I am back with a very festive and cultural cookie: coconut kleicha (كليجة جوز الهند)!
Kleicha is undeniably the essence of an Iraqi household. There really is no need to wait for an excuse to make them, as they are fit for all occasions.Serve them to guests for tea, or gather the women of the family and make them in bulk for eid, or distribute them to the poor as goodwill for the sake of the departed; all are fit for kleicha making.
The king of kleicha is without a doubt the date kleicha. That however, does not undermine the ambrosial attributes of other kleichas.
One of these varieties includes this lesser-known and under-valued coconut kleicha.Coconut haters have been known to love this kleicha.
Gently toasted and ever so subtly flavored, this coconut kleicha is a firm winner of so many foodie hearts.
For the dough:
3 cups flour
1 cup milk, warmed
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mahlab, optional
2 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
For the coconut filling:
2 cups flaked coconut, lightly toasted
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp powdered cardamom
3 Tbsp orange blossom
2 egg whites only
1 egg, beaten, for brushing
To make the coconut filling:
Thoroughly combine in a bowl the coconut, sugar, and cardamom.
Stir in well the orange blossom water, then the egg whites
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until needed.
To make the dough,
Using a food processor, stir the the flour, mahlab, salt, to equally distribute.
Whisk the yeast and sugar in half a cup of the warmed milk, set aside for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
Pour the yeast-milk mixture, and the remaining half cup of warm milk, and the melted butter over the flour mixture.
Run the machine until a ball of dough is formed.
Let rest and rise for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 3 balls.
Work with one ball, keeping the others covered.
Roll out the ball of dough onto a large surface to about 3 millimeters thick.
Cut using an inverted espresso cup into circles as close to each other as possible.
Place a teaspoon of coconut paste in the center of each circle.
Fold the dough over the filling to make a half-moon shape.
Press down on the seam, then decoratively fold over to seal.
(Alternatively, seal shut by pressing with a fork.)
Lightly brush the surface of the kheicha with the beaten egg.
Bake in a preheated 360F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, then broil to a golden brown for a minute or two.
Delicious straight out of the oven, or cooled, with a steaming cup of tea.
To freeze, cool completely, place in zip-lock bags, then freeze.
De-frost at room temperature in whatever quantity you want.
Perfect for impromptu guests.