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Tcherek el Arïane | Algerian Almond filled Crescent Cookies

Tcherek a delicious little almond stuff cookie dating back to the time of the Dey Ramadhan Pacha of  Algiers is a delectable treat for any special occasion table.

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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EDIT: This post has been updated with new photos and reposted due to popularity. 

Tcherek, Kaab el Ghazal or Cornes de Gazalle, in English Horns of the Gazelle is a traditional Algerian cookie from the city of Algiers originating from the time of the el Bey Pacha Algiers. These little cookies are filled with sweet almonds and scented with orange blossom and shaped into horns or crescent which was the symbol of the Turkomen Empire. A shape and cookie that has been adopted into many cuisines worldwide including my own native Hungary (We call our version hókifli)

The basic dough for Tcherek can be used to make several different variations of Tcherek (Tcherek bel  kawkaw - Tcherek with peanuts, Tcherek Masaker - recipe found HERE, Tcherek el Talia ( Icing covered horns), Tcherek m'assel (honeyed horns), but abut also Araïche (starfish), Kaakettes (crowns). All these varations are simply delightfully delicious dainty little cookies. Filled with pulverized almonds made into a paste by adding fragant maz'har (orange blossom water) and sugar. These cookies are a splender on any celebratory table.I will posting the recipes for the others in the future, so stay tuned in for them. 
Old pictures from 2007 just for fun

The style I'm presenting today is Tcherek el Arïane (also spelled/called Charek, Tcharek el Arïane, Tcharek el3aryene, Tcharek el aryane,  is a very old recipe yet in my opinion one of the best Algerian sweets out there.  I'm not sure why it's referred to as naked, since they are dressed up with nuts.  Tcherek el Arïan is a delicious little treat, not too sweet and worth the effort in forming them. 

๑۞๑ This special dessert comes the 17th el Bey Pacha tradition and it gave birth to famously famh ilar North African and Middle Eastern sweets like Qahwa Maâtra, Tamina, and Makrout. In traditional Algerian cooking, they used real honey and real butter for these desserts reserving them only for special occasions, but nowadays economics are made by using margarine and assila which is a sugar suryp.  I prefer to stick to tradition and use clover, acacia or orange blossom honey for a more healthier version.

๑۞๑ If you are using whole raw almonds then grinding them yourself for this cake, then take your raw whole almonds still in their skins and put them in a pot with water. Bring the water up the boil,then turn off the heat. Allow the almonds to cool in the water, then strain the almonds in a colander. Once the almonds are cool to the touch, you can rub the skins right off easily. Now you just lay them out on a clean kitchen towel until they dry. This will take about a day or two, until they completely dry out. Or you could do it faster in an oven.

Traditionally the almonds were pounded in copper mortar and pestles, but now in these modern times such machines as robocoups (food processors) can aid us in easier kitchen work. Now when you are ready to grind the almonds, place the almonds in the machine's bowl, and run the machine for about 2 minutes or until you get a medium crumb, not too fine. It should not be too fine, (as if you were using a coffee grinder) the type referred to as almond flour that are used to make gluten free cakes and also for marzipan (almond paste).

๑۞๑ Traditionally Tcherek el arïane is naked, meaning without powdered sugar or glaze. But I don't like mine "naked" so I sprinkle alittle powdered sugar on top just for the colour contrast. Serve with mint tea or a hot cup of your favorite coffee like this Algiers style coffee!

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So let's get started with the recipe.

KITCHEN TIME 🕓 ACTIVE PREP TIME : 15 -25 min |   INACTIVE PREP TIME : 20 -30 min   |  COOK TIME : 12-14 min 

cookies | makes about 2 dozen

  Tcherek el Arïane 
These almond filled crescent cookies are one of the classic Algiers sweets prepared for special occasions. 


