Pecan Baklava with Tahini

The word “baklava” comes from the Arabic word “bokouliyat,” or legumes (a reference to nuts), making this popular dessert one that is often heavily focused on incorporating pounded hazelnuts, pistachios or walnuts, sometimes mixed with rose water, cinnamon or nutmeg, in the center of layers of crispy buttered phyllo pastry. 

Baklava is a crowd-pleaser throughout the Middle East, Greece and Turkey. Every country has its spin on fillings and how it's shaped. Some bake it and cut it into finger-sized diamond shapes with the layers of phyllo dough rising two inches high; some bakers roll it like small tiny cigars; and others make it like a dumpling sack and fill it with cream and pistachios. 

Baklava is a dessert that can be baked in many ways, and it is fun to update and adapt to different crowds. As we hope for Thanksgiving this year around a table with family and friends, our baklava this year will be adapted with pecans to make a pecan baklava with tahini. Pecan is a nut indigenous to North America and one not ordinarily used for baklava filling but for traditional pecan pie during the holidays.


The inclusion of the traditional baklava honey syrup along with tahini will make this dessert a great melange of western and eastern flavors, and a guaranteed holiday crowd favorite. You can buy phyllo dough from any Greek or Arab food store, just be careful to not overexpose it to air as it is paper thin and can dry quickly and crumble like a delicate, old manuscript. You can unroll your phyllo and add a damp kitchen towel or paper towel on top so that it retains some moisture as you’re working with the phyllo and creating your baklava layers. 

It helps to start by prepping the sugar syrup or ‘asal,’ the “honey” that’s used on the baklava so you can have it on hand while preparing the baklava. You can do this and then store in a jar. This will keep for a month in the fridge, so if you feel like you want to go lighter on the syrup, you can keep the remaining syrup for another round of baklava baking. 

Thaw your phyllo pastry a few hours before you start preparing your baklava so that you can be sure it’s easy to work with. When you unroll your phyllo, there will be enough to create layered baklava that when baked, will puff and reveal tens of layers of dough. 

A half-sheet-sized pan (17.25" L x 12.25" W) will help you create a baklava that is well-proportioned and enough for a gathering of 8-10 people to have a nice-sized serving. You’ll have scraps or maybe enough left over to reuse it another time depending on how big the roll of phyllo is. Fold what dough remains in an airtight container and put it in the freezer to reuse again in the future. Join our mailing list to get updates on product launches, recipes and more. Plus, do it because our emails are pretty damm fun!

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Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate with Molasses

Nothing is as comforting as a cup of hot chocolate during a cold day. Hands down, however you feel about milk, hot chocolate evokes childhood memories of holidays with families, winter markets and that moment when you’d get home after school on a cold day and dive into a cup of frothy hot chocolate milk. 

Although most hot chocolate in the market today is ready-made and comes from a box in powder form, it’s possible to make an easy homemade hot chocolate at home. Getting creative with winter drinks can be fun, and we like having options that don’t limit us to caffeinated beverages, especially if its a cold day and you’re clutching a mug of something to sip on all day while working or spending time at home with your family. 

We like the idea of bringing back traditional, thick, syrupy hot chocolate. The kind that makes you swoon with the first sip at the delicious decadence that a few good beans of cocoa can elicit when combined with milk and some sugar. Although hot chocolate powder  from a box can taste good and satisfy that craving for something sweet during a cold day, we prefer something that’s healthier, richer and free of preservatives. 

Our recipe for an easy homemade hot chocolate includes Egyptian molasses, an ingredient that’s consumed during breakfast in the Middle East and touted as having several health benefits With high levels of iron and selenium, molasses is considered an easy home remedy for those suffering from anemia, or for when you’re feeling weak and tired and need a quick and effective pick-me-up. 

For easy homemade hot chocolate with molasses, use the milk that best suits your dietary needs. We like to use coconut milk as a gluten free and dairy free option, but for those that might find the taste of coconut milk too strong, we’d recommend using oat milk. This can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike. Play around with the recipe until you figure out the ratio of molasses and/or sugar that you enjoy the most. For some, the sugar might be too much so feel free to omit the sugar.

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Marble Halvah

Halvah, or halawa as it's called in Arabic-speaking countries, is a confection made from tahini. In Egypt, halawa is a breakfast spread that’s tucked into soft doughy buns. Although it isn’t spreadable owing to its texture, Egyptians love adding dollops of clotted cream to make it hold itself, and thereby an even more decadent breakfast sandwich. Crumbly like sand on your tongue but super sweet and nutty, halvah can be sliced and served to eat on its own or even crumbled like a topping on things like yoghurt or ice cream– wherever you want a pop of nutty flavor. The possibilities with halvah are endless. 

