Monday, November 16, 2015

Vanilla Layer Cake with Almond Filling and Coffee Buttercream

The next six months are big in my family. My son turns 18 in a months time, in January my daughter turns 21 and then in March and April my husband and I both celebrate our 50th birthday. So you can imagine I have a lot of cake on my mind. Birthday in our house are never celebrated without cake. We love them! Cake = Celebration.

I have been seeing a lot of layer cakes around. And they look so perfect! Ooooooh, I so want to make a wonderful cake for the most special people in my life. So I decided to practice this weekend. It's not perfect but I'm quite happy with a first attempt. The vanilla cake is from a great blog Cake Paper Party which has the most amazing cake combinations. Have you ever hear of a Pinot Noir cake? No, I hadn't even imagined that flavour but how fantastic! 
The Italian Meringue buttercream is by Warren Brown and is one I have used before for the Rainbow Rose Cake and the Filipino Sans Rival Cake. I love this buttercream but it can be a challenge especially if you don't wait for the meringue to cool.

So, after this I feel I have some good celebration cakes in me for the upcoming BIG birthdays. I have a lot to learn still and by no means perfect but I look forward to creating something special for my family. 
Do you celebrate with cake every time?

Vanilla Cake (recipe adapted from Cake Paper Party)

230g unsalted butter, softened
340 grams castor sugar (superfine)
60mls canola oil
4 large eggs
25ml vanilla extract
170 grams all-purpose flour
170 grams cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
300mls buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Grease and flour 3 x 20cm cake pans.
In a stand mixer beat the butter, sugar and oil until light and fluffy which should only take 2 or 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just moistened. Pour in the buttermilk, mix in slowly, then turn up to medium and beat for 1 minutes. Pour evenly in cake pans. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until well cooked. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pans then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool.

Italian Meringue Buttercream ( recipe by Warren Brown)

1 cup castor sugar (superfine)
1/4 cup water
5 egg whites
1/4 cup castor sugar (superfine)
250g unsalted butter, cool room temperature

Heat the 1 cup castor sugar and water in a pan until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil until it reaches 120C/245F. At the same time as the sugar syrup is cooking start the meringue. Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until  soft peaks form - about 2 minutes. While still whisking sprinkle in the 1/4 cup sugar. Beat well. By this time the syrup should be ready. Pour it into the meringue, whisking all the while,  in a slow and steady stream. Continue to beat until the mixture cools. This will take about 10 -15 minutes or longer. Once cool and not before, slowly add the butter tablespoonful by tablespoonful. The mixture will deflate slightly but all is well. If your butter melts the meringue is still to hot. Beat until it cools. If necessary, remove the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for a while. Then start again.


I stirred a couple of tablespoons of Amaretto liqueur and a teaspoon of almond essence into the finished buttercream. Taste as you go and adjust to your taste.

Almond Simple Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon Amaretto Liqueur
a few drops of almond essence

Heat the sugar and water in a pan. Bring to boil and boil for 2 or 3 minutes. Allow to cool then add flavourings.

Bringing the cake together

You will need to toast a cup of almond in the oven until fragrant. Chop coarsely for the filling.

Place one cake onto your serving plate. Brush lightly with Almond simple syrup. Then spread an even layer of buttercream over the cake and sprinkle with a generous layer of crushed almonds. Top with another layer of cake and press down lightly but firmly. Repeat filling. Top with the last cake. Press down and check that the cake is level.

  Spread a thin layer of buttercream all over as a crumb coat. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, mix 3 teaspoons of instant espresso powder with 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Allow to cool. Then mix into the remaining buttercream along with two heaped tablespoons of icing (powdered) sugar. Once the cake is set and cold, spread the coffee buttercream all over side and top of the cake. Decorate as you wish.

PS: When the cake was really set and cold it cut much more cleanly.
 Hmmm, lesson learnt!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Quick Crunchy Coconut Biscuits

 I think I have found the ultimate biscuit recipe - fast, crispy and delicious! Today I needed to fill the biscuit barrel but fast! Maybe you're the same, I need more than 24 hours in a day, these days. Store bought biscuits have their place and they are great at a pinch but if you want to know exactly what you are eating, we all know home baked is best.

