How to make kleicha/ Iraqi date cookies

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You will read here a step by step guide of how to make kleicha or Iraqi date cookies.

Kleicha is a type of middle eastern cookie that is stuffed with date paste or with a mix of walnuts, sesame and sugar.
Kleicha is considered as the national cookie of Iraq. The origin of this cookie can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia.

Kleicha is typically eaten for Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, as well as Eid al-Adha.

One of the main and most joyous signs Eid is approaching is the Kleicha smell that overwhelms the streets of Iraq.

There is no thing like the smell of baking Kleicha at home! For me, it is the heaven!

How to make kleicha/ Iraqi date cookies

I can clearly remember the days of my childhood when I was impatiently waiting for the Kleicha to be done! Even the smell of it, I can remember as if it was baked today, not 25 years ago.

Families typically exchange Kleicha as gifts, and friendly informal competitions over whose Kleicha are best are common.

Of course, every household has its own unique recipe that they treasure, but the basics remain the same.

So, if you want to try a new way to make this lovely cookie, I highly recommend this condensed milk kleicha recipe. It will turn out delicious, tender and unforgettable!

How to make kleicha/ Iraqi date cookies

How to make kleicha/ Iraqi date cookies:

Recipe information:

Prep time: 1 hr 30 mins

Cook time: 15 minutes

Course: dessert, cookies

Cuisine: Iraqi, Kurdish, Assyrian, Middle Eastern, vegetarian

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Equipments:

You will need a kleicha or maamoul mold to create the shapes of this cookie.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 200 g butter, slightly melted
  • 100 g condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 3 tsp yeast
  • A pinch of salt

For filling:

  • 1 kilo Pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter

For surface:

  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tbsp milk

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Instructions:

1- Firstly, prepare the Kleicha dough by placing the flour in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and incorporate them to make a well-formed dough.

2- Add the yeast, baking powder, condensed milk, cardamom, and a pinch of salt to dough. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, then cover with cling film to avoid drying. Rest at room temperature for an hour.

3- Meanwhile, in a sauce pan over medium heat, put the sunflower oil and butter, then add the dates and 2 tablespoons of hot water. Stir constantly until the mixture is cooked, thickened, and becomes soft.

4- Divide the date mass into (26) portions, roll them into smooth balls. Use oil or safe food prep gloves if needed, as the date mass can be sticky. Also, roll out (26) portions of the dough into smooth balls.

5- working on each ball at a time, flatten the dough ball using your palm and fingers. Puth 1/2 tbsp date mix in she center of the dough. Pinch the dough to seal over the date filling, then roll it back to a ball.

6- if you have a kleicha mold, grease it slightly with butter
and press the filled cookies into the mold, flattening the back as you do, then gently tap the form on your working surface to release the kelicha.
Transfer to the baking tray and repeat with the rest of rolls.

7- Beat the the milk and egg in a bowl, and brush the surface of each kleicha piece with this mixture.

8- bake in preheated oven on 200°C for about 15 minutes or until golden. Serve it with tea, or Turkish coffee.

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How long do kleicha last?

kleicha will last for 2 weeks in an air tight container or a sealed bag on the counter.
They will last even longer if kept in the fridge.

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Can you freeze kleicha?

kleicha freeze really well. Wrap the cooled kleicha individually in plastic wrap or foil, and place them in a freeze bag or freezer-safe container.

Thaw them at room temperature, and if you like, you can heat them in a warm oven for that freshly baked kleicha taste.

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What are other kleicha filling?

You can make different variations of kleicha filling using Turkish delight, sesame and sugar, jam, chocolate chips, walnuts, pistachios, or with a combination of all nuts together.

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Ghee or butter in kleicha?

You can use either, and you can use a mix. Ghee and butter are better than the vegetable oil when it comes to making kleicha, because they make it tender, while the oil makes the kleicha a bit hard.


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