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Mkhabez | Algerian Glazed Almond Cookies { GLUTEN-FREE, GRAIN-FREE }

Deliciously rich and beautifully decorated Mkhabez, a traditional Algerian sweet cake is stunning on any celebratory table.

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Algerian sweets are very elegant and richly delicious. They're sweet and nutty. Really a nice blend of wonderful flavorings: nuts, vanilla, lemon zest, orange blossom water or rose water. Some are dipped in honey syrup, others beautifully iced and decorated with almond paste flowers. There are so many varieties. New amazing designs with stunning colors and delicate decorations keep popping up it seems each season. 

Today, I'd like to share with you on traditional Algerian sweet treat called "Mkhabez", which translates to "breaded". I know it sounds funny since this seems like it would have nothing to do with sweets. But in reality, the "breaded" part refers to the royal icing on top of them. Interestingly enough many Algerian dishes have interesting and colorful names.  

Mkhabez is worthy to be presented itself on the most beautiful tables. It's very chic and deliciously delicate. An Algerian cake that originated in the city of Algiers, Mkhabez are traditionally triangle shaped delights made of almond and covered with a fragrant royal icing glaze and decorated with an almond dragee. M'khabez nowadays can also be made with coconut, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts ... or any generous mix of these + every beautiful decoration imaginable.

Mkhabez, regardless of base and decoration remains one of Algeria's most sought-after Algerian cakes. Bakers never miss an opportunity to prepare them for the feasts of Eid el Fitr Eid el Adha or a special occasion such as a wedding or an engagement.

I like the Mkhabez when it is well perfumed with lemon zest. For the icing I opted for the royal icing glaze that will cover the cake with a very thin layer of glaze very melting in the mouth. I also reduce the amount of sugar in the dough since it will already have the royal icing. 
Back to the recipe. This cookie is very simple: just mix nuts, sugar and the flavor of your choice. Shape, bake for 10 minutes, and voila! All that is left is making the egg white icing and ice the cookies. If you're feeling like you'd like to skip the royal icing, just dust with powdered sugar and voila, you have Makrout el louz.

Below I have given a very flexible "measure" recipe so you can easily adjust the recipe for small or large batches. You just simply use any size cup as your measure. Smaller cup for small batch. And larger for large batches. I have used a standard American measuring cup which by volume is 250g but by weight the almonds are 120g so for this recipe 3 measures was used, which is 360g of ground almonds, skins removed. Using this measuring method is really easy, especially for those who don't have a kitchen scale or special tools like measuring cups. Just remember for every 1 coffee mug measure add 1 large egg. Tea glasses use half an egg. 

๑۞๑ Mkhabez are naturally gluten-free and grain-free. See Kitchen Tips for tips on how to make Vegan and/or Paleo friendly.

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So let's get started with the recipe.


cookies | makes about 25

Deliciously rich and beautifully decorated Mkhabez, a traditional Algerian sweet cake is stunning on any celebratory table. 


Please note:  I have included Imperial and Metric measurements for ease. The measure I use is a 250ml coffee mug. You can use any size measure you want, depending on the amount you want to prepare.

⇥ 1 measure cup = 120g ground almonds

‣ 3 cup measure - 360g ground almonds, skins removed
‣ 1/2 cup - 80g measure sugar
‣ 1 extra large egg (about 60g)
‣ 1 package vanilla sugar  or 2 tsp vanilla essence
‣ zest of 3 lemons
‣ pinch of sea salt
‣ optional: food coloring


‣ 1 egg white

‣ 1 to 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
‣ 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
‣ 1 tsp lemon juice
‣ 1 tsp vegetable oil

‣ decorating:  food coloring, sugar paste or marzipan decorations or toasted whole nuts

‣ corn starch/corn flour/maizena for rolling out

1 - Preheat the oven to 180°C - 350°F.  Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until fragant but not browned. Let the nuts cool before continuing.

2 - Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C - 300°F.

3- In a kitchen machine, mix the sugar and almonds, until you have a fine meal. Add in the food coloring, if using and mix until incorporated. 

4- Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and add the vanilla, salt and lemon zest. 

5- Add the egg slowly, using your hands to mix it in.. It shouldn not be sticky. If you feel that that dough is a bit dry, add a little bit more of another beaten egg, 1 tsp a time. Do this step slowly because this dough will quickly turn wet and sticky and this would make shaping the cookies hard, and even make your cakes fall apart. I usually use an egg that's about 60g. 

6- Take the dough and gently form into a ball, then flatten into a disk. 

7 - Now you can either use the same method to make diamonds as for Makrout OR use cookie cutters to make various shapes. 

↣ Makrout diamonds (as shown in the picture)Cut the dough into 2 and form 2 logs, rolling against the floured work surface. Then cut the dough into diamonds using a knife.
↣ Cookie cut-outsRoll out with a rolling pin the dough on a very lightly floured surface with the corn starch to about 2 cm thickness. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter (any shape would be fine).

8 -  Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon baking pad and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. 

9 - Allow the cookies to cool before icing.

10- Prepare the royal icing by shifting the powdered sugar, getting out any lumps. Whisk the egg white. Then add in the remaining ingredients except the powdered sugar, mix well. 

11 - Gradually add into the powdered sugar until you have the desired constisency. It should be pourable but too not runny.

12 - Dip each cooled cookie into the glaze then allow them to air dry on a rack for at least 30 minutes.

13 - Decorate with toasted whole nuts, dragees, almond paste decorations or even try painting them with food coloring as I did.

    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. Prepare the icing on the day you want to serve them.

    ⇝ These cookies can be easily a day or two made ahead (before you want to serve them)- without the glaze. 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 baked cookies without the glaze. The glaze contains raw egg so should be prepared and consumed within a day.

    Grain-Free  & Diabetic Friendly
    ⇝ These are naturally grain and gluten-free, to be diabetic friendly omit the royal icing glaze. To make this Paleo, make an icing using coconut oil, arrowroot and powdered Stevia.

    Vegan & Vegetarian
    ⇝ Use flax eggs instead of the chicken egg. And omit the egg white in the glaze.

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

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     ➤ This dessert would 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.

     have you ever had any algerian sweet cakes? If so, let us know which ones in the comments below. 


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