Kaak Warka is my second Tunisian cookie recipe I’m sharing, after Ghraiba, the chickpeas flour chewy and delicious cookies. Kaak Warka (I have no idea how to correctly pronounce either of those, btw) are filled with marzipan, or almond paste if you prefer to call it like that. The marzipan is flavoured with rose water. I was scared it will be a bit too much, but is not, especially the one that I have, that doesn’t have a very intense flavour.
The pastry is not sweetened and not flavoured with anything. This is how I’ve made the first batch, following the traditional recipe. Next time I’m going to add a bit of nut flavour in the pastry, like pistachio or hazelnut. My husband suggested that I might try to make them with hot water pastry. That sounds like a very good idea, especially as the texture of the dough is great, more malleable and easy to roll thinly. As for the marzipan, I’m going to make it like this from now on, with water instead of golden syrup and less sugar.
I think it’s great that these two Tunisian recipes don’t ask for a lot of sugar, only 50g for 10 pieces. Basically is a teaspoon of sugar per biscuit! That makes them great for parents who want to keep an eye on the sugar intake. Furthermore, to make these biscuits you need only a few ingredients.
Ingredients for 10 Kaak Warka biscuits:
– 250g white plain flour
– 100g butter, soften at room temperature
– water, as needed
– 125g ground almonds
– 50g icing sugar
– 3 spoons of rose water
Start by making the marzipan. In a bowl, put the ground almonds and the icing sugar. Add two spoons of water and stir, then tip it onto the worktop and knead. Add the third spoon of rose water or water if the rose water you are using has a strong flavour. Knead the marzipan until all the ingredients are incorporated. Leave on a side.
Make the pastry dough by tossing in the butter cut in cubes on top of the flour. Rub the butter in the hands until it resembles breadcrumbs. As before, tip the ingredients on the worktop and start incorporating the butter in the flour. Add water gradually, until the dough is easy to work with, but not too wet.
Pre-heat the oven at 140C or 120C for fan assisted ovens.
While the oven is getting warm, roll the pastry thinly on the slightly floured worktop. I’ve used the 2mm adjustment for the rolling pin. Cut a strip of dough of approximately 10 cm. Weight in the marzipan and divide it in 10 equal parts. Roll one part of the marzipan in a sausage that is a bit shorter than 10 cm long. Put that marzipan sausage on top of the strip of dough. Make sure the marzipan is placed a bit over one side of the dough. Roll the dough with the marzipan in it and cut it to size. Gently press the two parts until they stuck to each other. Then, keep a finger on a side, at the middle of the rolled dough and create the round doughnut shape. Overlap the excess dough over the marzipan that is sticking out the other side. Now press gently so the two sides are stuck to each other. Repeat until you make all the cookies.
When I’ve made the first two or three, I’ve cut the dough too short and it was difficult to shape the doughnuts. If you cut them longer, is easier to shape.
Put the cookies on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place the baking tray in the oven and leave it to bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The low heat means that the cookies will not change their colour. They have to remain as white as possible. As you can see in the next picture, the cookies are baked, but still white and lovely.
When they are baked, take them out of the oven and put them on a cooling rack.
They taste better when eaten cold. I was so eager to try them, that I had one hot. It’s nice, but with a cup of coffee in the morning are even better.
I’m happy I tried this recipe, because it will become one of the things I’m going to make often. The low amount of sugar, the taste and the ability of adding lots of flavours both in the marzipan and the pastry dough are the reasons I’m so smitten with these Kaak Warka cookies.