Eat Local

Eid Al-Fitr celebration

At a local sweets shop in Beirut

Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the month of Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims around the world. After thirty days of fasting, Muslims break their fast and celebrate during three days in familial and friends gathering where kids are pampered with new clothes and gifts, or a certain amount of money the “Eidiyah”, and where food has a special share.

On this occasion, people are encouraged to help the poor through “Zakat al-Fitr” or “Al Futra” which is given prior to the Eid to help the less fortunate celebrate.

Knefeh (Source: Pinterest)

Following the morning Eid prayer in mosques, family members gather for breakfast and greet each other by saying “Eid Mubarak” wishing each other a peaceful and prosperous Eid. Knefeh, a traditional dessert made with sweetened melty cheese and covered with sugar syrup Qater, is commonly served on the Eid morning.

Maamoul el Eid by Hanaa’s Cookies (Hanaa Zahreddine)

Traditional Eid food and desserts vary from one country to another and between regions within the same country. Maamoul, mouthwatering cookie filled with a variation of stuffing like pistachios, walnuts and dates, and covered with powdered sugar, and Kaak el Eid are prepared to celebrate Eid in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Palestine. In Yemen people enjoy “Bint al Sahn” a sweet prepared with butter thin layers of dough drizzled with honey and nigella seeds, in Sudan they prepare a traditional Kaak el Eid, while in Somalia a special Eid bread called “Cambaabur” is prepared for breakfast and served with sugar and yogurt.

Yemeni “Bint el Sahn” is savored with a cup of tea (Picture ©

In Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Sheer Khurma which literally translates into “milk with dates” in Persian, is a vermicelli-based pudding prepared especially for Eid al-Fitr and Al-Adha. Its recipe varies depending on the country but it is usually prepared with vermicelli, milk, sugar, dates and sometimes pistachios, almonds, and raisins or dried dates are also added.

“Cambaabur” Somali Eid bread (Picture ©

Other than the delicious desserts prepared during Eid, festive meals are served for either lunch or breakfast. In Lebanon, traditional recipes such as Mouloukhiye, Moughrabiye, Rezz aa Djeij are commonly served. In Morocco, laasida, made from couscous, butter, and honey is usually enjoyed in the Eid morning and Tajine, a slow-cooked stew with meat or chicken, vegetables and dried fruits is served for lunch in Algeria.

Lebanese “Rez aa Djeij” or Chicken with rice




Circassian Holiday Cookies

Circassian cuisine is simple and generally aims to give as much calories as possible with minimal load and raw materials. Flour is an essential component of most Circassian foods. “Laqom” or Circassian cookies are usually served with tea on occasions and serve as snacks while traveling as they maintain their characteristics for many days.

We would like to thank Mrs. Shan Tsai from Jordan, for her contribution.

Preparation time:  5 hours

Total Serving: 100 cookies


4 cups of powdered milk

2 kg of flour

3 eggs

250 g of butter

1.5 kg of sugar

1 tbsp. of instant yeast

1 tsp. of carbonate

Vegetable oil for frying

Preparation steps:

  1. Divide the milk equally into 2 cups of cold milk and 2 cups hot milk
  2. Beat the eggs and add them to the cold milk
  3. In a separate bowl, add the butter to the hot milk
  4. In a glass, mix some warm water with a tablespoon of sugar, then add the yeast
  5. Add the sugar to hot milk and mix until sugar dissolves
  6. In a big bowl, add the hot to the cold milk mixtures and mix well
  7. Gradually add the flour to the mixture while kneading
  8. Leave the dough to rest for 3 hours (the dough bowl can be placed in another container with hot water and covered to keep it warm and to ensure fermentation)
  9. After 3 hours, cut the dough into equal pieces of the desired size and leave to rest for half an hour
  10. Fry the cookies in hot oil
  11. Serve the cookies after sprinkling them with powdered sugar




Holiday Cookies – Kaak el Abbass

This recipe was shared by Mohammad Nehme from Nabatieh, South of Lebanon, according to whom, these cookies have been known for more than 1,400 years when pilgrims used to travel on camels or on foot for a long journey of several months. These cookies were consumed during these long trips as they had a long shelf-life of two to three months. The cookies are called “Abbass cookies” in attribution to Imam Ali son of Al-Imam Al-Hussein, known as ‘Abbass’, who used to prepare a flavorful dough.

Kaak el Abbass cookies sold at a local bakery

These traditional cookies are prepared in South Lebanon on different occasions and holidays, especially during Eid al-Adha and weddings. Traditionally, the cookies are distributed to the poor during Ashura, and women use to gather for kneading and baking. Today, Kaak el-Abbass is still taken as provisions during pilgrimages and prepared during holidays, but its preparation is no longer a traditional process as it used to be. Most people today buy them from local bakeries, and only few families still bake at home.