In the United States, halvah has become a popular treat akin to brownie bites or fudge thanks to both its taste and because it’s a great gluten-free dessert option. What’s fun to see is how candy makers and bakeries have gotten creative with halvah. They’ve produced unexpected flavor combinations such as halvah with white chocolate, or halvah with dried fruits or lemon curd. We’ve come up with a combination that’s both a classic but perhaps novel in its own way: halvah with molasses. 

Our recipe for marble halvah takes the concept of a much-favored breakfast dip in Egypt, tahini and molasses, and converts it into a halvah that can be sliced and served as little slices of deliciousness to serve and pass around, perhaps at the end of a dinner with coffee or hot peppermint tea. It can also be a little power bar to eat if you need to skip breakfast, or want to power up before a run. 

The best marble halvah will necessitate the best tahini, and of course we’d recommend using Dukkan Tahini and to flavor it with molasses, we’d recommend Dukkan Molasses.You can use a cooking thermometer to make sure the sugar doesn’t heat up too much in the first step, but it should be easy enough to determine just when all the sugar has dissolved in the water and before it reaches boiling point. Make sure not to overstir your halvah when preparing it, or else it will turn really crumbly and won’t set easily. 

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Jam and Chocolate Truffle Balls

There’s nothing better than a good piece of chocolate to satisfy a sweet craving...or jam and chocolate truffle balls to satisfy a craving for rich, decadent, chocolate. This recipe is similar to an Australian lamington cake, but better because it gets the ratio of mushy chocolate cake to sweet strawberry jam perfectly. 

Lamingtons are somewhat known in the U.K. where people traditionally ate small pieces of cake with tea, a meal that has confused all non-Brits for a century or so. What is tea? A meal before dinner? An afterschool snack for adults? A substitute for supper? We could never understand it, but we know that the Brits are quite serious about their baked goods– and so are the Australians who are known to be the inventors of lamington cakes. The first recipe for lamingtons appeared around 1900, and they have become an Australian dessert thanks to the chef of the British governor Lord Lamington who invented them for the governor’s impromptu guests. 

Lamingtons are a sponge cake filled with strawberry jam and coated in dessicated coconut. They’re sometimes filled with cream and made with a vanilla-based sponge cake. The concept of cake with a jam filling and coated in desiccated coconut surprises people, it’s a bit old fashioned but a very good marriage of flavors.  But, a true crowd-wower is jam and chocolate truffle balls: a riff on lamington made with chocolate pound cake rather than regular vanilla sponge cake and jam. The pound cake gives the dessert a denser texture and flavor, and the fruit of a good strawberry jam helps to cut the chocolate with a different sort of sweet flavor. Add a smattering of crushed hazelnuts to coat the chocolate ball et voila! You have a truffle! 

These are very easy to make and children absolutely adore these bite-sized treats. These are great to serve at childrens’ birthday parties, keep on hand for quick snacks to satisfy a sweet tooth, or to pack in school lunches. They keep well for about 5 days if stored in an air-tight container in the fridge, but we doubt they’ll last that long in anyone’s home! Make these and serve as with all desserts in the Middle East with a strong cup of mint tea. 

Notes: The pound cake can be made a day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until you make your jam and chocolate truffle balls. Make sure that the pound cake has completely cooled before combining it with the other ingredients. Also, don’t be surprised by the addition of cola soda to the batter for the pound cake: cola soda makes a chocolate pound cake moist.

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Dukkah Seasoned Fried Potatoes

In the Middle East, fried potatoes in different shapes and forms are consumed regularly. Whether as french fries served alongside burgers in fast food restaurants, or as homemade potato chips, Middle Easterners really enjoy potatoes and incorporate a lot of fried potatoes in their meals. We’ve come up with dukkah seasoned fried potatoes, a spin on both french fries and battata harra, a great side dish served in many Lebanese restaurants. 

Battata harra is made of potato wedges spiced with chilli pepper, fresh coriander and fresh parsley. It’s amazing how the combination of a few basic ingredients and spices yields an incredibly complex and rich flavor. Coriander is really a magical spice. Used in many dishes across the Middle East either in the form of fresh coriander leaves or as a dry spice, it adds heft to so many dishes such as stews, soups and tagines. To put it on fried potatoes was simply a genius move by the inventor of battata harra! 

We like to think putting Dukkan’s Egyptian Dukkah on fried potatoes is also a smart move. Dukkah is a combination of pounded roasted nuts and spices. Dukkan’s Egyptian Dukkah includes roasted almonds and hazelnuts along with fennel, cumin and sesame, in addition to the gold dust that is crushed coriander seeds. All together on fried potato wedges, we feel that this dish is going to make you experience potatoes like you never have before. 

So long as you have a small dose of patience to make your potato wedges from scratch at home, you’ll come away wondering whether you can ever eat your potatoes any other way again. Dukkah is a crowd-pleaser, even amongst children in Egypt. Although dukkah is usually eaten as a dip with some pita bread, it’s hard to find an ingredient or dish that doesn’t become exponentially better with a dash or two of Dukkan Egyptian Dukkah. 

