I remember so fondly my parents making all the Lebanese desserts over the holidays. Our holiday cookies looked a little different than our friends’ cookies. Ingredients like semolina, farina, phyllo dough were common. The standard chocolate chip cookie wasn’t the norm at my house. Our desserts were special morsels of flavor from the Mediterranean. Flavors that my parents grew up with and began passing on to us!
Both my parents are amazing in the kitchen as many of you already know and holiday time is no exception. They make everything shine. Perfect trays of desserts, every favorite dish you can think of, mezze (or appetizers) to munch on for days, from savory fatayer (savory pies: meat, spinach), hummus, grape leaves and so much more! I am SO thankful I get to go home to spend the holidays with the family! Wouldn’t you??
BatLAWA vs BakLAVA
But dessert, the famous and most delicious desserts: mammoul, numoora, shyreehe and the coveted baklawa. Hands down one of my favorite Lebanese desserts. BakLAWA, similar to the more frequently referred to, bakLAVA is slightly different. Baklawa is also made with thin sheets of phyllo dough + nuts + butter, lots of butter! But some of the differences are in the syrup. The traditional Greek bakLAVA uses a honey based syrup with some additional spices, generally quite sweet. Lebanese baklawa on the otherhand uses a simple syrup mixture scented with orange blossom and rose waters. Batlawa filling is also a little bit lighter than baklava, not as much filling overall and less ingredients. Batlawa is made simply with phyllo dough + butter + walnuts + sugar + orange blossom and rose waters. You can smell a Lebanese dessert miles away, they will generally always contain the lovely orange blossom and rose waters, our signature scents.
While our lovely Lebanese batlawa gets lost in the shuffle, I personally think it is more delicate and frankly, more consumable (that is if you want to eat large copious amounts of it). Just like a chocolate chip cookie with many variations, this is just one of many versions of batlawa or baklava. While these aren’t a traditional cookie, they are definitely bite-sized and even more delicious than any cookie I have tasted. I hope you find yourself this holiday season making memories with your family, baking your favorite desserts with your mom, dad, aunt, uncle or children. And if you find the time, try a new holiday cookie (or dessert) of batlawa, the Lebanese morsel of goodness. As always, I love seeing your creations, tag me on Instagram @CosettesKitchen or post on my Facebook Page.
Happiest of Holidays to you and your loved ones!