Anise and Sesame Galettes Recipe

Galettes: My sister Lea’s are the best

Even my mother agrees! And that is saying a lot.

Galettes are a staple at my house in Morocco, and still are at my mother’s house, where all children clamor for them, calling them Maman Biscuit (they lump all her baked goods into this one generic word: biscuit), submitting to the touching drama that precedes the offering and rushing into her outstretched arms to receive it. They are intensely flavored and crunchy, and have a low sugar and fat content:

Galettes are as close to food as to dessert.

I make them with spelt flour and unrefined sugar (evaporated cane juice, available in health food stores, and increasingly available in supermarkets), and often call them lunch. My sister Lea just sent me a batch of hers, made with spelt: Delicious! She said she makes sure she never runs out of them. On her recommendation, I have been sneaking a cup of flax meal into the dough.

On your next visit to bakeries or the shuk in Israel, bakeries in Paris or Montreal, pick up a few perfect galettes, the quintessential Sephardi treat.

Anise: An acquired taste

The reticence is felt only in America. How much proselytizing would it take to make Americans love anise, as we do? Growing up in Morocco, we put in in bread, in cookies, in drinks, in candy and caramels, you name it.  Indian restaurants offer anise seeds with a little sugar by the teaspoon, as a digestive to help put out the fire of curries and chutneys.

We ignored all new drink concoctions, and instead put a few drops of licorice (call Antesite) for a wonderfully refreshing, and totally calorie-free drink. Anyone coming from France or Morocco or Israel, I beg them to PLEASE bring me a little bottle of Antesite. Why is it so hard to get in the US? I’ll bet if enough of us do a little research about it we can have it available: It is very inexpensive and delicious, like move-over-diet-soda-vitamin-water: How can you go wrong?

 

Ingredients

  • 7 cups flour, all purpose, ww pastry or spelt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups sesame seeds
  • ½ cup anise seeds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Optional: 1 cup flax meal

 

  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the first set of ingredients in a bowl. Mix the second of ingredients in another bowl. Combine both mixtures thoroughly. Knead the dough on a countertop just a few minutes, until it feels smooth and elastic.

Roll out part of the mixture on a very lightly floured board, about 1/4 inch thick, an even thickness. It is important that all galettes be an even thickness, or you will make the baking part a real drag. Cut out in squares or any shapes you like. Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Prick each galette all over with a fork: do not neglect this step or they won't look like galettes, and they won't be crunchy. Bake 15 minutes, or a few minutes longer, until golden brown and very crisp. store at room temperature in air-tight tins.

 

 

11 replies
    • Nancy
      Nancy says:

      Hello, I thank you for this recipe I want to try for my son-in-law who was born in Israel and speaks of an anise cookie. We have a store in California called Whole Foods. I called today about anise seeds and they said they have a liquid anise. I think this is what you want and may want to order. Their phone no. is 818-762-5548 and I spoke to a nice gentleman named Eddy. Thank you again :) Nancy

    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Nancy thank you so much for the info. Liquid anise is antesite, Wonderful to know. Could I trouble you to tell me what town it’s in? I will be in Ca all of next week, and may be able to go right in the store and see what goodies they might have. Antesite is my favorite cold drink. all natural and non-caloric too! Nevertheless, in this recipe, what is called for is, just I instructed, anise seeds.

  1. Eileen Wizman
    Eileen Wizman says:

    Levana, Thank you for the advice. Do you have a shortbread cookie recipe that I can try without eggs. Also, would I follow your same recipe for the Galette cookie for adding anise and sesame seeds to put in a shortbead cookie recipe?
    Thank you,
    Eileen

    Reply
  2. Eileen Wizman
    Eileen Wizman says:

    Dear Levana,
    Can the Galette recipe be changed to substitute the eggs to something else? I cannot eat any part of the egg and I love those cookies so much. Please let me know.
    Thank you,
    Eileen Wizman

    Reply
    • Lévana
      Lévana says:

      Eileen. I wouldn’t. I would make a sort of shorbread cookie (no eggs) with lots of anise and sesame seeds, which are the trademark of these galettes.

  3. Levana kirschenbaum
    Levana kirschenbaum says:

    Laurie you are a darling! I’m so glad all the good hard works shows. Order as many copies as you would like from amazon: they are incredibly well priced, and they will make many people happy! Maybe we should have a little cooking gig, your lovely daughter and I: how much fun would that be? Hey, an idea just comes to me: how about coming to my demo this Monday, the two of you? Xoxo

    Reply
  4. laurie tobias cohen
    laurie tobias cohen says:

    Levana, your new cook book is a delight! First of all, its like having a conversation with you – so warm, to the point and down to earth. The recipes are yummy and healthy, and the directions are so accessible, that my teen ager wants to get in on the act as well! The book is a great size, and very user friendly.

    I can’t thank you enough for thinking of me, and I want to purchase another 3 for friends and family.

    Hope to see you soon at Chabad in the Heights,

    Yours,
    Laurie

    Reply

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