Watching Hockey in Montreal
Two weeks ago, Ramzi and I flew off to Montreal to visit our kids and family! We had pretty good time and our kids were the experts that showed us the town! We stopped for 2 days in Toronto where we stayed with my sister, brother, sister in law and the kids, then continued back to Montreal!Montreal, a cool city similar to Europe in terms of architecture and Cathedrals, and good restaurants are abundant and diverse; Toronto, a new city with high rise buildings! We were fortunate enough to visit Niagara Falls, everything was white and some sections of the waterfalls were frozen, a breathtaking scene and absolutely beautiful, but I bet that we will have to explore the two cities in the summer, that’s what everyone declared!
We had an unforgettable dinner at my sister’s place in Toronto! Susan, a kind caring loving soul, has prepared a table full of wonderful Lebanese delicacies to welcome us!. Split Lentil Soup, Tabbouleh, Grape leaves and zucchini,baked vegetarian omlette (ejji), frakeh, Malsa and baked chicken drumsticks! And for dessert she baked a huge batch of the Iraqi Kleicha/ Klaicha that turned out phenomenal! The dough is crispy on the outside with a soft date center accented with cardamom flavor! Susan declared that she has tested and tasted loads of kleicha cookies, but this remained her favorite, and it is my new favorite too!
Before depart, Susan packed a tin of kleicha and gave it to me to take to my hotel. I ate the entire batch by myself which wasn’t the best thing to happen to me when it comes to my diet, but it is easy to use vacations as an excuse to go off my diet; we have been invited for dinner at my husband’s family, brother, sisters and nephews and all are great cooks! I simply cherished the rare moments we had togther too! The biggest hurdle is regulating my calorie intake when travelling!
Brief! If you haven’t cooked with dates, I tell you kleicha is a very good start, the end result is so worth it – you will love adding these to your holiday buffet!
They are the perfect cookies to make ahead, and you would happily want to make themagain and again! Thank you so much Susan for the quality time and the cherished memories, and thank you too for the amazing recipe. The morsels are simply sublime!
In a large ceramic or glass bowl, add the flour, salt and cardamom powder. Mix with your hands. Heat the sunflower oil a bit and add to the flour mixture. Mix in the ¾ cup of lukewarm water, and finally add the proofed yeast. Knead the mixture well until you end up with a malleable dough.
Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 11/2 hours.
Pull open the dates and remove the pits using a serrated knife. Roughly cut the dates; add the oil and butter and mix well. Transfer the date mixture to a food processor and blend to get a paste.
Place the each date log over the flattened dough.
Gently close the dough around the date paste, pinching it to seal. Roll the stuffed log back and forth several times to smooth it.
Cut each log about 7-8 portions, then transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
Brush each with the egg mixture.
Sprinkle some sesame seeds on topof each kleciha.
Is there anything more irresistible than these homemade kleisha cookies piping hot from the oven with theircrusty golden exteriors and softa date centers?
Here is the Kleicha recipe:
For the dough:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for the dough
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- A pinch of salt
- ¾ cup lukewarm water
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with a drop of vinegar, to brush the dough before baking
To proof the yeast:
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 6 tablespoons of lukewarm water, to proof the yeast
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, to help activate the yeast
For the filling:
- 1 kg/2lb. 4 oz. dates
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- To proof the yeast: In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast with the lukewarm water and sugar. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes. You will notice a bubbly foam on the surface. This is an indication that your yeast is fresh and not expired
To make the dough:
- In a large ceramic or glass bowl, add the flour, salt and cardamom powder. Mix with your hands.
- Heat the sunflower oil a bit and add to the flour mixture.
- Mix in the ¾ cup of lukewarm water, and finally add the proofed yeast. Knead the mixture well until you end up with a malleable dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 11/2 hours.
For the filling:
- Pull open the dates and remove the pits using a serrated knife. Roughly cut the dates; add the cardamom powder, oil and butter and mix well. Transfer the date mixture to a food processor and blend to get a paste. (You may probably need to do that in batches)
- Divide the date paste into 10 equal portions. Make 10 long logs of the date about 20 cm/ 9 inches long. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside
To put together:
- When the dough has doubled in size, divide it into 10 equal portions. Make a long log with each dough , about 15 cm/6 inches long. Sprinkle some flour on a counter top and stretch it with a rolling pin to a 22 cm/9 inches long.
- Place the each date log over the flattened dough.
- Gently close the dough around the date paste, pinching it to seal.
- Roll the stuffed log back and forth several times to smooth it.
- Cut each log about 7-8 portions, then transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each with the egg.
- Sprinkle some sesame seeds on topof each kleciha.
- Repeat with the other dough and date paste.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°Fand bake for 12-15 minutes or to a golden color. Enjoy!
- Looking for more date recipes, check our Banana and Date Bread with Tahini and Carob Molasses, Date Walnut Bread, Date Cranberry Spiced Cake