I found the recipe here and is submitted by Bernice. Bernice tells us that they are "Crisp, delicious and perfect with a cuppa." She goes on to say, "These are so easy and will be gone in seconds! It's an old recipe I found among my Mother's few recipes, written out by her aunt many, many years ago."

So I had to try them. I agree with Bernice, these biscuits are delicious and definitely easy. What can be easier than melting butter and mixing with the other ingredients? This is a basic recipe. Why not add choc chips, or nuts. Maybe some cinnamon or sub out the coconut with muesli or crushed cornflakes? Or just make them as they will love them!

Crispy Coconut Biscuits

125g butter
1 cup castor sugar
1 egg
dash of vanilla
1 heaped cup self raising flour, sifted
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

Heat the oven to 180C/ 350F. Line a couple of trays with non stick paper.

Soften the butter in the microwave or leave it out on the counter until really soft. With a wooden spoon stir in the sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla. Mix well. Add the flour and the coconut. Stir well until thoroughly mixed.

Roll small balls about the size of a walnut and place a little distance apart on the baking tray. Press with a fork. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, turning the trays once ( that's my oven, anyway). The biscuits will puff up and then as they cook will flatten, that's when you know they are ready and will be browned and crispy. Remove and cool on wire racks.

Makes about 24

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Brandied Fig and Caramelised Honey Macarons

For the month of October we got to take on one of many bakers' deepest, darkest kitchen nightmares : macarons. Our talented bakers Korena from Korena in the Kitchen and Rachael from pizzarossa made the intimidating task of mastering these French beauties a breeze.

Quite a long time ago, actually October 2009, we Daring Bakers were first challenged to bake macarons. At the time I had heard of the macaron but had never seen or tasted one. Yes, true! Where I live in tropical North Queensland we have lots of sun, summer and beaches but trends take a long time to arrive! Hence that challenge was a challenge indeed. I went on to make them regularly even giving them as gifts to my children's teachers at the end of the school year. A couple of years later I made two macaron towers for my niece's wedding. I think that did it for me as I hadn't made a successful macaron since

Fast forward to Daring Bakers Challenge October 2015 and once again we are challenged with macarons. This time I decided to try the Italian meringue method said to produce shinier shells. Actually I didn't think it did produce shinier shells but it does seem to produce more consistent results and a more forgiving mixture. And this time no air bubbles in my shells! I am so happy! Thanks to our hosts Rachael and Korena!

Macaron shells using the Italian meringue method (Rachael's recipe)

Servings: 30 x 4cm / 1 1/2” filled macarons

(original recipe in grams)

140g / 4.9 oz ground almonds, room temperature
140g / 4.9 oz powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
100g / 3.5 oz egg white (from approx. 3 eggs), room temperature, divided 50/50
100g / 3.5 oz granulated (white) sugar
40g / 1.4 oz (weight) water


Replace 20g / .7 oz of the powdered sugar with unsweetened cocoa powder or powdered freeze dried fruit
The seeds of 1 vanilla bean
A few drops of non-oil-based essence
A few drops of gel food colouring or a pinch of powder food colouring


Prepare 2 parchment (not wax paper) lined baking sheets. They need to be big enough to hold 30 x 4cm / 1 1/2” diameter shells each.

Mix the ground almonds and powdered sugar (and cocoa powder, if using) together in a bowl, then grind in a food processor until you have an extra fine texture. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor.

Sift into a large bowl (I use a mesh strainer and push the mixture through with a spatula), putting any bigger pieces of almond back into the food processor to re-grind.

Add 50g egg whites and mix thoroughly into the almond mixture. At this point, you can add food colouring or flavouring such as vanilla seeds, citrus zest, essence, if desired. ( I coloured mine violet) Set aside.

In another bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, scrupulously clean and free of any oil or egg yolk, beat the other 50g egg whites to stiff peaks.

Meanwhile, put the granulated sugar and water into a small heavy-based saucepan and heat on medium-low to 118°C / 244°F, without stirring.

While whisking constantly on low speed (to avoid splashing hot syrup), slowly add the cooked sugar mixture to the beaten egg whites, pouring it down the inside edge of the bowl. You’ll get a bit of it hardening on the side of the bowl, but that’s okay – just leave it there.

