There are many spellings for this spice; mahalab, mahleb, mahlebi, mahlepi or mahaleb. More commonly used in Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, mahlab is the powdered pit of the wild black cherry. Mahlab has a floral, almost rose-like flavor combined with a subtle almond nuttiness. As there is a potential for bitterness, use it sparingly, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon to 2 cups of flour in a recipe.Traditionally, mahlab is used to make Greek Easter bread and mamool, a Middle Eastern cookie.
Mahlab is also good in other breads, biscuits, cakes and pastries. As with any new flavor, experimentation is where it’s at. Mahlab could become your new secret ingredient!