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chebakia cookies on a colorful plate
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5 from 4 votes

Chebakia (Moroccan Sesame Cookies)

Moroccan sesame cookies, shaped like elongated roses, deep-fried, and dipped into syrup.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: sweets
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 113kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner


  • pinch saffron threads (diluted in 2 tablespoons warm water)
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds (divided)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 medium egg
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (melted)
  • tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water (or rose water)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup honey

For Frying

  • 3 cups canola or vegetable oil (more or less depending on pot size)


Chebakia Dough

  • In a small bowl, dilute saffron threads into 2 tablespoons of warm water and set aside until needed.
  • Grind all but 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds in a food processor until powdery. Set 2 tablespoons aside to sprinkle over the cookies.
  • In a large bowl, whisk ground sesame seeds with flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  • Add saffron water, egg, butter, vinegar, orange blossom water, and anise. Stir to combine. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
  • Knead the dough with your hands for five minutes, or so until the dough is pliable. You can also use a mixer if you prefer. Divide dough into 3 sections and cover with a dishcloth while you make the syrup.


  • Add water, sugar, orange blossom water, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, while stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add honey and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Boil for a few additional minutes if needed to thicken. Set aside to cool. The syrup will thicken further once cooled.


  • Roll one section of dough into ⅛" in thickness. Trim the dough edges to make a square. Divide the square into nine squares (approximately 3.25" x 3.25" in size). It's ok if they're not exactly that size.
  • Make 4, evenly spaced slits in each square.
  • Thread one square over your middle finger, so that you have 3 strips of dough on top and 2 on the bottom. With your other hand, pinch the two front corners of the dough.
  • Fold the dough over your finger (towards the tip of your finger). Form the dough into an oval-shaped flower. Pinch both corners. 
  • Place the folded Chebakia on a baking tray and repeat the steps until all the dough is used up.

Frying the Chebakia

  • Heat oil in a deep pan until it reaches 350 degrees F. Fry Chebakia in batches until they reach a deep brown color. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  • Transfer the fried Chekabia into the syrup, while you fry the next batch. Remove the first batch from the honey and add the next batch. Repeat until all the cookies are fried.
  • Once the Chebakia are removed from the honey and plated, pour any remaining syrup over them and sprinkle with the reserved toasted sesame seeds.


  • Nutritional information is for unfried Chebakia since it's difficult to predict how much oil the cookies will absorb.
  • Add a tablespoon of sesame seed oil to the dough while mixing to enhance the sesame flavor.
  • I recommend having someone help you with frying and dipping the Chebakia in the syrup. One of you can fry the Chabakia, while the other can submerge them in the syrup and remove them before adding the next batch.
  • Store completely cooled Chebakia in an airtight container. They'll keep for at least a few weeks at room temperature.
  • If you need to, freeze Chebakia for up to three months.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g