Whisk at high speed until the mixture is cool, about 3 minutes. About 1 minute before the end, you can add food colouring, if not done at the almond paste stage. The mixture should increase in volume and become firm and shiny, and it should be thick and marshmallowy when you lift the whisk.

Scrape the meringue onto the almond mixture and incorporate with a rubber or silicone spatula. You do actually want to get a lot of the air out of the mixture – you do this by folding and squashing the mixture against the side of the bowl, rotating the bowl a quarter turn with each fold. Be sure to firmly scrape the bottom of the bowl with the spatula, so you don’t leave a layer of almond paste there.

Mix until you have a homogeneous batter that runs from the spatula in a thick ribbon.

Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 7 – 9mm / #10 - #12 plain round tip (this is best done in two batches, so you don’t overfill the bag). Pipe 60 equally sized rounds, about 4cm / 1 1/2” in diameter, in staggered rows onto the prepared sheets. Hold the piping bag upright with the tip just above the sheet and pipe without pulling upwards or swirling in circles, so the batter comes out in a round blob around the tip, and give a little sideways flick at the end to break the stream.

Tap the baking sheet firmly on the bench several times to release air bubbles and obtain a smooth surface. If you have any tips sticking up, press them gently down with a damp fingertip.

Leave the tray to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes until a slight skin forms. If you touch it, it should be only just tacky.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150°C / 300°F / Gas Mark 2.

Bake the macarons in the centre of the oven for 18 minutes (20 minutes if using cocoa in the shells), one sheet at a time, turning the sheet half-way.
Remove from oven and remove the parchment from the tray with the shells still on it and place on a cooling racks for at least 30 minutes, until completely cool, then remove macaron shells carefully from the parchment.
If not filling straight away, store in an airtight container at room temperature, separating layers with parchment. Otherwise, fill and store in an airtight container in the fridge to mature for at least 24 hours before eating.

Brandied Fig and Caramelised Honey Filling (my own adaption of an Adriano Zumbo recipe)

250g dried figs, roughly chopped
50g honey
100g dark chocolate (70%)
50g brandy
65g butter, chopped and softened

Place the figs in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for an hour then drain and puree the figs in a food processor until smooth.
Put the honey in a small pan over a medium heat until it boils and caramelises.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Add the puree of figs, caramelised honey and brandy. Mix well and bring up to 50C.
Add the butter to the chocolate mixture and blitz with a stick blender. Allow to cool. Then pipe generously onto half of the macaron shells and top with remaining shells.
Allow the macarons to rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cardamom Coffee Rolls - A Baker's Odyssey Personal Challenge #37

Growing up in a farming community that was quite multicultural one of my favourite foods was "Finish Bread" or "Coffee Buns". I now know this was Pulla, a wonderfully fragrant Finish bread.  The Finns, like we Italians, had come to the area to make it "good" in the sugar cane industry. My mother swapped recipes with the Finn ladies so pizza became a staple in their homes and "Finnish Bread" in ours. I still have a great fondness for the beautiful spice cardamom and for the gentle Finnish people.

Today I continue my slow journey through A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent. I had baked these delicious buns quite some time ago and have just rediscovered them. So similar to the wonderful bread of my childhood with freshly ground cardamom the key to their beauty. Inside the green cardamom pods you will find brown seeds, crush them to release their fragrance.

I dedicate this post to the amazing Finish people and their families who brought joy into my life.

Cardamom Coffee Rolls


1 c whole milk
1 1/2 c plain flour
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry or instant yeast


1/2 c sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 stick (4 tbsp or 60g) butter, soft and room temperature
1 tsp ground cardamom (slightly more if you use pre-ground)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c plain flour


1/4 c slivered almonds, chopped
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp pearl sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp water, for the egg wash

To begin make the sponge

Heat the milk to between 38C/120F to 55C/130F. Whisk together the flour and yeast then add the milk and whisk until smooth and thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let is rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubles...

... and is bubbly like this.

Scrape the sponge into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar egg, egg yolk, butter, cardamom and salt. Using a flat beater beat on low for a minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes until the dough gathers around the beater and pulls away from the sides. Remove the flat beater and attach the dough hook. Add in the flour and knead on a low speed, scraping the sides if needed. Increase the speed and knead for 5 minutes. It should be soft and elastic.

