Krachel Recipe - Moroccan Sweet Rolls With Anise and Sesame

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Krachel are Moroccan Sweet Rolls with Anise and Sesame. Photo © Christine Benlafquih
  • 45 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 12 to 15 rolls (12-15 servings)
Ratings (9)

Anise seeds, sesame seeds, and orange flower water give these Moroccan sweet rolls their fragrant, characteristic flavor. If you don't care much for anise; either reduce the quantity of anise seed or omit them entirely. Either way, the rolls will still be delicious! In my home, my kids don't like the whole seeds but like the anise flavor, so sometimes I use ground anise instead.

Serve krachel for breakfast or tea time, plain or split and spread with butter, jam, cream cheese, or even peanut butter and jelly.

What You'll Need

  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted or very soft)
  • 2 tablespoons orange flower water
  • egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon golden sesame seeds (for sprinkling on the rolls)

How to Make It

  1. Dissolve the yeast in a few tablespoons of warm water and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt and anise seeds. Add the eggs, the butter, the oil, the orange flower water, the yeast and the milk. Mix to form a very soft, sticky dough.
  3. If you find the dough is too sticky to handle, add the smallest amount of flour necessary to be able to knead the dough. If the dough lacks any stickiness, work in additional warm milk or water a few tablespoons at a time.
  1. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface (or in a stand mixer with a dough hook) for about 10 minutes, or until very smooth. (For the desirable light-textured rolls, it's necessary to have the dough somewhat sticky; you'll find that it becomes much easier to handle after its first rising.)
  2. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn the dough over once to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave the dough to rise until doubled – Usually, this takes about one to one-and-a-half hours, but leave the dough to rise longer if necessary.
  3. After the dough has risen, punch it down, gather it up and turn it over. Cover with the towel and leave for a second rising for about an hour (longer in cool weather), until light and spongy.
  4. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and divide it into 12 to 15 smooth, evenly shaped balls. Place the balls of dough two inches apart on an oiled baking sheet (or a pan lined with parchment paper).
  5. Allow the dough to rest a few minutes, then flatten the balls of dough. Cover the baking sheet with a towel and leave the dough to rise another hour or longer, or until the rolls are very light and puffy.
  6. Preheat an oven to 450 F (230 C). Brush the tops and sides of the rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle the rolls with sesame seeds.
  7. Bake the krachel for 15 to 20 minutes, or until rich golden brown. Transfer the rolls to a rack to cool.

Tips and Storage

  • Be sure that the milk is warm to the touch but not hot. Hot liquids will kill yeast, while cool liquids will not activate it.
  • Be patient with the rising time; the dough is quite rich and may take awhile to rise properly.
  • Rotating the tray from front to back halfway through baking will help ensure even browning.
  • If the rolls aren't well-browned after 20 minutes of baking, place them under a broiler for a minute. Watch the rolls carefully, or they'll burn!
  • Krachel store well in plastic storage bags in the freezer. They can be warmed in the microwave directly from the freezer without drying out. The trick is to avoid making the rolls too hot.
  • If reheating krachel in an oven, enclose the rolls in foil to keep them from becoming hard and dry.
  • To make a lighter, less-rich sweet dough for the krachel, reduce the butter to 4 or 5 tablespoons. You can also reduce the sugar slightly and use only 1 egg. Adjust the amount of liquid as necessary to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.
  • Although not traditional, using Crisco shortening in place of the butter will yield a very light, fluffy roll.
  • Remember to allow for ample rising time, particularly in cooler weather.