Learn to Make Delicious Meshabek on National Bake Cookies Day

By Suzanna U. RSS Wed, December 18, 2019

Here at the Culinary Literacy Center, cookies are a constant – over the years, we’ve offered science-based approaches to the sweet treat; a hands-on opportunity to make and taste a favorite family cookie recipe now in our Special Collections; and an introduction to community building through baking featuring delicious cookie bars made to taste with chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, and rainbow sprinkles, oh my!

We are particularly thrilled to celebrate National Bake Cookies Day today, December 18, by sharing a unique approach that harkens back to the invention of cookies in Southwest Asia in 7th century AD with the cultivation of sugar. Rather than baking, this recipe for meshabek utilizes a fried method to create a funnel cake-like cookie. Meshabek, also known as jalebi or zulbia, is delicious when served cold or warm, accompanied by mint tea.

The following recipe was shared by Samah Alkasab through our collaboration with Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary, and is offered in English and Arabic:



  • ¾ cup fine semolina flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose Flour 
  • 1 Tbsp yogurt 
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch 
  • 1 Tbsp oil 
  • ¼ cup yeast 
  • ¾ cup water 
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Oil for frying - At least three inches in the pan (roughly 4 to 6 cups)



Dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat. Once the mixture is clear, remove it from the heat, stir in a small amount of citric acid and set the mixture aside to come to room temperature. 


Mix the semolina flour, yogurt, yeast, and starch with water and leave the mixture to rest between 30 to 45 minutes. 


Place the batter in a pastry bag. Heat the oil in a deep pan on medium high-heat until it is to temperature. Once the oil is hot enough to fry, pipe the batter directly into the oil making the traditional circular buckle design, or any other design you like. Fry each piece until golden brown. Remove the pieces from the oil to a paper or cloth-covered plate. Coat each piece with sugar syrup and serve. 



٤/٣ كاسة سميد خشن  

٢/١ كاسة طحين ( يفضل ماركة كولد - اختيار الشيف)

١ ملعقة لبن 

١ ملعقة نشاء

١ ملعقة زيت 

٤/١ كاسة صغيرة خميرة 

٤/٣ كاسة ماء 

سكر لعمل القطر ( سكر مع الماء)

زيت للقلي 




خلط  السكر مع الماء


نقوم بعمل القطر (محلول السكر مع الماء) والذي يتم عمله من خلال خلط السكر مع الماء على النار وتحريكه حتى يذوب السكر، ويمكن اضافة القليل من ملح الليمون لجعل المحلول كثيف، بعد ذلك يتم تركه جانبا ليبرد وتعتبر الخطوة الاولى.


ونبدأ بعدها بخلط المواد مع بعضها السميد والطحين والخميرة واللبن والنشاء والماء ونتركه للتخمير مدة تتراوح مابين 30 إلى 45 دقيقة.


 بعدها نقوم بصب المزيج في كيس خاص بعمل المعجنات، ثم تبدأ عملية القلي بضغط الكيس ونعمل الشكل الذي نريده في الزيت وبعد ذلك يضاف فوقه القطر الذي أعددناه مسبقا.


Looking for more connections to history and cookie-making? Join us for a very special hands-on family baking class on January 11, when we’ll be learning more about the origins of writing and make cuneiform tablet-inspired cookies! This program is open to children ages 7 to 12 and their caregivers; tickets are $14 per person and pre-registration is required via Eventbrite. SNAP-eligible participants are provided with a free ticket, with advance communication.

Please call the Culinary Literacy Center at 215-686-5323 to receive one of these reserved tickets. For more information, email kitchen@freelibrary.org

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