Sprinkle the dough with a spoonful of flour, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled about 1 1/2 hours.

Scrape the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flip the dough over so both surfaces are coated with flour. Divide the dough into 15 portions. Cover loosely with a cloth and allow to rest for 10 minutes. In the meantime butter a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Now shape each portion into a ball and arrange in the buttered tray. Allow to rise for 1 hour covered with a cloth.

Heat the oven to 190C/375F. Make the topping by combining all the ingredients.

When the rolls have risen brush with egg wash and sprinkle with topping. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until well risen and browned.

These are delicious warm!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Parmesan Crisps

Sometimes I think we complicate life unnecessarily. I've been reading an interesting blog lately - Becoming Minimalist. Some of it is a bit intense but if you take the general idea we do better with less...less stuff. So I have attempted culling some of my "stuff" and buying less. It's not easy and I often think I will need items that I haven't used for years or ever, for that matter. I have a bit of a problem in my pantry...I love to keep it well know, just in case! I love baking and cooking and much of the time I like recipes that require a little bit of skill or complications. 

In the spirit of "becoming minimalist", today I bring you a very simple recipe requiring just one ingredient - Parmesan cheese.  I see this abounds on the web but sometimes we need reminding that even simple is good or even great. These can be whipped up to have with drinks and nibbles or to add crunch and interest to a salad or try adding dried herbs or spices to the cheese. Simple!

Enjoy your weekend!

Parmesan Crisps

Heat the oven to 200C/400F.
Finely grate enough Parmesan cheese. Cover a baking tray with non stick paper or a silicone mat.
Take spoonfuls of  cheese and place piles of cheese onto the baking paper leaving about 3 or 4cm between each. Flatten and spread out the cheese just a little.

Bake in the oven for around 5 minutes but keep and eye on them.
Remove and allow to cool and crisp. If not crispy enough, pop back into the oven for a little longer.

Relax and enjoy!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Jamie Oliver's Tear "N" Share Garlic Bread

 This Sunday in Australia we celebrate Father's Day. Though my dad is no longer with us I celebrate this day for the fathers in my life - my husband and my dear father-in-law, and in memory of my own father. For me it is a day to show our Dads that they are appreciated and loved. Yummy comfort food helps, I think. And what can be more comforting than bread and butter.

This tear and share garlic bread is perfect....soft white bread, fragrant garlic and oodles of butter!

What are we waiting for?

Happy Father's Day.

Tear "N" Share Garlic Bread 

adapted from "Jamie's Comfort Food" by Jamie Oliver

800g bread flour
1 x 7g dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
550ml warm water
100g stale breadcrumbs

6 large cloves garlic, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
125g butter, at room temp (see note)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Note: My preference is for salted butter but Jamie uses unsalted, I will leave that up to you

I make the dough in my stand mixer with the dough hook but you could easily make it by hand. In the bowl of the stand mixer place the flour, yeast and salt. Add the warm water and knead in the stand mixer on low until well combined. Increase speed a little and continue to knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to stand in a warm place until the dough is doubled - about 1 hour. 

In the meantime make your butter. I like to crush the garlic with my mini mortar and pestle with a little bit of salt but you can just use a garlic crusher if you prefer. Mix the garlic with the butter, as much parsley as you want (I like more than Jamie recommended), lemon rind and cayenne pepper.  

Take a large baking tray - mine measured about 25cm x 35 cm - and spread about 1/3 of the butter all over the base and sides, sprinkle with breadcrumbs making sure they get all the way up the sides.

Divide your risen dough into 35 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and arrange in the baking tray. 

Spread the dough with another 1/3 of the butter then allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until almost doubled in size.While you are waiting preheat the oven to 190C/375F.
When ready bake for 30 minutes or until well risen, golden and cooked through.

Hit the buns with the last 1/3 of butter!

Spread the butter well over the hot buns..
...then serve and enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Seed and Nut Loaf with Dates and Dried Cranberries - Daring Bakers' Challenge August 2015

 For the August challenge Susan from The Kiwi Cook dared us to make Seed & Nut Loaf – a super-healthy and gluten-free alternative to standard wheat-based bread.

