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.
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!