Total servings: 4 kg of cookies

Preparation time: 40 min and a full day for the dough to rest


2 cups plain flour

2 cups dunst flour (or fine semolina)

2 tbsp. of cookies’ spices (nutmeg, anise, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon)

½ kilo butter

250 ml vegetable oil

250 ml olive oil

2 kg sugar

A dash of vanilla

A dash of backing powder

2 tbsp. of powdered milk

1 ½ tbsp. of yeast

Hot water

Preparation steps:

  1. Mix the flour and dunst with butter and oil
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients
  3. Add hot water and knead to obtain a coherent and soft dough (slightly softer than bread dough)
  4. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 12h
  5. Shape the dough into balls then flatten them
  6. Use special “kaak stamps” to make the traditional impressions
  7. Bake in a pre-heated oven until light golden brown (about 20 – 30 min)

Holiday Cookies – Mashghara, Lebanon

Preparing kaak el Eid in Mashghara

In the village of Mashghara, West Bekaa of Lebanon, Holiday Cookies are called “Akras” or “Krass” أقراص referring to the cookies pieces and the way they are shaped in the palm of the hand. These cookies are usually prepared in every house in Mashgharah during winter time for their high caloric content, but also for “El Fitr” and “Al Adha” Holidays.

This is a family recipe shared by Ms. Nadiya Ibrahim.

Total servings: 120 cookies

Preparation time:  3-4 hours


3 kg of flour

2 kg of semolina

600g of unsalted butter

2 tbsp. of margarine

1 cup of olive oil

2 L of milk

2 Kg of sugar

50g of Kaak Spices (Anise seeds, fennel, cinnamon and cardamom)

100g of nutmeg

50g of dry marjoram leaves

2 tbsp. of yeast

2 tbsp. baking powder

Sesame for decoration

Preparation steps:

 In a big bowl, mix the flour, semolina, nutmeg, yeast and baking powder

  1. Finely pound the marjoram and Kaak spices then add them to the flour mixture
  2. In a cooking pot, boil the milk then add the butter, margarine and sugar and stir well until all the ingredients are well mixed
  3. Leave the milk mixture aside to cool down
  4. Add the olive oil to the flour mixture and stir well then combine it with the milk mixture
  5. Mix all the ingredients and knead well until you get a smooth dough
  6. Form the dough into small balls and press them to obtain a flattened rounded shape. Special wooden or plastic molds are pressed against the flat cookies to make unique impressions
  7. Sprinkle sesame on the cookies and bake in a heated oven (350˚C) for 25mns or until their edges are gold
  8. Dash the warm cookies with liquid milk and leave them to cool. The milk will give the cookies their special texture

Holiday Cookies – Kherbet Qanafar, Lebanon

This recipe of holiday cookies was sent to us by Mrs. Lina Saade from Kherbet Qanafar, a beautiful village in the West Bekaa of Lebanon.  Lina who owns a table d’hote on darb el karam – food trail, is renowned for her cookies baked on wood fire. These cookies which she sells in local shops and serves to her guests all year-round, have been traditionally prepared on special occasions especially on Easter and Palm Sunday or “Chaanineh”.

Total servings: 6 kilos of Kaak

Preparation time: 4-5 hours


3 kg of flour

1.5 kg of sugar

3 cups of vegetable oil

8 cups of fresh cow milk

3 tsp of yeast

3 tsp of baking powder

2 tsp of rose water

1 tsp of “Mahleb”

1 tsp of vanilla powder

1 tsp of grated nutmeg

Sesame for decoration

Preparation steps:

  1. In a cooking pot, heat the fresh milk until boiling point, then add sugar and stir well
  2. When the sugar is well dissolved, add the vegetable oil
  3. In a big bowl, mix the flour, yeast, baking powder, Mahleb, vanilla powder and nutmeg
  4. When the milk cools down gradually add it to the bowl while mixing
  5. Knead well until the dough becomes smooth
  6. Sprinkle the rose water on the dough and leave it to rest for 3 hours
  7. These cookies are usually prepared by shaping the dough into rounded shapes (picture) but yu can also use molds to give them different shapes
  8. Sprinkle sesame on top of the cookies and bake them in a wood oven for about 4 minutes
  9. A gas oven can also be used, but the wood oven gives the cookies their special flavor

Holiday cookies – Chouf, Lebanon

Kaak el Eid – Chouf, Lebanon

Kaak el Eid or Holiday cookies are traditionally prepared in the Chouf mountains of Lebanon during the Adha holiday. Big quantities of cookies are usually prepared and baked.

Total servings: 5 kilos of Kaak

Preparation time:  1:45 hours

We would like to thank our friend Mrs. Hanaa Hamza for sharing her recipe.


2 kg of semolina

1 kg of flour

6 cups of margarine

6 cups of sugar

2 cups of milk powder

1 tsp of crushed clove

1 tsp of “Mahleb”

1 tsp of cardamom powder

1 tsp of musk

3 tsp of baking powder

Roasted sesame for decoration

You can either sprinkle sesame on the cookies or roll the cookies in sesame 🙂

Preparation steps:

  1. In a big bowl, mix the semolina, flour, sugar, milk, clove, Mahleb, cardamom powder, musk and baking powder
  2. Add the margarine when the mixture is homogenous
  3. Mix well until the dough becomes smooth and elastic then set aside for 1 hour to rest
  4. Heat the oven to 180 degrees
  5. Divide the dough into small pieces, then shape them into elongated forms of approximately 10 cm
  6. Shape the fingers into circles by connecting their ends, and sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds
  7. Arrange the cookies on a baking tray
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 min or until slightly gold



Sudanese Holiday Cookies

Holiday Cookies are one of the most important traditional rituals in Sudan. These cookies are prepared on several occasions such as “Eid El Fitr”, Christmas and weddings. During the month of Ramadan, women gather after breaking the fast to prepare the cookies for their families. Children also happily participate by transporting the cookies to the bakeries in the neighborhood to be baked.  Holiday Cookies are made according to each family’s culture and its financial ability; and while some use oil, others use margarine or even butter. Cookies can also be filled using cocoa or dates. Powdered sugar is usually used as a topping.