Gluten free? The word alone brings to my mind strange food and loss. Loss of enjoying a crusty baguette, or a flaky croissant or simply white bread with butter and Vegemite. Loss of traditional pasta dishes so important in my life. Loss of cakes, biscuits and baking I know and love so well. This month we were challenged to bake a gluten free seed and nut loaf by Susan of The Kiwi Cook. Strangely this month my daughter was having tests to check if she was gluten intolerant. While she was waiting for the results I pondered about my future baking should the test come back positive. Anyone who knows me knows my love of baking and of breads. And my family are pivotal in my baking choices. I bake for them. It is part of who I am and what I can give to the ones I love.

So to step into the world of gluten free seems so limiting. It is with this thought that I plunged into the recipe. Could I make it work? Could I love it? Gluten free and all?

The answer is a resounding yes!

This gluten free loaf is bound together not with eggs but with psyllium seed husks which soak up the liquid and act as a binding ingredient. The original recipe was probably more savoury than my version because I wanted to bring in the natural sweetness of dates and orange juice and the bite of cranberries.

During the month I also made an delicious Apricot, Apple and Coconut version, substituting the dates, cranberries and cinnamon for 1/2 cup chopped dried apricot, 1/2 cup chopped dried apple and 1/2 cup desiccated coconut. I used water instead of orange juice but I think coconut milk would be nice. This photo shows the loaf untoasted but toasting definitely adds the finishing touch.

So if you're game, bake this, slice it, toast it and drizzle it with honey...I think you will be pleasantly surprised! Thanks to our host, Susan and my Daring Bakers friends.

GLUTEN-FREE SEED & NUT LOAF with Dates and Dried Cranberries

Makes 1 loaf


1 cup (250 ml) (140 gm) ( 5 oz) sunflower seeds
½ cup (125 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) flax seeds (linseeds)
½ cup (125 ml) (50 gm) (1¾ oz) sliced almonds (or nuts you prefer, I used almonds and macadamias)
1-½ cups (375 ml) (135 gm) (4¾ oz) gluten-free rolled oats
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (20 gm) (¾ oz) sesame seeds
4 tablespoons (60 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) psyllium seed husks (3 tablespoons if using psyllium husk powder)
1/2 cup chopped dried dates
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) fine grain sea salt (it’s fine to reduce this if you prefer)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey, I definitely added more!
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons (45 ml) butter, melted
1-½ cups (375 ml) orange juice, freshly squeezed


In a standard sized silicone, non-stick, or greased and lined loaf pan, combine all the dry ingredients (I find it’s easier and less messy to combine in a large bowl first).

Whisk honey, butter and juice together in a separate bowl.

Add mixture to the dry ingredients and combine until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (while the mixture will be wet, there should be no excess liquid).

Transfer the mixture to the loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Cover the pan lightly with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours or overnight. The mixture should feel very firm to the touch.
Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/ gas mark 4. Then bake bread initially for 20 minutes.

Take the loaf out of the oven, place a wire rack over top and invert to remove the bread (if you’ve lined the loaf tin, you should remove the lining at this point).

Put the now inverted loaf on its wire rack into the oven again and bake for another 30-40 minutes (it should sound hollow when tapped). The loaf should be starting to brown on the outside - this gives a lovely nutty crunch to the finished loaf.
Let the loaf cool completely before slicing.


You can store the loaf in an airtight container (or wrap it in plastic wrap) for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for at least 3 months (it helps to slice it first before freezing so you can enjoy that occasional piece of toast!).

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Yafawi Sfeeha - July 2015 daring bakers' challenge

The July daring Baker's Challenge was brought to us by Manal from Manal's Bites. She introduced us to an authentic Palestinian dish from Jaffa that is served as a main meal along with a bowl of soup of salad. The "Yafawi Sfeeha" or also known as "Milwayeh" which means twisted, is crispy yet tender and full of flavor.

This month we were introduced to an authentic filled pastry from Palestine by our host Manal from Manal's Bites. The tender dough is stretched thinly with ghee then filled, rolled and baked to produce delicious savoury or sweet pastries. First I tackled the meat filling using beef however the recipe require 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses. Checking out the price in the store I found a bottle of pomegranate molasses retailed at AUD$17.00! Eeeeekkkk! But I did find a bottle of pomegranate juice for AUD$4.00 at the supermarket so with the juice in hand I googled and produced my own pomegranate molasses. I'm not sure if I could detect the flavour in the finished pastries but just the look of the sticky, shiny molasses made me feel good!

