Traditional Moroccan Sweets – Chebakia

Wonderfully fragrant, crunchy, yet chewy and altogether delicious, chebakia cookies are among the most delightful traditional Moroccan sweets to taste. Here’s how to make them…

Making Chebakia Traditional Moroccan Sweets 

Often also referred to as rose des sables, shebakia, griwech or mkharka, chebakia cookies take a little time to make. However, considering the deliciously fragrant, tasty combination of honey, sesame and turmeric, they are well worth the effort!

To make the dough, you will need:

  • 500 g of plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 250 g of almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) of dry active yeast
  • ½ tsp of caster sugar
  • 250 g of very finely ground sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup of orange blossom water
  • 80 ml of olive oil
  • 80 ml of melted butter 
  • ½ tsp of ground anise
  • ½ tsp of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp of ground turmeric
  • Saffron (a generous pinch) and a
  • Pinch of salt

To fry and soak your chebakia, you will also need:

  • 800 g of clear honey
  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of orange blossom water
  • Frying oil and
  • 250 g of sesame seeds, toasted (for sprinkling)

Preparing Your Dough

  • Stir the dry yeast and ½ tsp of sugar into 3 tbsp of lukewarm water (using a fork), Leave until it becomes foamy (about 5 minutes)
  • Place all dough ingredients, including your now active yeast, into a large bowl and mix into a soft dough with your hands (adding more flour if it is too sticky or more water if it is too dry)
  • Knead the dough on a worktop dusted with flour until lightly elastic and smooth (around 8 minutes)
  • Divide dough into 5 equal parts, then place parts into a plastic bag or cover them with a damp towel for 15 minutes
  • Lightly flour the worktop again and roll one portion of your dough out to a thickness of about 0.2 in/5 mm
  • Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the rolled-out dough into rectangles measuring approximately 3 in x 2 in/ 7 cm x 5 cm and cut four slits (evenly spaced) across each rectangle.

While you can, of course, fold the dough into any shape you like, it is traditionally folded into the shape of a rose. This can be a little tricky, so handling the dough carefully to prevent damaging it is important.

To fold the rose shape:

  • Hold a dough rectangle in one hand
  • Thread the index finger of your other hand through the slits
  • Pinch the rectangle corners closest to your index finger’s tip together
  • Gently pull out your finger while at the same time pushing the pinched corners inside out through the centre
  • Open the dough up to form a rose, place your shaped chebakia onto a tray and cover (dry towel)
  • Repeat until all dough is used up.

This video shows that the process of folding the roses is not as complicated as it sounds… 

Frying and Soaking Your Chebakia

  • Once you have shaped all your dough, heat your frying oil (approximately 2 in/4 cm deep) in a deep frying pan to reach 350° F/180° (medium heat, reduce heat once frying temperature is reached)
  • Combine the honey and orange blossom water in a large frying pan and heat (start on medium high heat, reduce heat once foamy to prevent burning)
  • Working in batches, carefully place your chebakia into the frying oil and cook until golden (about 5 minutes, gently flipping them if necessary)
  • Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer the chebakia into the simmering honey, allow to soak until golden brown (about 6 minutes)
  • Gently transfer to a cooling rack (again using a slotted spoon), sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and allow to cool completely before serving


If you’d like to learn more about Moroccan cuisine, why not join one of our cooking classes the next time you stay at Les Borjs de la Kasbah?!

Source: Images and recipe adapted from: