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Mahlab, ground

Other names: mahaleb cherry

Mahlab is the small pit of  a wild sour cherry used in Middle Eastern cooking including  breads, cookies, and biscuits. Mahlab is sometimes used in mamool, Lebanese and Syrian cookies.  The ground powder is more the consistency of a fine meal with a bitter flavor and an almond/cherry aftertaste.

Mahlab can be purchased whole (preferred)  and ground in a mortar and pestle or purchase it in ground form.  The essential oils dissipate quickly so the ground product is less desirable thus grinding the whole pits right before use produces the best flavor.
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Substitute for mahlab

Ground fennel or ground cardamom. Chinese almonds (dried apricot kernels)

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