Bachkoutou

Hi folks! First of all, a shameless plug. A couple of people mentioned to me that they wouldn’t be averse to the idea of buying a print of some of the photos I took on my road-trip from France to Sweden. I’ve set up a page now here where you can do just that. I’ve teamed up with FotoMoto to offer prints, canvases and cards in pretty much every size imaginable which you can order right from the page so if you like the photos, and want to send one as a card to a friend, or have one on your wall, please go and have a look! :)

On to the recipe though – so what’s a “bachkoutou” I hear you asking? Bachkoutou, sometimes written “bechkoutou” are my newest discovery, and fast making their way up to the top of my list of favourite biscuits. They’re a Tunisian biscuit, traditionally made for Eid, but they can equally be made any time. They’re often made in large batches (and by large I actually mean “huge”) by households, and then taken to a local bakery for baking. As a result, creating a batch of bachkoutou can literally be almost a day’s work, involving several family members, and as such it’s often something reserved for special occasions.

Once at the bakery, they’ll be placed into the giant ovens once all the bread has been baked for the day and baked to perfection. Sadly this kind of baking environment isn’t that easy to recreate at home. As a result, bachkoutou have a tendency to be tricky to perfect. However, my attempts still yielded a delicious, incredibly moreish biscuit, so I hope you’ll take my word for it and give them a try!

Bechkoutou

When my mother-in-law told me that these were her favourite biscuits of all time I will admit I had my misgivings. How could they possibly be that good? I’ll say this as well – once they were baked and I’d had a couple, I still didn’t see what the fuss was about. But then I had a few more. And a few more. And a few more… and then it hit me: this innocent-looking little cookie is actually incredibly good. It’s got crunch, it’s got crispness, it’s not too sweet (in fact it’s not really sweet at all, but has just enough sugar to be awesome!), and if you pair them up with a cup of coffee you can easily wade through a great quantity of them in no time at all.

Bechkoutou

A couple of notes on the creation of these. Nuts, I would say, are required. You don’t have to add them I suppose, but they won’t be the same if you skip them. Conversely, while I used almonds, you can equally use cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts… the choice is yours.

As for the construction of these – they’re often made in a meat grinder. If you have one, and you have a star template for the place where the meat comes out (great accurate terminology there!) then use that and simply grind away, cutting off lengths. If you don’t have one, like me, then you can also manually push the dough through a large, fluted piping nozzle. This is messy and time-consuming, but works in a pinch. You could of course do it the lazy way and just roll out lengths and cut them up. The taste will be just as good, even if they won’t look quite as pretty.

Bachkoutou

Have a great day everyone, and give these a try if you have a chance!

Bachkoutou
Yields 60
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 500g Plain Flour
  2. 180g Sugar
  3. 175ml Sunflower Oil
  4. 175ml Water
  5. 100g Finely Chopped Almonds
  6. 1tbsp Vanilla Sugar
  7. 2tsps Baking Powder
  8. 1tsp Baking Soda
Instructions
  1. Start off by preheating your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (180 fan). Stir together the oil, water, and sugar until well blended.
  2. Mix together the rest of the ingredients (chopped almonds, flour, vanilla sugar, baking powder, and baking soda). Pour in the oil, sugar, and water mixture and mix well to form a dough.
  3. Form the bachkoutou in lengths of about 10cm. The easiest ways are either using a meat grinder with a star output plate, pushing the dough manually through a large piping nozzle, or simply rolling lengths and cutting to size.
  4. Place the lengths onto an oiled baking sheet, allowing a little room for spread between each one, and then bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until a pale golden colour.
  5. Remove, and allow to cool on the tray before enjoying.
Notes
  1. Ovens are finicky beasts. I would recommend only baking a few bachkoutou at a time and cooling them between each batch, until you're able to find the ideal temperature and time combination!
Five Euro Food http://www.fiveeurofood.com/

 

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Charles..I was thinking “Do they also have something like bechkitou in Sweden?” but further on I saw Tunisia so it made sense..lol.

    We call them bechkitou in Morocco..Actually bechkitou is from Biscuits (got lost on its way to the Moroccan dialect)..The Moroccan version does not have baking soda though but comes either with no nuts, or chopped almonds or coconuts..and sometimes we dip one end or both in chocolate..Also, since the meat grinder (equiped with a special tool to get the right shape)was used to make massive batches we also called them Halwat el makina (sweet=halwa, machine= makina)…

    Although they look humble and worthless, I always found them indulging. The best things come in simple shapes and forms:)…

    • says

      Hi Nada, I was quite surprised how “moreish” they were. At first I really didn’t think they were that special at all, but after two or three I was hooked! Would like to try the Moroccan version – it sounds nice!

    • says

      Thanks Maureen, make sure you eat a few first before judging them. At first they may seem a bit un-special, but after a few hopefully you’ll be like me and find them wonderful!

