a cookbook by souad sharabani


Basic ka’kat are small plain cookies made of dough very similar to that used for khubz, a round Iraqi flatbread, and shaped like a bagel. Sometimes I add sugar to sweeten them. When I was growing up, having ka’kat at home was as necessary as having water. They are almost a comfort food and always accompany tea and coffee. Even now when I visit my brother, we without fail stay up until the early hours of the morning talking, drinking tea and eating ka’kat. The night of my niece’s wedding, we returned home from the party very late, yet we could not go to bed before drinking tea and eating some ka’kat.

As soon as the ka’kat have cooled, I put them in a resealable bag and pop them into the freezer (for up to 6 months). To thaw, just leave out on the counter for 30 to 60 minutes. They will taste as if freshly baked.

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Makes at least 3 dozen

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water; set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the flour. Stir in the same direction for at least 1 minute, to incorporate the flour, adding a little more lukewarm water at a time if needed.
  3. Add the egg, oil, fennel seeds and salt, stirring well to incorporate.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until firm and elastic. If the dough is too dry, add more water, a little at a time.
  5. Return the dough to the bowl, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  7. Take a small piece of dough about the size of a walnut. Roll it between the palms of your hands to lengthen into a cigar shape. Pinch together the ends to form a ring. Place on the baking sheet. Continue in this way until all the dough is used, being careful not to overcrowd on the baking sheet (baking in batches if necessary), as the rings expand during baking.
  8. Bake the rings in a 375°F oven for about 20 minutes or until light brown.

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