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Kaak (Cookies with a Sesame-Anise Glaze) on a wooden board with teacup in background.

Kaak (Cookies with a Sesame-Anise Glaze)

A recipe for Kaak (Cookies with a Sesame-Anise Glaze) from the cookbook, Sumac: Recipes and Stories from Syria, written by Anas Atassi.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Syrian
Keyword anise, cookie, dessert, kaak, sesame, sesame seed, Syria, Syrian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 12 -15 Cookies


For the cookies:

  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (90 grams) semolina
  • 1/2 cup scant (50 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds

For the crust:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds


To make the cookies:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar, oil, and egg until smooth and homogeneous.
  • In another bowl, combine the flour, semolina, cornstarch, salt, vanilla bean paste, baking powder, and anise seeds.
  • Gradually whisk the milk mixture into the dry ingredients until it is completely incorporated. The dough should be soft and sticky. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.
  • After the dough has rested, it should have a smooth consistency and should not feel sticky anymore.
  • To form the cookies, divide the dough into apricot-sized balls and roll them into little sausages, about 8 inches (20 cm) long. Join the ends to form rings about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter.
  • Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Make the crust:

  • Whisk the egg, milk, and vinegar together and pour into a shallow dish.
  • Mix the sesame seeds and anise seeds in another dish.
  • Dip the cookie base into the egg mixture and then into the seed mixture. Arrange the kaak, seed side up, on the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.
  • After baking, cool the cookies for at least 30 minutes before dipping them into a cup of tea.