Thursday, November 3, 2016

Shakrlama #CooktheBooks #FilltheCookieJar

I am joining up with a new (to me) group this month called Fill the Cookie Jar.  This group is led by Cynthia of Feeding Big who has chosen themes for each month and then invites others to post a cookie recipe that fits the theme on the third Thursday of each month.  You can learn more about it here.

This month's theme is Thanksgiving/Fall.  The possibilities for this theme are endless.  My first thought was to make a spicy cookie like these Pumpkin Spice Cookie Blossoms or Snickerdoodles. But then, I was reading the book selected for Cook the Books and found this recipe for Shakrlama and knew that it was what I wanted to share to introduce myself to this group.

Cook the Books is a fun little group that assigns books bimonthly, chosen by a new host each month. We are invited to read the book and make a recipe that was inspired by said book.  This month our host is Simona of Briciole, who also happens to be one of our fearless leaders in this group.  Simona chose the novel, Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer.   There is still a lot of time to join us if you would like as the deadline for posting on this novel is not until November 30th.  You can read Simona's invitation post  or stop by Cook the Books for more information.


This is a novel about a young girl who is being raised (or raising, as the case may be) by a very needy, self centered and unnurturing mother.  The girl, Lorca, searches for ways to get her mother's approval without success.  Lorca so badly needs to feel something.....anything.....that she, at a very young age, learned to find comfort in pain and is now a young teenage girl who self mutilates every chance she gets.

Lorca, overhearing a conversation between her mother and aunt, goes off in search of a recipe for Masgouf, which her mother described as the best meal she had ever eaten.  Lorca finds the owner of the restaurant where her mother had eaten the Masgouf.  This woman, Victoria, has just lost her husband after a long illness.  She decides to give cooking lessons and her sole student is Lorca. Victoria is suffering guilt from the decision she made, years earlier, to adopt out a child that she had. She now believes that Lorca is the child of the one she gave away years earlier....

I will not give you any spoilers.  I did not love this book but I did not hate it either.  This book made me angry and made me sad.  It made me want to enfold Lorca in a maternal hug and ensure that she knows that she is worthwhile and loveable.

Lorca contacts Victoria after the first cooking lesson and asks to come back, stating her mother is not feeling well and she would like to make her something to help her feel better.  Victoria decides to make a recipe that was a favorite of her husbands, Shakrlama.



I googled Shakrlama and learned that it was an Arabic butter cookie with almonds, pistachios or both. I also found that the author of the book, Jessica Soffer, had printed her recipe for these cookies in the Book Club Cookbook.

I made the recipe just as written by Jessica, using slivered almonds instead of sliced.  They were lovely and a perfect recipe to Fill the Cookie Jar.

You will find the other Fill the Cookie Jar entries following the recipe for these tender, delightful little morsels.  Stay tuned at the end of November when Simona does a round up of all the recipes inspired by Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots.  I am also linking up with Foodies Read 2016.


Shakrlama (Almond Butter Cookies)
courtesy of Jessica Soffer

1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. + 1 t. flour
1/4 t. ground cardamom
1 t. rosewater 
1/4 t. vanilla
pinch salt
48 slivered almonds

Place the butter, sugar, flour, cardamom, rosewater, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Turn to low speed and beat until combined, increase speed and beat until well mixed and a ball is formed.

Divide the ball into 12 equal pieces.  Roll pieces into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Using a glass, dipped in powdered sugar, flatten each ball into a 2" round.  Place 4 slivered almonds on each cookie.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking in a preheated 350*oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  

Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Print Recipe




42 comments:

  1. Mmm, almond cookies are one of my favorite. I make a version with glaze icing. Can't wait to give your recipe a try.

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  2. I love your cookies! They look like little sand dollars.

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    1. That's what I thought too Erin. I may make them for my next post dive party.

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  3. These look lovely! I love that they incorporated rosewater. I have only tried one recipe with it so far and found it way too strong. I'd like to try again and find a way to get just that subtle hint of flavor from it.

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    1. Yes, I've found that you have to use a very light hand.

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  4. These look amazing! They remind me of a sand dollar that you can find at the beautiful beaches in Florida (my home). Living in Maine I don't get to go hunting for them, so I'll settle with these delicious looking cookies. #fillthecookiejar

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    1. Enjoy Tina. It is hard moving away from home. I have never been to Maine but I hear it is beautiful.

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  5. What a great cookie! I've never baked with rosewater before, but, would love to give it a try with these.

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    1. You have to use a very light hand with the rosewater because it is very potent but when used correctly it adds very elegant touch.

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  6. These look amazing, Wendy - I love that you combined the two cooking groups!!

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  7. I love your backstory for this delicious Shakrlama cookie. I've never used rosewater in baking, I would love to give it a try.

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    1. It adds a touch of elegance Joanne but you have to use a very light hand or it will render the dish inedible.

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  8. The first thing I thought when I saw your cookie was that looked like a sand dollar! I will have to try them. I am curious to try baking with rosewater. I bet they have a lovely flavor.

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    1. Rosewater adds a touch of elegance to the cookie, just use a very light hand.

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  9. I don't know that I could read the book, but I could definitely enjoy these cookies. Rose Water and Cardamom oh yummy! Two things I need to use more.

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    1. The book was a little disturbing Audrey but it kept my interest and got me involved....even if that involvement was anger.

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  10. Interesting flavors for a cookie. Something to definitely try!

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  11. The cardamom in these sounds wonderful. They look almost like sand dollar cookies- so cute!

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  12. I've never heard of these before. I love that they look like sand dollars.

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  13. My Mom love cardamom and I must admit, I have never cooked with it. You have given me a reason to try it with this great recipe. Also, I may have to pick up that book! I am so glad you are a part of the Film The Cookie Jar group! See you next month.

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    1. Thanks so much for the invitation Cynthia. I'm going to enjoy this group.

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  14. I can't wait to try these cookies, Wendy. They remind me of sanddollars!

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    1. Yes, that's the popular consensus so I think I will serve them again at my next dive party.

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  15. It seems like no one is very enthusiastic about this book. That's too bad. It sounded like it could be good.

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    1. I didn't hate it Heather and I am not sorry that I read it. It just wasn't a "feel good" story.

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  16. I like the way you describe your reaction to the story, Wendy. I also got angry and sad. Lorca's situation is so difficult! Brava for researching the Shakrlama: they look beautiful! Thank you for contributing to this edition of Cook the Books.

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  17. Those cookies sound delectable, and I've got the rose water, which hasn't been used as yet. Perfect excuse, and the perfect time of year!

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  18. I adore almond anything and these look great! can't wait to try your recipe. Agree with you about the book.

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    1. I might read another of her books and see what I think of it. The cookies were a big hit here.

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  19. These cookies were on my short list for recipes to make for CTB. I like your summation: You didn't hate the book but didn't love it either. That kind of sums it up for me. I loved Soffer's writing style, though.

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    1. I saw that they had made the list Debra...make sure you try them, they are easy and very good.

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