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Krachel Recipe – Moroccan Sweet Rolls with Anise, Sesame and Orange Flower Water

Krachel Recipe – Moroccan Sweet Rolls with Anise, Sesame and Orange Flower Water

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Krachel — also called el gors — are brioche-like Moroccan sweet rolls traditionally flavored with anise seeds, sesame seeds and orange flower water.

The same flavor combination shows up in other Moroccan baked goods such as biscotti-like Moroccan Fekkas and honey-dipped Chebakia.

Krachel are a popular offering at breakfast or tea time, where you’ll find them served plain or alongside butter, jam, cheese, chocolate, and other spreads.

Although we can buy krachel or Moroccan brioche at almost any Moroccan bakery, they’re not always up to standard so we usually make them at home.

You do need to plan ahead a bit since several risings are necessary for the best texture, but overall they’re not a lot of work and your family will thank you.

Not everyone likes the bite or flavor of anise seeds, so feel free to omit them. If you want the characteristic flavor without the actual seeds, use some ground anise instead.

Both anise seeds and sesame seeds are normally incorporated into the dough, but you can simply garnish the rolls with the sesame if that’s your preference.

You can make krachel by adapting your favorite sweet dough or brioche recipe to include the seeds and orange flower water, or follow my version below.  Butter gives the best flavor, but sometimes I substitute shortening as it will yield a lighter, fluffier texture.

The rolls freeze beautifully, so I usually double the recipe so that extras are on hand. Even so, they always disappear quickly.

Please remember to allow time for the dough to rise before and after shaping.

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moroccan sweet rolls in a basket

Moroccan Krachel Recipe - El Gors

Christine Benlafquih | Taste of Maroc
These brioche-like Moroccan sweet rolls are light, fluffy and rich with flavor from anise seeds, sesame seeds and orange flower water.
Start making krachel well in advance of serving because the dough must rise twice before shaping and again once after shaping for best texture. Rising times in the directions are approximate; you may need to allow additional time if your kitchen is cold.
4.91 from 20 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Three Risings + Resting Time (approx.) 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
Course Bread, Breakfast, Tea Time
Cuisine Moroccan
Yield 12 rolls
Calories 306 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp anise seeds
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds - (see note below)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft or melted
  • 3/4 cup (more if needed) warm milk
  • 2 tbsp orange flower water - (see note below)

Egg Wash and Garnish

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds - OR
  • 1 tbsp coarse granulated sugar

Instructions
 

  • Dissolve the yeast in a few tablespoons of warm (not hot) water and set aside to proof for 5 to 10 minutes while you start to make the dough.
  • Measure the flour, sugar, salt, sesame seeds and anise seeds into a large bowl and stir to combine.  
  • Add the proofed yeast to the bowl along with the eggs, butter, milk and orange flower water. Stir to form a very sticky dough. If necessary, add a little milk or flour to get this consistency. 
  • Knead the dough with a stand mixer or by hand until smooth.  It should still be quite sticky, but it will be easier to work with once it has risen.
  • Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and a then a towel, and leave to rise 1 to 2 hours, until very puffy and doubled in bulk.
  • Punch down the dough, turn it over, and leave to rise for another 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Oil a large baking sheet (or line it with parchment paper). Divide the dough into 12 portions and shape each into a smooth ball. Arrange the balls of dough on the baking sheet and leave to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Flatten each ball of dough by patting them down into a disc-shape. Cover with a towel and leave to rise for an hour or longer, until puffy and light. 
  • Preheat your oven to 450° F (230° C). 
  • Make an egg wash by combining the egg and tablespoon of milk. Brush each roll with the egg wash then garnish with sesame seeds and/or coarse sugar.
  • Bake the rolls in the preheated oven until deep golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Midway through baking, rotate your pan(s) front to back (and top to bottom if baking two sheets at a time) for even browning. 
  • Transfer the krachel to a rack to cool completely before storing or freezing.

