A few weeks ago my family hosted a Syrian Dinner for World Refugee Day. My husband accidentally forgot the tray of baklava at the market, but thankfully remembered the tray of cookies.
I fell in love with the Barazek Cookies and decided to make my own for a family picnic.
If you are looking for a sweet cookie, this isn’t it. Baklava gets all the attention for its flaky layers saturated with honey. This cookie is satisfying without all the honey. They are easy to make, and depending on whether you like doughy cookies or crunchy you can keep them fuller or flatten them for a crunchier taste, whichever you prefer.
Did people gobble these up at the picnic? No. My daughter’s chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies took center stage. These guys hung around for a few days after, but, that is okay, because I love them. I could imagine my grandfather and his siblings, his parents and generations before sharing the cookie. Much like how my daughter feels when she makes cookies from a family recipe, I felt like I was a part of something bigger than the present. I may not ever know the stories of my family, but I can imagine what it must have been like for them in daily life. Food has a way of connecting us like that.
Food connects us to our past and future without having to leave our kitchens
The recipe I used was from Amira’s Pantry
You’ll see on the blog post that hers are more disc shaped than mine. When I make these again, I will flatten them a little more, but I like doughier cookies, so not too flat!
The pistachios can be hard to stick, so she suggests honey. I found that mine stuck easily, but dripping a little honey over the top was tasty.
The cookie is well known in the Midan area, which is an old neighborhood in Damascus, Syria. (An area well-known for its sweets and pastries.
If you are looking to shake up your cookie baking routine, try these cookies. We here so much about the strife and war in Syria, I think it is easy to lose the narrative of the people who live their or have fled from the area. We start to think of them, not as people, but as victims. A small thing we can do, is learn about their culture and share it with others. One day, the war will end and we can be a part of helping the traditions and stories of the people carry on as they rebuild.
I started this culinary journey, not just to explore my past, but as research for a book I am writing about a woman, much like myself exploring her ancestral roots. If you like this post, sign up to receive updates as I continue to learn about my family history.
Please try this recipe and share your final results in the comments below!
If you are looking for ways to support people in Syria or refugees please visit Preemptive Love Coalition. They are a group that provides, food, clothing, shelter for the casualties of the Civil War. I have supported them through a monthly donation for about two years now. I was not paid to mention. All opinions are mine and mine alone.