Twabaa (Ta’aba) are Algerian cookies flavored with lemon and occasionally orange or anise seeds. These lightly crisp and crumbly cookies get their fat completely from olive oil, no butter needed. Make sure to use a good quality to help the flavors shine. I formed the cookies into rings, but have also seen them shaped into cylinders. They are perfect as an afternoon snack with coffee or tea.
I made these cookies using Spartan Oil . Spartan Oil has brought together a group of bloggers this week for their first event, the #EVOOChallenge! I will be featuring recipes highlighting olive oil every day this week. The company was founded by first generation Greek-American, Pericles Konstas, to offer the highest quality extra virgin olive oil to its consumers. The oil has been produced from the family’s ancient olive trees in Sparta, Greece (Lakonia region) for at least twelve generations. The olives are harvested by hand, pressed mechanically within 24 hours of harvest, and the resulting oil is not filtered to preserve the full flavor and nutritional benefits. The olive oil is stored in all natural, non-reactive stoneware bottles to keep the oil at a consistent temperature and prevent light transmission. Using a high quality, flavorful extra virgin olive oil definitely has an impact on the final result of the dish. Check out the hashtag #EVOOChallenge on social media for other great recipes using Olive Oil.
Lightly moisten your hands with water to keep the dough from sticking when rolling them into a smooth ball. I used the circular handle of a wooden spoon to make holes in the middle of the cookies. I dipped the handle in a small bowl of water between each cookie to keep it from sticking.
I added 1/2 tablespoon of orange blossom water to the egg before brushing over the cookies and sprinkling with sugar. You can also sprinkle to cookies with a little more lemon zest or even rub the zest into the sugar.
These cookies can also be made with orange zest instead of lemon.
To keep the cookies halal, use a halal vanilla extract or one vanilla bean.
If you want all the cookies the exact same size, weigh the tablespoons of dough to make sure they equal 20 grams each.
Disclaimer: I was given a bottle and refill pouch of Spartan Oil to prepare this recipe. All comments and opinions are my own.
Twabaa (Algerian Lemon and Olive Oil Cookies)
Adapted from Rosa’s Yummy Yums
2 1/2 cups (320 grams) unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 cup (210 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest, ~1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional)
Granulated or Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until frothy and pale. Slowly beat in olive oil, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
Fold in the flour mixture until just combined.
Scoop out a tablespoon sized ball of dough (0.7 ounces/20 grams). Using lightly wet hands, roll the dough into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing them two inches apart.
Wet the circular handle of a wooden spoon and use it to poke a hole in the center of the ball of dough, twisting to expand the size slightly to a little over half an inch (1 1/2 cm). Wet the handle between balls of dough.
In a small bowl, beat the egg with the orange blossom water. Brush over the cookies and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
Store in airtight container for up to a week.