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Recipe for Kandil Simidi

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

I was drawn to this recipe because I love all things bread and sweets. After doing some research, I discovered that Kandil Simidi is a kind of simit (bread) eaten during the Kandil religious holiday. During the five nights of Kandil, these pastries are baked and offered to friends and family. Its distinct ring shape and toppings of sesame seeds and mahleb interested me. I had not made this recipe before I opened The Turkish Cookbook. As such, I primarily followed the instructions that Halici set out in her recipe, adding a small variation scubas adding nigella seeds along side sesame seeds.

Although mahleb is not common in the United States, it is popular in a number of Middle Eastern countries. Made from the ground seeds of a particular type of cherry, it is often used as a flavoring agent in desserts and can be found in Middle Eastern grocers or online. Since mahleb has quite a potent taste, I suggest using only a small amount in baked goods. If you are unable to find it, an 1/8 teaspoon of almond extract acts as a great substitute.

The other component that might be uncommon in this recipe is nigella seeds, but, because they are one of my favorite ingredients, I felt that they would be a tasty addition to this recipe. Growing up, we added nigella seeds to sandwiches and homemade flatbreads for its oniony taste. Originally, nigella plants blossom annually, and the seeds are harvested from the flower, then dried. Topped on the Kandil Simidi, it creates a savory, herbaceous flavor that cuts through the natural sweetness of the mahleb and sesame seeds.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 4 tablespoons whole milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast

  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1 stick ( 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature, softened

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon mahleb, ground (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 ounce sesame seeds

  • 1 ounce nigella seeds (optional)

Yields: 10

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes


  1. Warm 2 tablespoons of milk and place it in a bowl. Mix in the yeast andsugar. Set aside to proof for 10 minutes, until frothy.

  2. Sift the flour into a bowl, and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast mixture and slowly add the flour and mix until it forms a dough.

  3. Cover the bowl and place in a warm area to rise for 30 minutes.

  4. Place the dough on a working surface. Add the softened butter, eggs, mahleb and salt. Knead for a few minutes until the dough comes together.

  5. Place back in an oiled bowl, cover and allow to proof for 1 hour.

  6. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  7. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each piece until they measure about 6-8 inches in length.

  8. Bring the ends together to make a circle and pinch.

  9. Mix the egg yolk with a little water. Dip each circle into the egg wash, then into the seeds.

  10. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  11. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Find the original recipe here:

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