500g - 3 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
‣ 75 - 1/2 cup powdered sugar ( also called confectionary sugar, icing sugar or sucré glace)
‣ 1 large egg
‣ 1/2 tsp baking powder
‣ generous pinch of salt
‣ 250g -1 cup melted, then cooled butter
‣ 2 tsp vanilla or vanilla sugar
‣ 2 TBS of maz'har (orange blossom water) OR optionally replace with milk

‣ 336g - 2 cups ground almonds (with or without the skins)
‣ few drops of almond essence
‣ generous 1 tsp vanilla
‣ ¼ tsp cinnamon
‣ zest of 1 small lemon (optional)
‣ 220g - 1 cup sugar
‣ 1 tsp soft butter
‣ 1 TBS maz'har (orange blossom water)

‣ powdered sugar (optional)
‣ egg wash
‣ ground or chopped, sliced or slivered almonds

1. Sift the dry ingredients flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla  together in a large bowl. In another cream the butter and sugar together, then add the egg until the mixture is creamy. 

2. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture to form a dough. Cover and allow to rest for least 30 minutes.

3. Prepare the filling by grinding the nuts then mixing with the remaining ingredients.

4. Taking about a 1 TBS of the filling form into rough logs. Set aside.

5.  Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 6 1/2 mm - 1/4 inch thick. Cut out triangles of 4 in base and 5.5 in sides, as shown in the picture. You could a large triangle cutter for ease.

6. Place the almond 'logs' on each of the triangles of dough and roll into a crescent shape. Brush the top of the croissants with egg yolk and sprinkle the tops with almonds.

7.Bake in preheated oven at 170°C - 325° F until pale golden 12-15 minutes.

8. Allow to cool, before sprinkling with powdered sugar (optional).

    Make Ahead
    ⇝ The dough can be easily made ahead, chilled or frozen for baking later. Or optionally bake off up to 3 days before your gathering. For optimal freshness and softness bake them 2 day ahead. Store in an air-tight tin or container and optionally sprinkle them with powdered sugar before serving for a nice look.

    ⇝ ⇝ These cookies can be easily a day or two made ahead (before you want to serve them). They get better and softer the next after baking. Storage in a cookie tin or food-safe plastic container. They keep like this on the countertop for 4 days, in the fridge for up to 7 days, although they may get a bit wet depending on the type of fridge you have. And freeze for up to 3 months. But if you'd like to freeze, I'd suggest just freezing the raw dough, then thawing out on the counter, then preparing the cookies from step 3.


    ⇝ These cookies aren't that sweet - just the way I like them. If you would like you can increase the powdered sugar to 3/4 cup -95g for a sweeter cookie.

    I have prepared this cookie with a gluten-free flour for a friend of mine. I'll be posting it in the future. 

    Grain-Free  & Diabetic Friendly
    ⇝ I'm working on a diabetic friendly version of this dessert so stay tuned in for that. 

    Vegan & Vegetarian
    ⇝ Use flax eggs instead of the chicken egg and vegan butter (or 175ml neutral oil) for vegan -vegetarian option.

     CATEGORIES: dessert, quick & easy,   RAMADAN,  eid, algerian sweet

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     ➤ This dessert would go beautifully with Mint Tea or an Algiers style coffee or this date milk.
    ➤ To see other North African sweets, click here.
    ➤ Or get inspired at the Recipe Index.

    which desserts do you like to serve when you have guests over?


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    6. Just made them they look great! Will let you kniw how they tasted :) one thing my pastry was very hard to work withbi had to add alit more rose wstert to stop crumbling any hints on what I might of done wrong?

    7. Hello Teresa. Well the amount of liquid needed can be vary depending on the absorption of your flour. Next time, add more liquid (milk + orange blossome water)

    8. Thanks heni will try adding sone milk as well but yhey tasted amazing! !!!

    9. Salam alikoum! I have done this cake and it is so delicious. thanks for the recipe Heni. everything was easy to do alhamdulilah. my husband and my kid just love it. :)


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