These cookies are often served with coffee or sweet wine for dunking. Mahlepi is a spice ground from the inner seeds of cherrystones; it tastes like bitter almonds. Arab people call it mahlab. You can find it in Greek or Middle Eastern markets.
Place oven rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and place oil, butter, eggs, lemon zest and mahlepi, if using, in the well. Mix with a fork, incorporating flour from the sides. Then knead gently with your hands just until you have a smooth ball of dough; the dough will be quite soft.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat into an 8-inch flattened round. Cut the round into 8 wedges, then cut each wedge into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 6 inches long. Form each rope into a circle by overlapping the ends, or into a loop by twisting the ends together. Place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake, one sheet at a time, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until light golden. Remove to a rack to cool.
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
1 other carbohydrate