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Holidays are all about coming together and savoring the flavors of customs and traditions passed down from our forefathers. And what better way to celebrate than with a batch of traditional date-filled ka’ak (kaak)?
These delightful sweet breads are infused with a unique blend of spices, including nutmeg, ground ginger, cinnamon, sesame seeds, and turmeric.
Whether you pair them with a steaming cup of coffee, a fragrant cup of tea, or a refreshing glass of cold milk, these Lebanese date-filled ka’ak are the perfect treat to gather loved ones and create cherished memories during those special moments.
Lebanese Date-Filled Ka’ak (Kaak)
Table of Contents
- What Are Lebanese Date-Filled Ka’ak (kaak)?
- Special Date-Filled Ka’ak Recipe
- Traditions and Date Kaak
- The Ingredients You Will Need
- Recipe Tip
- Follow The Instructions
- Recipe Tip
- Recipe Tip
- This Guide Helps You!
- Recipe Variations
- What Goes Well with Date-Filled Ka’ak?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Important Tips for Best Date-Filled Ka’ak (kaak)
- Storage Tips
- Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
- Lebanese Date-Filled Ka’ak (Kaak) Recipe
What Are Lebanese Date-Filled Ka’ak (kaak)?
Ka’ak, or kaak, is a delicious traditional Lebanese sweet bread that brings a burst of flavor to your taste buds. The name “kaak” originates from the aromatic spice blend known as “da’et el kaak,” which gives this bread its distinctive character.
These traditional kaak bread are a treat on their own, bursting with incredible flavors. You have the freedom to choose between rolling them out to create thicker, softer versions or opting for thinner ones that offer a satisfying crunch.
Sometimes referred to as milk bun cookies or kaak anise cookies. In the Middle East, people call them kaak El Eid, since these delectable date-filled bread rolls hold a special place in holiday celebrations (known as Eid in Arabic).
A Picturesque Delicacy!
Special Date-Filled Ka’ak Recipe
This authentic ka’ak recipe is quite known for their special dough crafted using a unique blend of spices known as da’et el kaak, which elevates the flavors and imparts a distinct texture.
This kaak spice mix includes cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, anise seeds, and sesame seeds, each contributing its own aromatic essence.
However, the appeal of Kaak extends far beyond their incredible flavors and their relation to holidays. They also come loaded with a range of health benefits!
A delicious treat with tons of health benefits? YES, PLEASE!
Traditions and Date Kaak
To all my Lebanese friends! Brace yourselves for a nostalgic trip down memory lane! Today, I bring you a delightful treat that’s more than just cookies. It’s a one-way ticket to reliving all those fascinating flavors and family memories filled with laughter and joy.
I’m willing to bet you’ve had your fair share of the iconic date kaak. These special cookies hold a significant place in Lebanese traditions, often gracing the tables during special occasions.
So, let’s gather around, indulge in these delectable treats, and let the memories flow. After all, there’s nothing quite like the bond between date kaak and our treasured traditions!
Savor Those Traditional Flavors!
The Ingredients You Will Need
All-purpose flour: It is a versatile ingredient used in the dough of date-filled ka’ak. It provides structure and helps create a soft and tender texture in the final product.
Olive oil: Extra-virgin olive oil is a common choice for adding moisture and richness to the dough.
Warm milk: It adds richness and tenderness to the texture of the ka’ak.
Ka’ak spice: known as ” da’et el kaak” in Lebanese, is a unique blend of aromatic spices that adds depth and flavor to the Ka’ak dough.
Sesame seeds: Toasted sesame seeds are often used as a garnish for date-filled ka’ak. They add a nutty flavor and a delightful crunch to the exterior of the oven-baked ka’ak.
Sugar: Adding sugar to the dough provides sweetness and aids in the fermentation process of the yeast. It also contributes to the overall flavor and browning of the date ka’ak cookies during baking.
Salt: A pinch of salt deepens the flavor of the date paste.
Baking powder and yeast: They are the leavening agent that helps the dough rise and create a light, fluffy, and airy texture in the date-stuffed ka’ak.
Turmeric: It adds a vibrant yellow color to the dough of date ka’ak cookies.
Ground ginger: It has a unique, slightly spicy, and aromatic quality that complements the sweetness of the dates in the filling.
Ground cinnamon: It is a classic spice that imparts a warm and sweet flavor to the nutty date-filled ka’ak.
Scroll down for recipe details.
Pay attention to the consistency of the dough. It should be soft, pliable, and slightly sticky.
