Kleicha is the most traditional cookie in Iraq. In the good old days it was made at home in huge amounts, usually baked in the tannour (domed clay oven). Or more conveniently, it was sent to the neighborhood bakery, and then stored in covered wicker baskets.
I remember when my mother used to prepare us for the kleicha day - usually two or three days before the beginning of the religious feast ‘Id. “Making it earlier is risky,” so my mother used to say. “By the time the ‘Id comes not enough kleicha would be left.”
Making these cookies required everybody to pitch in. The dough was usually assembled in a huge bowl called nijana. The method is somewhat similar to that of pie dough, but it requires much more kneading. We youngsters would hang around mesmerized by the whole process, intoxicated by the aromas.
Historically, kleicha may be traced back to the ancient Mesopotamian ‘qullupu’ and the medieval Irneen and khushkananaj cookies.
More on this, with a recipe, in my article “The Iraqi Cookie Kleich, and the Search for Identity,” published in Repast, Fall 2008 vol. xxiv, 4: 4-5).