Baklawa (baklava in Greek) is the quintessential Middle Eastern dessert. In this version of baklawa, spiced walnuts are nestled between layers of buttery phyllo dough and finished with a heavy hand of delicious honey. The outcome is a blissfully sweet dessert that without fail puts …
Tag: middle eastern sweets
This is my favorite Middle Eastern cookie. It is buttery, doughy, and has just the right sweetness. It is like a cross between a shortbread and sweet bread. And of course, it goes great with tea! I used to love making these with Nana B. …
There is nothing more uniquely synonymous with our Nana Badriya than Lawzena. This one-of-a-kind cookie contains the perfect balance of just four ingredients: ground almonds, whipped egg whites, sugar and cardamom. People come from near and far for a taste of this delicious, chewy, almond cookie and for good reason – it’s tough to find anywhere else. The technique and recipe were passed down to Nana B from her mother and we feel blessed to be able to share it (and a piece of her) with all of you.
I can still smell the cardamom that filled Nana’s kitchen from the time we made 300 cookies for Tamara’s (oldest of the Three T’s) wedding. Each lucky wedding guest walked out with a cookie and recipe in hand, alas!
Lawzena earned the nickname “star cookie” when we were little because of its shape. Our Nana’s hands shaped this cookies into pillowy stars. But you can shape them anyway you want. How about hearts for Valentines Day?
Sending this recipe to you with so much of our love today and everyday.
- 4 cups blanched almonds or almond flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tbsp ground whole cardamom pods*
- 16 slivered almonds, for decor
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Grind cardamom pods.* (see recipe notes below)
- Separate egg whites from egg yolks**. You will not need the yolks for this recipe.
- If using blanched almonds, blend in food processor or blender until finely ground.
- Mix the ground almonds, ground cardamom and sugar in a bowl.
- In a separate clean bowl, add egg whites. With an electric mixer (either a stand or handheld) whip egg whites on medium speed until firm peaks form. This takes about 5-7 minutes.
- Fold the whipped egg whites gently into the ground almond mixture until just combined.
- To shape into stars, take batter out of bowl and roll into a log shape. The width of the log should be about 1.5 inches.
- With a knife, cut log into 1 inch segments.
- Roll each segment into a ball. Then, flatten slightly into a disc shape (about 1/4 inch thick) in your hands***.
- Slightly pinch the center of the disc, thumb on top and index and middle finger on bottom. Keep this hand in place. Now with your other hand, pinch edges 5 times, spaced out evenly to make star shape.
- If desired, in the middle if the cookie insert vertically an almond sliver for decor.
- Place cookies directly on a cookie sheet. No butter or spray is needed on the cookie sheet, the cookies will not stick.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes. The tops of the cookies should be lightly tan. Make sure to not overcook, the texture should be soft and chewy.
- Let cookies cool completely and enjoy!