Sunday, 19 August 2012

Egyptian Shortbread كحك Kahk

Egyptian Shortbread كحك Kahk

Egyptian Shortbread كحك Kahk
Egyptian Shortbread كحك Kahk

Kahk represents a time of celebration.  These biscuits are made at Christmas and Easter time and Eid el-fitr which is the feast after Ramadan (when Muslims fast from Sunrise to Sunset for a month). 
I thought that since the blog has reached over 1000 page views it was time to post another delicious entry - something sweet, and something buttery.  The answer…Kahk!
I never made Kahk at home and truth be told, I don’t remember helping mum make it either but we had it every year, always at Christmas and Easter and then for any special occasions outside of that.  Certain visits from particular family friends would see mum making Kahk too – how else to tell someone they are special than through food!

I feel a little guilty when I think about all the times my mother was baking these precious biscuits and I was not interested in learning how to make them until it was too late to learn from her.  I didn’t forget the lesson though and I made sure to join my step mother on her biscuit production day before last Christmas and it was a valuable lesson in the art of biscuit making.  She shared her recipe for making Kahk with me and as I stood with her in the kitchen my mother had stood in, I asked her about how she began making Kahk and if she would teach her daughters to make it.

My step mother is a wonderful lady and I appreciated the time she spent showing me the ropes (so to speak).  She began making Kahk as a child with her mother and then as a teen she took to making it every year by herself.  She told me that Kahk is thought to bring good to the family both where it is made and where it is given and so she would make it to make sure that blessings never passed by their house.  Perhaps this is why at Christmas time there is so much Kahk being made and shared throughout Egypt and in Egyptian families worldwide.
I plan on starting the tradition in my home too.  I am sure that the boys will love it and hopefully so will our guests and visitors.

Egyptian Shortbread كحك Kahk
Egyptian Shortbread كحك Kahk
and various other pettifore

I know that there are a variety of Kahk fillings which include nuts such as pistachios, walnuts and almonds or Turkish delight (malban).  Kahk with pitted puréed dates (or ‘agwa’) is more common in the Arab Gulf and is known as Ma’amoul.  My mum made different ones but I can’t remember what they were anymore.  I think if you have a particular liking for something give it a try as a stuffing but a stuffing is not necessary and I rather like a plain Kahk.

Egyptian Shortbread كحك Kahk

Makes: 20

250g unsalted butter, bring to room temperature 
¼ cup icing sugar
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup self-raising flour
1 cup plain flour, plus extra
½ cup crushed walnuts or almonds
 Extra icing sugar to coat

Preheat oven to moderate 180°C (350°F/Gas mark 4). Grease oven trays and cover with baking paper.  Beat butter and icing sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat well to combine.  Sift baking powder and flours together. Gradually add to butter along with the nuts and combine.  The mixture is ready when it comes together as a ball of dough.  Remove from mixer and place on floured board, roll adding flour until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.

Form dough into little balls about the size of walnuts and flatten slightly with a fork or  alternatively mould into thin sausages about 10 cm long and 1cm wide, bringing the ends together to form a horseshoe shape .  Place on trays allowing room for spreading, and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the biscuits are slightly browned on the base.

Remove the Kahk from the oven and leave for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.  While still hot, sift a little icing sugar over the top.  Sift extra icing sugar when cool so that they are well coated.

Note: Kahk stores well in an airtight container out of the fridge, if there is any left!

Egyptian Shortbread كحك Kahk
Egyptian Shortbread كحك Kahk


  1. These were delicious, my Dad was Egyptian and his Aunty used to make these for us at Easter. Thank you for this easy recipe.

    1. Hi Monique, Thank you for your comment, I'm so glad that you tried Kahk and that it reminds you of Easter. I have fond memories of my mum making these for us too!

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