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