Friday, December 13, 2013

Egyptian Christmas Cookies

 Can you believe that it will be Christmas in less than two week?  Wow, time goes by so fast now!

Last year at this time I posted a recipe for Egyptian petit four cookies that seemed to be a popular post.  So, I thought I would share with you another Egyptian recipe for holiday cookies.  They are called "Sablee", after the French short pastry dough.  I got this recipe from my dear Egyptian friend, Vivian. Here's a copy of the original recipe that's over 37 years old!
 I know you can't read this faded recipe so here's a picture of the ingredients that you will need:
This year I bought the Crisco shortening in the sticks since it's premeasured.  So, it takes one stick of this shortening:
Here's the recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla powder
1 cup shortening
1 T water or less
apricot jam for filling

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl:
Add in the shortening:

Mix the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal:
Add a "little" bit of water - 1 T or less and mix dough just until it holds together:
 Don't mix the dough too much and please don't knead the dough as you want it to be light and fluffy:
This is how the dough will look after it comes together.  Now for the fun part.  Sprinkle your counter with flour and roll out dough until it's about 1/8" in thickness.  Cut with a cookie cutter and place cut out cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.
You will need to make half of the cookies with a cut out in the center of them.  Keep track or how many cookies you need for the bottom and the top. I use a drinking straw to make the center cut out!
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 6 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.

Remove from oven and let cool before putting them together with apricot jam.  Just before serving, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar.
P.S.  This recipe calls for vanilla powder.  I bought some this year at the church bazaar:

 But if you don't have vanilla powder, just blend in some regular vanilla extract.  The vanilla powder gives a lovely scent to the cookies.

Coptic Christians enjoy these cookies for the Christmas and Easter holidays along with petit fours, and bescoot, ghoribeh, and kaak (sorry for the spelling of these last three; they are basically an egg based cookie that is baked in a long shape, a rich butter based cookie and a mahlab flavored buter cookie rolled in powdered sugar). 

I hope you will try this easy recipe.  My local Persian grocery store has them in their bakery case and they call them "French cookies".  They are fun to make and look nice on the cookie plate.

Happy baking and until next time, I wish each of you a holiday, fun filled week!

Happy baking,

P.S.  I almost forgot, please take a minute and visit Handmade Harbour and check out some great craft ideas!


  1. they look delicious!!! many thanks for sharing! x

  2. What pretty cookies and I love the apricot jam in the middle! Stopping by from the Pin It Monday Party.

    1. Thank you Terri for stopping by and reading my blog.

  3. They look lovely. Not completely sure what shortening is, though I do know a song about it!

    1. Oh, sorry about that....shortening is hydrogenated vegetable oil. It is a solid fat that comes in a can. I believe it is like the UK brand Cookeen.

  4. These look so pretty, I'm sure they taste yummy too. I love the old hand written recipe :)

    Jan x

    1. Thank you Jan. I can barely read the recipe myself anymore! I wish you a wonderful holiday.

  5. Oh, yum, yum and they look so pretty too. Many thanks for sharing the recipe with us. Hope you have a good week.

    Jill, Christmas Pie Crafts

    1. Thank you Jill. I wish you too a wonderful, holiday fun week. The holidays will soon be here!

  6. They look delicious, thank you for sharing the recipe.

  7. You are most welcome. I wish you a wonderful Christmas holiday!


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