Sweet kaak is nothing like regular kaak, except that it’s also kinda like a bread stick. Actually, it’s really more like a cookie made with orange zest. I usually don’t love orange zest, but for some reason I absolutely love sweet kaak. It’s a traditional Syrian treat, one that if I have in my cookie jar (okay, fine, I don’t have a cookie jar, but I do have airtight containers that I can leave on the counter and store cookies in) I will finish in about a day. Basically, they are sugar cookies that are twisted. Yum!These photos are from my first attempt at baking sweet kaak, and I have to say they aren’t the prettiest batch I’ve made. Not as skinny or long as I would have liked, that is. The problem? I used oil instead of Earth Balance – now I know. I hate making cookies with oil-based dough because rolling them out is always a problem. So in the improved recipe that I’m sharing with you, I used Earth Balance. I’m sure these would be amazing with butter, but they are such a pareve dessert/snack that I wouldn’t even think of trying them that way.
The recipe in Deal Delights was not precise enough to make for a first time, though I might try it after I master this version. That version has more eggs, less zest and vanilla, and a little less flour.
Though these cookies traditionally have orange zest, they are also really good without it. Sometimes I make half the dough with zest and half without…try it both ways and tell me what you prefer.
Sweet Kaak, adapted from Aromas of Aleppo:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 sticks Earth Balance shortening
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- zest of one orange, finely grated
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 5 cups flour
- 4 large eggs
- Extra sugar, for rolling (about 1/2 cup)
1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together all the ingredients (except extra sugar). Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is well-incorporated. If dough is not wet enough, add up to two more eggs.
2. Refrigerate dough for one hour.
3. Roll dough into strands 4 inches long and about 1/2 inch thick,.
4. Twist two together into a “figure S” or “twisted rod” and pinch the ends.
5. Roll each cookie in sugar and place on greased cookie sheet.
6. Bake in 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. They won’t really brown much, don’t worry about it.