Notes

  • Golden, unhulled sesame seeds are preferred in Morocco over white unhulled seeds. The rolls shown in the photo were garnished with the unhulled sesame.
  • Orange flower water adds lovely traditional flavor. Please select 100 percent pure orange blossom water and avoid artificially flavored varieties.
  • Instead of proofing the yeast, you can add yeast directly to the dry ingredients and then pour the warm milk on top. This method is fine if you bake frequently with yeast and feel assured that the yeast you have on hand is fresh and active. However, if you rarely bake with yeast or are worried that your yeast may have expired, then proofing it is an important step so that you can be assured that the yeast is active.
  • In either case, be sure that your milk or water is warm but not hot. Hot liquids will kill yeast while cool liquids won't activate it.
  • As with all sweet doughs, try to keep the dough as sticky as possible while kneading as this will yield a lighter-textured roll. 
  • Allow ample rising time for sweet doughs like this one, particularly if your kitchen is cold. If time becomes an issue, you can eliminate the second rising of the dough with a slight compromise in texture.
  • Krachel keep well at room temperature only for a day. Store extras in plastic storage bags in the freezer. They and other sweet rolls can be warmed in the microwave directly from the freezer; just avoid overheating or the rolls will dry out.
  • If reheating krachel in an oven, wrap the rolls in foil to keep them from becoming hard and dry.
  • Although not traditional, using Crisco shortening in place of the butter will yield a very light, fluffy roll. Coconut oil might also work but I haven't tried it. Do not, however, use margarine-like Moroccan versions of shortening.
  • If you try to avoid using refined white flours, you can substitute a little whole wheat flour and/or durum flour for some of the white. You may need to adjust liquids so that the dough has the correct sticky texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1rollCalories: 306kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 7gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 382mgPotassium: 102mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 320IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 2.7mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate obtained from online calculators. Optional ingredients may not be included in the nutritional information.

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About the Author

Christine Benlafquih is Founding Editor at Taste of Maroc and owner of Taste of Casablanca, a food tour and culinary activity business in Casablanca. A long time resident of Morocco, she's written extensively about Moroccan cuisine and culture. She was the Moroccan Food Expert for The Spruce Eats (formerly About.com) from 2008 to 2016.

Recipe Rating




Khadija

Wednesday 9th of June 2021

Truly delicious.. lovely authentic flavour and fluffy and light.. perfect amount of sweetness. Thanks

Christine Benlafquih

Wednesday 9th of June 2021

Thank you, Khadija!

Alex

Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

I have made this recipe for years with great results. I only have whole wheat flour at the moment and can't find a whole wheat version of krachel. Can I substitute the white flour for whole wheat?

Christine Benlafquih

Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Yes, I think you should be fine. You may need to adjust the amount of milk to get the correct texture to the dough (be sure it's soft and at least a little sticky before the first rise) and you might try honey instead of sugar, but that's just for flavor. I've been experimenting quite a bit with whole wheat flour in other Moroccan recipes that traditionally are made with white flour or semolina. For example, lately I've been making meloui using only whole wheat flour, replacing vegetable oil with olive oil for spreading and shaping, and using bran instead of semolina for the laminating process. We are really enjoying the rustic flavor and know that this is a healthier version as well.

Esther

Sunday 29th of November 2020

Thank you for this recipe, they turned out great and taste amazing.

Christine Benlafquih

Sunday 29th of November 2020

Thanks for taking time to rate the recipe! I'm really glad you enjoyed the krachel!

Kawtar

Thursday 20th of February 2020

Thank you for this easy recipe! The Krachels turned out amazing! They’re best paired with butter & jam and a sweet cup of Moroccan tea! Otherwise, I would add another 1/2 cup sugar to eat them plain. Also having the measurements in cups/spoons is much simpler than the metric version. Thanks again!

Alicia

Saturday 11th of January 2020

I forgot to give this recipe the 5 stars in my other comment!

Christine Benlafquih

Saturday 11th of January 2020

Thank you! So glad the krachel turn out well for you.