Ba’aBa’a: Vegan Iraqi Date Cookies

So I return here once more to my childhood and the kitchen of my Iraqi grandma. On the counter in her kitchen there was always something to munch on. An so was also on the living room table. Some nuts, seeds to crack, and something sweet to have next to your tea.

Iraqis drink dark, strong tea. It is served in two pots, one with strong tea essence and another with hot water, so that everyone can mix to their wished strength. I like my tea, as well as my coffee, very strong, and bitter. Like many other things in life. And what comes better next to a strong tea or coffee if not a sweet little treat?

These traditional cookies are a great companion for a strong tea or a small glass of black coffee. They are made of basic yeast dough seasoned with a touch of cardamon, and stuffed with a layer of soft dates. After baking, they can last for days on the counter, waiting for an occasional bite.

Ingredients (for 1 baking pan, 15-16 cookies):
250g all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
5g dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup coconut oil
for the stuffing: 200g pitted soft dates, blended to a paste

Mix all the dry ingredients, besides the salt, in a bowl. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or in a small pot. Mix it in first, then add the water. Mix well, until you get some nicely elastic dough. Add the salt and keep kneading for around 5 minutes. Once done, cover in a towel and let it rest in a warm place for around an hour.

 

After it grew, punch it to release the air, and split into 15-16 balls. Make in each ball a hole with your thumbs, fill with the date paste, and close. It is a similar technique to making Kubas. Once you have round balls of stuffed dough, flatten them gently with your thumbs (see gallery).

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Place on baking paper, make little holes with a fork, and bake for 20 minutes in 170 degrees.

IMPORTANT: let them cool on a net so they won’t get soggy at the bottom. Keep on the counter and enjoy with a dark, hot cup of tea.

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