Both Muslims and Christians in Egypt celebrate their feasts with special desserts baked for each occasion. Two such desserts, kahk and ghurayeba, are traditional cookies that are eaten not only on their festive days but regularly, the outcome of a process that has long-celebrated familial and neighborhood bonds.
Days before the feast, families and neighbors used to gather at a given house for the ritual kahk baking, though this tradition has waned amid the pressures of city life, where patisseries abundantly produce ready-made cookies at varying prices and in innovative forms. Nevertheless, the tradition remains in the countryside, reminding Cairo of how much a ritual can do in terms of strengthening family and neighborhood relations. On the first day of Eid, children roam alleys with platters of kahk to distribute to their neighbors, offering a graceful morning greeting.
Here is a traditional kahk recipe for the day when you decide to bake it alone, or alongside family members, neighbors and friends.
1 kilogram of flour
2 cups of margarine or butter
1 cup of milk
3 tablespoons of sesame seeds
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of kahk flavoring
A small amount of salt
1 tablespoon of yeast in a cup of warm water
A walnut for each cookie you want to make
1. Blend the butter into the blender until it becomes creamy.
2. Add the milk and mix it with the butter.
3. Add the baking powder, sesame seeds, and salt to the flour, together with the kahk flavoring.
4. Slowly add the milk and butter mix to the flour and mix it manually until it is ready to be shaped.
5. Add the yeast in the warm water.
6. You can also add some more water while you are mixing to make it easier, but don't add too much.
7. Leave the mix covered for one hour.
8. Cut the dough into small balls and press a walnut into each one.
9. Create some indentations on the surface of each ball.
10. Put the balls on a cooking pan with spaces between them, because they will expand a bit.
11. Bake them in a medium-heat oven until they acquire a golden-yellow color.
12. Leave the cookies to cool, then add the powdered sugar on top.