Sugar powdered Sudanese Holiday cookies ©Pinterest

Special locally made molds are used to give these cookies their unique shape.

We would like to thank our friends from the Organization of Vision for Learning and Community Development – Sudan for sharing this recipe.


4 cups of flour

1 cup of vegetable oil

2 tsp of baking powder

2 tsp of Vanilla or Camphor

¼ tsp of Salt

2 cups of powdered sugar

Preparation steps:

  1. In a skillet, heat the oil
  2. Pour the flour in a big bowl and make a whole in the middle
  3. Add the vanilla and all the other ingredients (except for the powdered sugar)
  4. Mix well until the dough becomes smooth and elastic
  5. Shape the dough using the molds and display on a baking tray previously greased with some oil
  6. Place the tray in a heated oven and bake until the cookies are done
  7. Leave to cool then cover with powdered sugar before serving

In the search of “Kaak el Eid” recipes

The Food Heritage Foundation in collaboration with Karianet, The Knowledge Access in Rural Interconnected Areas Network, is looking for recipes of Kaak el Eid or Holiday Cookies around the Arab world.

Participate in our competition by sharing with us a delicious kaak recipe that characterizes your region.

All you have to do is send:

–       The kaak recipe, including ingredients and preparation method

–       The special occasion when this kaak is prepared

–       Pictures (preferably taken by you)

Every 2 weeks, a recipe will be selected and posted on our social media featuring your name!

Send your recipe to or by Facebook message or


Kaak Khamis

Kaak Khamis or Kaak Helo shaped with a special mold
Kaak Khamis or Kaak Helo shaped with a special mold

According to the Arsali, “kaak khamis” or Thursday cookies also known as sweet cookies (kaak helo) are prepared on Thursday preceding Holy Friday. Although Arsal is Muslim-Sunnite town, the villagers have always celebrated this Holiday with their Christian neighbors in the surrounding villages. “Women gather to prepare kaak together, it is a beautiful social event” says Halima.

The traditional mold used to give kaak khamis its shape
The traditional mold used to give kaak khamis its shape


4 cups of flour

1 cup of powdered milk

2 eggs

1 ½ cup of sugar

200g of butter

1 cup of vegetable oil

1 tsp of vanilla

1 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp of anise, powdered

1 tsp of mahleb

1 tsp of yeast

½ cup of water

Grease the mold and don't press hard on it to avoid the dough from sticking
Grease the mold and don’t press hard on it to avoid the dough from sticking

Preparation Steps:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, milk, butter, baking powder, vegetable oil, vanilla, mahleb and yeast
  2. Add the water gradually while mixing with both hands
  3. Add the flour when the mixture is homogeneous
  4. When the dough becomes smooth and elastic, cover and set aside for 30 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180⁰C (356⁰F)
  6. Divide the dough into several pieces. To make the traditional cookies use the special molds to make imprints on dough disks. If the molds are not available, you can make different shapes such as circles or even braids. When using the mold, brush it with vegetable oil and make sure not to press hard to avoid the dough from sticking
  7. Grease the baking tray with vegetable oil and place on it the cookies
  8. Bake for 15 mns
Arrange the cookies on the tray 2.5 cm apart
Arrange the cookies on the tray 2.5 cm apart

Holiday Cookies

kaakMaking kaak is always a social event for the family members, friends and neighbours to gather during holidays and help each others preparing this traditional dessert.

Holiday cookies or kaak el Eid are baked on special occasions and holidays. Although the recipe and even names differ from one region to another, the taste remains great!

Holiday kaak

Total Servings: 35

Preparation Time: 1 hour


3 ¾ cups of whole-wheat flour

1 ½ cups of white sugar

1 ½ Tbsp. of milk powder

½ tsp of baking powder

1/3 cup of sesame seeds, roasted

¼ tsp of yeast

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp. of butter

½ cup of water

¼ tsp of grounded nutmeg

Holiday kaak2

Preparation Steps:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, milk, nutmeg, baking powder and yeast
  2. Add the butter and olive oil to the flour mixture
  3. Add the water gradually while kneading with both hands. When the dough becomes smooth and elastic, cover with a moisturized cloth and set aside for 30 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180⁰C (356⁰F)
  5. Divide the dough into several pieces, then shape them into identical fingers (elongated forms)
  6. Shape the fingers into circles by connecting the ends, and sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds
  7. Arrange the dough circles in a baking tray
  8. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 30 mns.

Sesame kaak