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Kleicha (Iraqi cookies)

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For the dough
  • 1 sachet instant yeast (7g)
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk (+ extra if needed)
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mahleb (optional)
  • 2 tsp black seed
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cup ghee, melted (or 270g)
For the date filling
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 cups dates, pits removed
  • 0.5 tsp ground cardamom
For the walnut filling
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 0.5 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • Skill Level


Kleicha is a well known Iraqi cookie, made typically on occasions such as Eid. They are soooo delicious, you will be making these all year round! In this recipe I have made kleicha with two fillings, dates and walnuts. I hope you give these a try.
  1. Start by activating your yeast. In a small bowl, add the yeast, sugar and milk. Mix and set aside for at least 5 mins
  2. Meanwhile, place the flour, salt, mahleb, black seed and ground cardamom in a large bowl or a stand mixer. Mix altogether. Use the kneading dough attachment if using a stand mixer, otherwise mix by hand the dough. Add the activated yeast mixture to the flour mix and continue mixing. Add the melted ghee to the mixture, and continue mixing until the dough comes together. Add a splash of warm milk (I added an extra 1/4 cup) if the mixture seems a little dry, to ensure your dough is nice and smooth. Cover and set aside to rise for at least one to two hours.
  3. In the meantime make your fillings. To make the date filling, melt the ghee in a pot. Add the dates and ground cardamom over medium heat and continue mixing until the dates disintegrate to become a paste (give it at least five minutes). Set aside to cool
  4. To make the walnut filling, add the chopped walnuts, ground cardamom, white sugar and water in a bowl. Mix well and then set aside
  5. When the dough has risen, remove it onto a clean surface, fold it one more time, then cut the dough into quarters. Cover the dough you are not using to ensure it doesn't dry out
  6. Prepare the date filling by cutting open two sandwich bags, or two baking sheets. Place one sheet then half the date mixture on top. Place the other sheet on top and use a rolling pin to roll out the date mixture into an approx rectangular shape (see the video above to illustrate this better). Roll out one quarter of the dough mixture to a similar shape and size to the date mixture, keeping it approx 1mm in thickness. Place the rolled out date mixture over the dough. Fill any missing parts of the dough with extra date mixture. Cut the dough in half horizontally to form two separate pieces. Roll lengthways the dough in a swiss roll manner. Gently flatten out, using a rolling pin, each 'swiss roll'. Cut into an inch or so pieces. Place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush each piece with the egg wash, and using a fork press on each piece a few time to make a design. You may wish to sprinkly sesame seeds or leave it plain. Place into the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 10-12 mins or until golden, then leave too cool. Repeat this for the other quarter of the remaining dough
  7. For the walnut mixture, roll out a quarter of the dough into 1mm thickness. Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut circles in the dough. Pick each circle up, place just under a teaspoon of the walnut mixture (depending on the size of the circle) into the centre, then fold the circle in half and seal the edges with your fingers or crimp with a fork (I found placing the mixture on the bottom side of the circle helped it stick together without having to crimp with a fork). Place onto a baking sheet, brush on the egg wash, poke with a fork, then place into the oven for 10-12 mins at 200 degreed Celsius until golden. Remove and leave to cool. Repeat this for the other quarter of the remaining dough

  This was such a treat! Everybody loved it! And so will you! I will surely be making this over and over again, an Eid treat that will be enjoyed all year round! Enjoy :)


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