5+1 ways how to fold and shape Moroccan chebakia cookie

With this tutorial, I demystify the difficulty of folding beautiful chebakia cookies. The delight of Moroccan honey and sesame cookie, chebakia, is the decorative forms and shapes that you can fold – before it gets eaten. Many of the traditional floral shapes seem so intimidating and difficult. I show in this tutorial guide how to do not one but five plus one extra ways to fold, shape, and decorate the chebakia.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the full chebakia recipe and well, I got a ton of questions about different folding options! So do not worry, I will show you each folding step-by-step so that you can choose the bit more challenging or the way too easy folding depending on the wanted result and the time you have.

The chebakia cookies are a staple of Moroccan households, especially during the month of Ramadan. The chebakia cookie dough is mainly made with flour, butter, almonds, fennel, and anise seeds, pure orange blossom water, and tahini. The color of the dough comes from cinnamon and real saffron threads. Chebakia cookies are then rolled out, and folded in a beautiful rose shape, pan-fired in oil in a deep skillet, bathed in hot honey, and sprinkled with some sesame seeds to decorate.

The chebakias demand a lot of work and before Ramadan time the Moroccan women gather up for a full day and do a ton of this delicious chebakia before the month of fasting starts to have enough chebakia in the pantry for the whole 30 days. So if you have a couple of sets of hands doing nothing at home, help might be needed. If you are a solo cook in your kitchen, just keep the dough in the fridge between folds and you can even continue the next days.

Tools you might need

  • Rolling pin
  • Fluted wheel cutter/ fluted pastry wheel
  • Knife or toothpick

The chebakia folds

To do these chebakia folds you need one batch of chebakia dough. The folds that I am showing you today are three different basic forms: square cut in six stripes attached on the edges, long single stripes, and a round disc cookie cutter form. From these shapes, I’ll show you two folding options for each. There are maybe a million ways, but these six different I have chosen for they are either traditional, beautiful looking, or nice and easy folds.

So let’s get to work!

How to read and use this guide

First I’ll show you the way of cutting the dough like one of the above. Then I’ll walk you through the folding options. You can glance through the different options that I am showing you and then roll out the dough and do one style of cutting and folding styles for that one.

1. Square chebakia folds

These square folds of the chebakia are the most common ones. There are several ways to fold and I have been there; sinking in the endless video tutorials and recipe pages of Moroccan mamas showing how. But if you do not know French or Arab the results will be quite thin what you can find.

I hope with these tips you will feel more comfortable with this traditional honey-dripping Moroccan sesame cookie, which is a staple of Moroccan kitchens.

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Different ways to fold chebakia.

Rolling and cutting

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.

How to fold traditional Moroccan floral shape chebakia fold with a knot

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.

How to fold traditional Algerian chebakia with turned floral shape

Proceed with the first folds like in the Moroccan style: Do a zig-zag fold with the square: fold the first two strips on 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.

Now pinch the end corners so that all the strips are attached. Separate the two piles of strips on the sides and turn the top peak through the hole you have made in the middle. Pull the peak from the other side out and straighten the shape. Pinch slightly the corners again to adjust the shape.

| Tip: If you want to upgrade this one still, you can cut the square shape, in the beginning, to even more than six strips of dough, let’s say eight or ten, always an even number. Just make sure that your dough stays cool so that the strips will not break. Put the rest of the unrolled dough in the fridge while you are working on one batch.

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Hands folding a chebakia and several lying ready folded on a wooden surface.

2. Strip chebakia folds

The second folding styles are made with long strips. Try to cut even strips to prevent the strips from tearing apart. This is easy and fast way of cutting and you can do many forms with these single strips, nut let me show today two of them.

Rolling and cutting

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 one-centimetre large strips from one side to the other end. Try to make it as even as possible but don’t stress about it – my lines are always a bit wild when cruising with the cutter wheel!

How to fold chebakia with four strips and an uneven 8-figure

Take one long strip and fold it in four, to get a pile of four strips about 8 cm long. Pinch the ends together and turn on the side. Grasp with your fingertips from the ends and push gently towards the middle to get the strips wavy.

With the tip of the knife separate the strips and unevenly pinch together two strips in the middle to create an uneven 8-figure. Make sure you have pinched the ends and the middle well. 

| Tip: The chebakia will open and get deformed when you start frying if you have not pinched the strips of dough well together. So make sure you pinch the ends and the middle well together.

How to fold chebakia with six strips and an even 8-figure 

Work like with the four strips but add more layers to get six strips (about 8cm long) stacked on each other. Pinch the ends together and turn on the side. Grasp with your fingertips from the ends and push gently towards the middle to get the strips wavy.

Separate the strips with the tip of the knife, so that you have three strips on both sides, creating a circle. Then, pinch evenly together two strips in the middle to create an 8-figure surrounded with two rings. Make sure you have pinched the ends and the middle well together. 

| Tip: If you don’t have strips long enough to pile six folds with one single strip you can cut extra strips. It doesn’t need to be one continuous strip for you will anyhow pinch the ends together so that they stick. If it feels easier, you can pile six long strips on top of each other and cut them into about 8 cm bunches.

Chebakia strips stacked together and a hand cutting them in shorter strips on a wooden surfcae.

| Tip: If you don’t have a knife that feels comfortable in your hand, you can use a toothpick to separate the layers. If you have chopsticks they are also very handy for pinching the strips together if it feels there’s no space for fingers.

3. Easy and quick round cookie-cutter chebakia folds

The chebakia folding is generally very time-consuming. The last folds I have in this guide are easy and quick ones. You can ease up your task load and do a few different folds of the same dough to get some beautiful variety, but not to spend seven hours in the kitchen if you don’t want to!

Rolling and cutting

Roll the dough out and cut round discs with a cookie cutter, about 8 cm in diameter is easy to work with.

How to do an easy basic round fold for chebakia

Fold the disc in two unevenly, so that you can see both layers. Grasp the corners and pinch them together. You should have now two nesting upside-down teardrop shapes resembling distantly the calla lily flower.

| Tip: If you have a cookie cutter with decorative edges – now is the perfect time to use it! The fold will turn out so beautiful with a lacy edge.

Rolled out chebakia dough on a wooden surface. A hand cutting out decorative lacy edge round discs.

How to do a basic round fold chebakia with almond decoration

Fold the disc in two unevenly, so that you can see both layers. Add a roasted almond in the middle with the sharper end pointing to the round edges. Grasp the corners and pinch them together tightly with the almond inside. You should have now two nesting upside-down teardrop shapes hugging the almond in the middle.

Have you tried these yet?

Have you tried these chebakia Moroccan honey and sesame cookie folds yet? Is there any other style that you would want me to cover? Let me know in the comments! If you have any further questions or wishes on topics you would love me to cover make sure you drop me an email on my contact page!

Try something Moroccan today!

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