Dwaz Atay / دواز أتاي
You've been warned, this is the show-off territory in Moroccan Cuisine! Though most of home-made Dwaz Atay recipes are simple, however they are meant to make friends, guests and family members "Wowed" as soon as they take their first bite! So we absolutely want to impress everyone who tastes them, and this is the reason why an authentic Moroccan recipe will focus on the combination of "Great flavour Taste" with "Great-Looking"!
In fact there is no limit to the Moroccan pastry, very talented women use their imagination, baking expertise and effort to come up with new shape, filling, flavour variations and new creations on daily basis to satisfy their family members or their customers. If you live in Morocco, you'll see how new flavoured and shaped Dwaz Atay could be discovered daily, obviously made by women or Pastry Chefs who take pride in using only the freshest and best quality ingredients. So many talented Dwaz Atay makers and such wonderful flavour combinations!
Some say that "Cookies or Desserts or Cakes" are not "good", and considered to be "unhealthy", but frankly, I do believe all cookies and cakes have something special about them which cheers us up and put a smile on our children's face, and this is quite enough for me to make these treats for my three lovely boys whenever I can.
Some Moroccan cookies (Especially Ghriba, Fekkas and Kaab el Ghazal (Cornes de gazelle), carry fond memories of a childhood weekends tea-time. When my mother presented a plate of home-baked Dwaz Atay, we (my brothers and sisters) could stare at these goodies forever! We would examine attentively those lovely cookies at length and at width to choose the biggest one! It was an agonizing choice, who would get the Big Top Ghriba or Corne de gazelle? And I still remember Summer days when Mum and I would amble around all the Souks in our local town Casablanca, and often the sun would force us to retreat and seek shelter in some of our favourite Pastry Shops (called, Mahlaba in Moroccan language or Pâtisserie in French), then, Mum would ask me to choose our snack, and my choice was always the same : Four Kaab Ghzal (Cornes de gazelle), two Ghribas Bahla, and two large glasses of Rayb or Raib, (a very popular yoghurt in Morocco), flavoured with mint. Then, we would go to the basement where there was a small Café for customers to enjoy our goodies, and the fresh smells of Almond/Orange Dwaz Atay, rising from the kitchen bakery above us, were such a delight to the senses, allowing my mind and body to relax, taking me to my dream world of my favourite childhood characters : "One Thousand and One Nights" and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves". Oh my, those smells could bring anyone from the whole Casablanca neighbourhood!
Baking ingredients used in Dwaz Atay:
1-Baking powder = "Khmirat Lhalwa" = خميرة الحلوة
This is a raising agent which is a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. If my recipe mention "1 spoon baking powder", please scrape the excess off the top of the spoon with a knife. You must always respect the quantity used in the recipe, and try to measure accurately the baking powder or you will get disappointing results.
2-Flour = Thin or Farina or "Dgig"= الطحين - فرينة - الدقيق
You can use any type of flour you wish: plain flour, white flour, wheat flour, hard unbleached flour all puprose etc...., however, in Moroccan sweets, white flour is widely used, known by the name "Force" which means "strong white flour".
3-Butter = الزبدة
I do not recommend using margarine in my recipes, if you decide to give them a try. I always use Oudi (Moroccan butter) or REAL butter, and sometimes a mixture of both, since they give better flavour than margarine. I use unsalted butter which I mostly prefer using when making Dwaz Atay, but it is all down to personal taste and preference.
If my recipe indicates using "soft butter", please make sure that the butter is kept at room temperature before starting making the cookies. "Soft butter" does not mean "Melted butter", and if you use melted butter in some of my recipes that require soft butter, this might cause Dwaz Atay to spread too much during baking and lose their shape.