Moroccan-Inspired Orange Fennel Seeds Sablé Cookies

Moroccan-Inspired Orange Fennel Seeds Sablé Cookies Copyright ©ShulieMadnick

I rarely bake or buy cookies throughout the year, so it's a real treat to bake and devour cookies once a year in December. Even though we don't celebrate Christmas, I like to join the baking cookies tradition. It is so much fun, and the house smells amazing. 

This year, I was inspired by the reifat, traditional Moroccan anise and sesame cookie. My Tunisian Israeli friend special ordered super-sized jars full of these simple yet addictive cookies from her Moroccan neighbor and I couldn't help but sneaking in one more. The reifat is thin, perforated with a fork or a dough docker cookie, It's made with baking powder and oil and is best dunked in tea, otherwise it's too dry. I wanted to give my all-time favorites, buttery sablé cookies a twist, and a Moroccan-Inspired Orange Fennel Sablé Cookies were born. 
Moroccan-Inspired Orange Fennel Seeds Sablé Cookies Copyright ©ShulieMadnick

Moroccan-Inspired Orange Fennel Seeds Sablé Cookies
makes about 32 


2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (lightly pounded in a mortar and pestle, optional)
A couple of generous pinches salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
Zest of a large orange
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour


Note: For an easier slice and bake option of these cookies see the link to the Lemon Poppy Seed Sable Cookies. 

Add the butter into a Kitchen Aid mixer bowl and beat on a medium speed with a paddle attachment until smooth. Turn to low speed, add the sugars, orange zest, fennel seeds, and salt, and continue beating for about a minute longer. Throughout the process, scrape the edges of the mixer bowl once in a while. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until blended.

Add the flour gradually, in three batches, and keep beating on low for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Use a rubber spatula to mix further if the flour is not entirely incorporated. Process the dough as little as possible. It will still be crumbly when you take it out of the food processor.

Halve the dough and shape each into a 5-6 inch flat square, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. 

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it thaw slightly. Flour the rolling surface and top of the dough and roll out to an over 1/8th - 3/16 of an inch thickness. Form the cookies with a 2 2/8 inch square cookie cutter or desired cookie cutter shape and size. 

Place the cookies on parchment paper-lined cookies sheets and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before baking. 

Pre-heat oven to 350F. 

Bake for 12-13* minutes or until the cookies are slightly golden around the edges at the bottom. 

If rolling out thicker than 3/16 inch cookies and forming larger shaped cookies, bake for several minutes longer, 13-17* minutes, or until the cookies are slightly golden at the bottom.

Let the cookies cool down at room temperature. The cookies will be super soft coming out of the oven but will settle once cooled down.

Once cookies are cooled down at room temperature, store them in an airtight container for at least five days. 

The Orange Fennel Sablé cookies can be baked and frozen in Tupperware. Separate each layer of cookies with parchment paper. They can be kept frozen for up to a month. Let the cookies thaw for a few minutes on the counter before serving.

*Ovens vary so watch the time and the cookies.

More holiday baking:

1 comment:

  1. These sound so different and interesting with the fennel seeds and orange zest. I can only imagine how good they taste.