This recipe works well as a mezze, appetiser, or as a side dish with chicken or grilled meat for lunch, or as a snack while watching the game. It can also be served with a side of labneh if you want to round it out and make it a more substantial meal- just don’t forget to sprinkle a little dukkah on your labneh as well! If you would like to fry this, use a good quality canola oil, otherwise you can make it lighter by placing potato wedges on a baking sheet, and popping them into the oven.

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Homemade Kale Chips with Tahini

With the craze for everything kale and everything healthy in recent years, we’ve come up with a recipe for homemade kale chips with tahini to satisfy your craving for something savory and snack-worthy when bingeing on the latest episode of your favorite series. Are you likely to swap out your favorite potato chips for these? We think so. 

Fresher and tastier than store-bought kale chips, our recipe relies on Dukkan Tahini rather than salt and preservatives to imbue our kale chips with great flavor. Also, because you control the baking of the chips, you can play with the amount of tahini and seasonings as per your personal preference to create your perfect kale chips, and you can experiment to find the perfect crunch of your kale chip by keeping the kale stems or removing the outer part of the leaves from the more fibrous central stem. See what yields the best and most satisfying results for you. 

This recipe essentially relies on a marinade of tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and paprika. You can swap out the paprika for cumin if you prefer. Also, instead of baking the kale to make kale chips, you can boil the kale leaves and dress it with this marinade as if making a spinach side or spinach salad. Just start off with the freshest, crispiest kale and with Dukkan Tahini, you won’t go wrong either way. 

This is a great recipe to prepare with kids. They can help by de-stemming the kale as they are developing their motor skills, or help by marinating the kale by rubbing marinade on the kale. It’s a simple kitchen task but enough to make young children feel useful and that they’re contributing to the efforts of a meal while in the kitchen with their parents. It’s also a great dish to help them start learning about healthy eating options and snack alternatives.

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Beet Dip

Mezzes have become a ritual and much-favored style of eating in recent years. In lieu of heavy dinners, many people now opt for endless rounds of mezze during summer-time parties to be passed around and around. This helps to present many different kinds of dishes, but also makes eating more fun, casual and communal as bowls of dips are passed from person to person. 

Along with standard fare such as hummus, baba ghanouj and labneh, people are getting more inventive with vegetable mezzes as many people turn to a more vegetable-based diet in the Middle East because of global interest in cutting down on meat consumption and in favor of healthier lifestyle choices. Beets are grown easily and in abundance in the Middle East. Most often pickled or made into a beet salad with olive oil and lemon, beets have been encroaching more and more into green leafy salads with herbs and goat cheese on restaurant menus and in peoples’ homes. 

A new favorite mezze for us is pureed beets and tahini. Deep pink in color and surprisingly complex in flavor, beet dip with tahini has a lot of nutritional value owing to the high amounts of folate, potassium, iron and vitamin C in the beets, and the antioxidants found in tahini sauce. This recipe is easy, but takes a bit of time to prepare as it requires the cleaning, boiling and then a period for the beets to cool enough so that you can handle them. Nevertheless, the effort is minimal in return for a nutritious and beautiful mezze that will surely be a crowd pleaser at your next family gathering or game night. 

You can also use this beet dip with tahini as a spread for sandwiches such as cheese or roasted vegetables. Add to whatever or wherever you’d add vegetables or tahini!

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Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini

It’s always nice to have something prepared for vegetarian or vegan guests when throwing a dinner party that’s satiating and delicious. For us, a head of roasted cauliflower with tahini delights meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike– so much so that we make this regularly for adults and childrens both during the winter and summer months.

We drizzle a good amount of Dukkan Tahini on the cauliflower and then sprinkle it with cumin and crushed hazelnuts or almonds. You can even use  Dukkan Egyptian Dukkah which gives you the flavors of fennel, sesame, coriander and cumin seeds along with crushed almonds and hazelnuts. There’s no wrong way to garnish or flavor the roasted cauliflower with tahini, so you can get creative and throw herbs such as parsley or dried fruits such as raisins as well. 


Essentially, this recipe works best with fresh cauliflower. Being cooked whole requires a medium heat and time to get good texture and that satisfying crunch. If made on a grill with coal and fire, it tastes delicious when it acquires some good char on it for smoky flavor. This can also be made in a small home oven, but however you cook it, try to keep it whole so that when presented to your guests or diners, it's both visually appealing and impactful on all senses. If you have a small oven to work with, no worries, the taste is still the same. 

It doesn’t take much prep time, and it can even be made on a barbeque if grilled during the summer. Perhaps have a big knife on hand for the first cut and serving of the cauliflower to make it easier as a big head of cauliflower can be unwieldy at first. Serve it with basmati rice and a green salad. It also goes beautifully as a side with some roast chicken.

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