Mahleb is used in small quantities to sharpen sweet foods and cakes.
It has been used for centuries in the Middle East and the surrounding areas as a flavoring for baked goods. In Greek American cooking, it is the characteristic flavoring of Christmas cake and pastry recipes. In Greece, it is used in egg-rich yeast cakes and cookies.
In the Arabic Middle East, it is used in ma’amoul scones. In Egypt, powdered mahlab is made into a paste with honey, sesame seeds and nuts, eaten as a dessert or a snack with bread.
In English, mahlab is sometimes spelled mahalab, mahlep, mahaleb, etc.