Follow The Instructions
First, in a large bowl, combine the flour, toasted sesame seeds, yeast, baking powder, turmeric, ginger powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Next, add the yeast to the milk and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
Then, slowly add in all the warm milk, and knead. Add the olive oil a little at a time and continue kneading until you have a soft smooth clammy dough.
Now, cover with saran wrap (plastic wrap) and a kitchen towel and set aside for ½-1 hour (or begin using right away).
Finally, bake in a pre-heated oven at 350°F for about 17-19 minutes, or until golden. If needed, broil for 2 minutes for a golden touch.
Allow the dough to rest and rise for an adequate amount of time. This step is crucial for developing the flavors and achieving the desired texture.
Date-Filled Ka’ak (Kaak)
If you want the ka’ak stuffed with date paste, you will need 1½ (13 oz.) of date paste packets.
First, start by oiling your hands to form a 1-inch ball of date paste.
Next, make a gentle indent in the center of the ka’ak dough, then place the date paste ball inside.
Finally, bake according to what is previously instructed for the traditional Ka’ak.
Keep the smooth end of the dough facing down so the date paste pattern doesn’t show through.
This Guide Helps You!
Step 1: Combine Your Ingredients
Step 2: Make Even-Sized Pieces of Dough
Step 3: Fill Them Up With Dates!
Step 4: Time to Mold The Kaak
Take a Moment to Appreciate The Fine Details!
The Final Product You Are Looking For!
Set The Taste Aside, Look At The Designs!
You can easily adapt the traditional ka’ak recipe to a stuffed one. Though date paste is the most common stuffing for ka’ak, you can fill these cookies with other options!
For example, some people stuff their kaak with a crushed walnut or pistachios filling. Similar to the filling used in Lebanese Maamoul Cookies, you crush the nuts using a food processor or blender, add some sugar and rose water over them, and mix.
Other popular ka’ak recipes include Palestinian kaak and Syrian kaak. There are minor variations in each recipe in terms of size, shape, and level of sweetness!
You can shape these Middle Eastern ka’ak with dates in form of rings or bracelets and dusted them with powdered sugar to increase their sweetness.
What Goes Well with Date-Filled Ka’ak?
Well, it’s no secret that anything cookie- or cake-like goes wonderfully with a cup of coffee! These sweet ka’ak with dates are simply a perfect coffee companion. They also make a great combo with tea of any kind, or a cup of hot cocoa!
Also, just like any other cookie, classic date-filled ka’ak (kaak) tastes amazing accompanied by a cold cup of milk. Whether you dunk them away or enjoy each separately, Kaak and milk are each other’s favorite companions.
Finally, serve this oven-baked ka’ak recipe the traditional Lebanese way! Enjoy it for breakfast topped with a spread of labneh, various cheeses, jams, or jellies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sure you can! Kaak molds come in many beautiful designs. Choose whichever catches your eye, and go for it!
I found that microwaving the milk for 1:30 minutes should do the trick. You can also use the stove if you prefer. Just Make sure you don’t bring it to a boil.
Important Tips for Best Date-Filled Ka’ak (kaak)
After shaping, sprinkle some sesame seeds onto the kaak, then bake them in the oven. This would give the taste a kick, and add to the overall design.
To keep your homemade ka’ak with dates fresh, store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for about 4-5 days.
When ready to consume, simply reheat these Arabic date-stuffed ka’ak in the oven for a bit on low; or eat them straight away!
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
Lebanese Date-Filled Ka’ak (Kaak)
- Ka’ak Cookie Mold
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, toasted sesame seeds, yeast, baking powder, turmeric, ginger powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Warm the milk and sugar using the microwave (about 1:30 minutes) or on the stovetop until very warm (not boiling).
- Add the yeast to the milk, don't stir, wait for 5 minutes.
- Slowly add in all the milk and knead. Add the olive oil a little at a time and continue kneading until you have a soft smooth clammy dough.
- Cover with saran wrap (plastic wrap) and a kitchen towel and set aside for ½-1 hour (or begin using right away).
- Make even-sized pieces of dough, depending on how thin or thick you want them (I usually make 2-3 inch balls), then place them in an oiled ka'ak mold.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 17-19 minutes, or until golden. Broil for 2 minutes if needed for a golden touch.
- Oil your hands and form a 1-inch ball of date paste.
- Make a gentle indent in the center of the kaak dough, then place the date paste ball inside.
- Close it up and place the ball in the ka'ak mold.
- Bake according to what is previously instructed for the traditional ka'ak.
- If nutmeg is not available, some recipes suggest replacing it with some mahlab spice. The result is just as delightful.
- After shaping, sprinkle some sesame seeds onto the ka’ak, then bake them in the oven. This would kick the taste, and add to the overall design.