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2000s Recipes + Menus

Moroccan Tea Biscuits

Makes about40 Cookies
  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:3 hr (includes chilling and cooling)
April 2009
Take one bite of the crisp cookies known as fekkas and you’re inhaling the perfumes of the Middle East: orange-flower water (left over from Orange Flan), anise, sesame seeds, and toasted almonds.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted (see Tips), cooled, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons orange-flower water
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted (see Tips) and cooled, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
  • Stir together sugar, butter, almonds, orange-flower water, anise seeds, extracts, and 1/4 cup sesame seeds in a large bowl. Add eggs and stir until well combined. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined. Chill dough, covered, 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  • Using moistened hands, halve dough and form 2 (11- by 3-inch) loaves on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with enough egg wash to coat, then sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sesame seeds.
  • Bake until pale golden, about 30 minutes. Loosen from baking sheet with a spatula, then transfer loaves to a rack and cool 15 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
  • Cut warm loaves into 3/4-inch slices with a serrated knife and arrange biscuits, with a cut side down, on a clean baking sheet. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
Cooks’ note: Biscuits keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 weeks.