Next I made Sweet Walnut Sfeeha dusted with sugar. I think they should have been dunked in the sugar syrup because they were a bit dry. Nice with a cup of tea, though!

Many thanks to our host, Manal and please check out more Yafawi Sfeeha here at Daring Bakers'!

Pomagranate Molasses (based on this recipe from Tori Avey)

  • 2 cups pure 100% pomegranate juice (bottled or fresh)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 40mls freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat up over medium until the sauce begins to simmer lightly. Stir to dissolve sugar. Allow the liquid to simmer very lightly for 40 - 60 minutes, stirring every regularly, until the liquid reduces by 75%.
The molasses will be ready when it has a light syrupy consistency and coats the back of a spoon. Don't let it thicken too much, or it will harden into toffee when it cools.
Remove from heat. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.
After the syrup cools completely, store it in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

Isn't it gorgeous?

Yafawi Sfeeha

Servings: 15-18 pieces


To make the dough:

3 cups (750 ml) (420 gm) (15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, scoop flour using cup measure then level
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 ml) powdered milk (you can substitute this with warm milk, you will need less water if using milk)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil
About 1 cup (250 ml) warm water for kneading
Melted ghee (or olive oil) to stretch the dough (ghee gives a great texture and flavor).


1.Mix flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and vegetable oil then start adding the warm water until you get a tender and slightly sticky dough. Kneading will take about 8 min on a stand-up mixer or 12 min by hand. you might need more depending on where you live and the kind of flour you are using).

2.Form the dough into small golf-ball-sized balls. Place on a baking sheet that is very well greased with ghee or olive oil and pour some more (oil or ghee) over dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for few hours at least (or overnight).

3.Prepare filling in the meantime.

Meat filling

1 pound (500 grams) ground beef, lamb or a mix of both
1 medium onion, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Middle Eastern 7 spice blend ( recipe here) or you can just use ½ teaspoon all-spice and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.)
1 teaspoon sumaq (A Middle Eastern deep red colored and sour flavored spice) (or substitute with ¾ teaspoon lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon pepper)
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (see my homemade molasses above)
½ cup (120 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) toasted pine nuts (optional)


In a skillet over medium heat, cook meat until no longer pink and water has evaporated, add onion and cook till it becomes tender (around 3 minutes). Season the mixture and add spices; it will be very fragrant now. Remove off heat and add sumaq and pomegranate molasses. Add toasted pine nuts if using. Let the filling cool completely before stuffing Sfeeha

After you have your filling ready, use some of the ghee to brush a round tray (the surface that you will be working on). Take one piece of dough and using your hands, gently start spreading it as thinly and evenly as possible.

Once that is done fold the upper side to the middle, then fold the opposite side to the middle as well.

Spread your filling in a long line across the dough. Roll like a long tight rope making sure that it is tight enough to ensure no filling escapes.

 Then taking one end start rolling the rope towards the inside in a spiral shape

Put some more ghee on your baking sheet and place the done Sfeeha onto the baking sheet. Continue making the rest of your Sfeeha using ghee to keep it nice and moist.

Preheat oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and bake Sfeeha for 15-20 minutes till golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature with a bowl of soup during winter or a salad and Greek yogurt in summer time.

Sweet Walnut Sfeeha


2 cups (500 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) walnuts, coarsely chopped, (you can use any sort of nut you wish)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ tablespoon orange blossom water
½ tablespoon rose water


Mix all ingredients together and your filling is done.

For serving: Powdered sugar or sugar syrup

Sugar Syrup


2 cups (500 ml) (400 gm) (14 oz) sugar
1½ cup (375 ml) water
Juice of half a lemon
½ tablespoon orange blossom water (optional)


Mix sugar and water over high heat in a stainless steel pot. Don’t stir. Once it comes to a boil stir with a wooden spoon to ensure all sugar is dissolved. Add lemon juice and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Remove off heat and add orange blossom water if using.

Note: Once you have the sweet ones baked and hot pour some cold sugar syrup over them or let them cool off and dust with powdered sugar..

I dusted mine with powdered sugar.