Sahlab Cookies

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Few years ago I worked in a great restaurant in Tel Aviv as a pastry cook. I enjoyed every second working there, the rush hour service was my favorite time of the day, and I really liked my co-workers – cooks and pastry chefs.

While working there I learned so much, especially because the pastry chef was extremely talented, creative and he taught me everything he knew – from working techniques to creating exciting delicious desserts. One of the most valuable things I got from him was the following recipe for Sahlab cookies.

Sahlab is a unique Mediterranean spice made of orchid leaves and cornstarch. Originally it is used to make a Sahlab drink, which is warm and comforting on cold winter days, but it’s also a great ingredient in desserts.

These Sahlab cookies are one of the best cookies I ever made in my like (and trust me – I baked hundreds of cookies in the past decade). They have the perfect aroma and taste, buttery texture that is crunchy and delicious, and are dotted with pistachios and coconut. Even if you never tried Sahlab before – these cookies are simply delicious and very easy to make.

When David Lebovitz visited Israel a few years ago I spent a few hours meeting him and made him these unique cookies, which he really loved (you can also read about the tahini cookies I made him in his blog post).

Sahlab Cookies

Photo: Natalie Levin

Sahlab Cookies

  • 150 grams (1 cup + 1 tbsp.) all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 40 grams (1/3 cup) ground almonds
  • 100 grams (3/4 cup) sahlab powder
  • 40 grams (1/3 cup) ground pistachio
  • 75 grams (3/4 cup) shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 125 grams (1 stick) cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 30 ml. (2 tbsp.) water
  1. In your food processor mix flour, salt, sugar, ground almonds, sahlab powder, pistachio, coconut and butter until mixture gets crumbly.
  2. Add in the egg yolk and water and continue processing just until dough begins to form.
  3. Create 2-3 rolls of the dough and place it on a baking pan lined with a baking paper.
  4. Chill the rolls in your freezer for about 1-2 hours until firm.
  5. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  6. Slice each roll of dough to roughly 0.5cm thick cookies, and place it on your baking pan.
  7. Bake the cookies for about 11-14 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Cool completely at room temperature before storing.
  • Keep the cookies in a sealed jar for up to 10 days.
  • Instead of pistachio you can use any other nut you like.
  • Sahlab powder can be bought online here (affiliate) or in Mediterranean specialty stores for spices and ingredients.