      • says

        I’ve been thinking since I saw the original post and seem to remember seeing something similar in tins of Danish biscuits that one can see on sale in grocery stores at this time of year.

        By the way, is there a trick to grinding raw sliced almonds from the freezer finely? Should I let them come to room temperature? My last attempt to make the frangipane filling I told you about in my last comment on the Normandy pear by resulted in a fairly chunky product regardless of how long I pulsed them.

        • says

          They’re nothing like the Danish butter biscuits. Those are delicious, but much “shorter”, in consistency, and much more greasy. These are almost healthy in comparison :D.

          As for the nuts – I’d definitely let them come to room temperature. Frozen, there’d be too much water inside I think. A lot of places recommend roasting the nuts first to dry them out. I always do that when I make almond nut butter. When you pulse them up you get a lovely coarse blend, then a fine blend, and then you start getting into the paste and butter stages!

        • says

          I’d love to make a batch of these cookies while I still have some almonds left from that 1/2 kg bag of sliced almonds from Costco. The whole almonds are gone through snacking. :) I can use the same cookie press that I used for my churros.

          I bought a BIG star tip but don’t know if it will fit the press so I’d have to use one of those plastic bags, which I suspect aren’t sturdy enough to withstand pushing through the heavy dough.

          Thank you for the advice. Although I don’t want to toast the almonds before grinding them, I can spread them out on a baking sheet and perhaps let them thaw/dry out of a still warm oven that’s been turned off. I was just too impatient to make the filling to wait. :)

  2. says

    There is some thing about the Arabic/ North African style biscuits and they are incredibly moreish. I think its because they are not so sweet, maybe?
    My mother used to have a brass grinder like press with different discs tang she used to make Indian savoury and sweet biscuits. I don’t have it, of course, but I bet I could’ve used it to make these. Like you I will use a piping bag.
    They look wonderful and perfect for dunking in coffee.

    • says

      Hi Nazneen – it’s nice I think because the cookies are usually not so sweet, and then you also have the little cakes which are incredibly sweet, so you end up with a nice balance. Perfect for dipping in coffee, indeed! :D

  3. says

    They sure are beautiful biscuits Charles. I was hoping for a video to see how you made them with the meat grinder, I really didn’t understand it totally. It looks like you got the right temperature and timing for your biscuits, they are perfectly golden. I bet they would be delicious dipped into some chocolate too!

  4. says

    Charles, your road trip photos are gorgeous. That first one looks like a painting. Will there be a description of location on the back of the cards/prints/canvasses? I’m all in favour of individuals promoting their craft — you’ve worked for it, you’ve earned it — plug away! :)

    These biscuits are really appealing to me — great size and so interesting looking too. Delicate and well accomplished effect. (so many delightful tea time treats you’ve been sharing with us lately Charles) I have to take careful note because I want to try them! These ones are beyond my reach (too fussy for my fumbling fingers ;-)) but I’ve got my eye on the havreflarn and you know how much I love the oat biscuits…

    • says

      Hi Kelly, thanks a lot. Unfortunately any prints won’t have a description on the back. The orders are fulfilled directly by the third-party company and I don’t have the option of including such information on the reverse of the prints, but if you ordered anything I’d be happy to write you a description of where it was and so forth if you liked :)

      I think if I had a meat grinder…kind of thing… these would be a lot more fun to make. Pushing them all through a piping nozzle was a bit fiddly :p. I have been sharing rather a lot of cakes recently… Must try and diversify a bit more :p.

  5. says

    Charles, these biscuits do look amazing! They are shaped a lot like Mexican churros, but other than that – completely different. Churros are deep fried and more donut like. They are good, but certainly not good for you. Your biscuits would be much, much better for me and I bet they do taste awesome. Thanks for sharing these and also for sharing all of your pictures. Headed over to check them all out.

    • says

      Hi MJ – I love churros… my word they’re good. I made some… posted them a while back… those didn’t last long, that’s for sure! So good! :D

  6. says

    I had someone gift me a box of cookies from Middle East, and they looked very similar to these…I am wondering if this is what it was. I loved them, not too sweet, and went very well as an evening snack. The pictures are great, Good luck Charles :)

  7. says

    Now I need a meat grinder! I haven’t heard of these but I’ve seen similar biscuits on the shelves of the supermarket or deli – I just didn’t know the name of them. I agree they need the nuts – that would give them a lovely flavour. I’ll look forward to viewing your road-trip images xx

    • says

      Hi Jean – love gingerbread cake. That reminds me, maybe I should bust out my cake pan and make one like I made last year… the Swedish gingerbread cake… mm!

  8. says

    These are one of my favourite treats to have with coffee, although since I moved from Sydney to the beach I haven’t had anywhere to buy them! I will have to try your recipe, thanks for sharing :)

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