Set the chebakia in the hot liquid honey with the help of the slotted spoon. Let them soak there while you put the second batch in oil. When you turn around the second batch in the oil lift the first batch from the honey to the sieve and sprinkle straight away some sesame seeds on the top - be generous.
    19. Now you can pick up the second batch from the oil to the honey bathe. The longer you soak the softer and sweeter the chebakia will be. Just beware not to soak too much otherwise chebakia might melt and all you have is honey sesame paste. If the honey starts to be jammy and difficult to work with just heat it a bit again to keep it runny.
    20. Continue with the rest until you have finished all the chebakia.

      Serving

      Place the chebakia on a round tray to pile them as a beautiful pyramid to serve. Enjoy the Moroccan chebakia traditionally with some Moroccan harira, a spicy tomato soup. It is a beautiful combination of the spicy and sweet that I love truly. I myself do pair chebakia with some strong coffee or even a cup of hot glogg.

      Storage

      Chebakia stores quite nicely for a month or even longer (we have always finished all before 30 days). Let the chebakia cool down completely before packing airtightly. You can also freeze batches of chebakia for up to about 3-5 months.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 60 Serving Size: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 2g

These calculations are generated automatically by Create by Mediavine based on the ingredients shown in the recipe. The nutrition information is an estimation and may include errors. All nutritional information presented and written within this site (blueteatile.com) is intended for informational purposes only. The writer is not a certified nutritionist or registered dietitian and any nutritional information should be used as a general guideline only.

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Silver tray filled with Moroccan honey sesame cookies, chebakias, on the tiled surface.

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7 Comments

    1. If honey is your favorite, this is definitely a treat for you! I adore honey and from the first time I tasted this in the small street shop in Tanger, I was hooked. Now several years later I still make these at least once a year!