These traditional festive cookies are served during most holiday get-togethers. I recall these tasty sweets at most special occasions growing up. There are many variations to it but I find that using cornstarch makes the cookie delicately melt in your mouth. Some like to add orange blossom to enhance the flavor but I think Araq, a Levantine alcoholic spirit, is a wonderful addition to enrich the cookie’s taste. Traditionally, the cookie is made in an S-shape, but you can find them in different shapes, with various kinds of nuts.

Preparation time

  • 20 minutes

Cooking time

  • 20 minutes


  • 4 pax


  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 tbsp Araq or orange blossom
  • Raw almonds, pistachio or pine nuts to decorate


  • Beat the butter and sugar in a food processor or in a bowl with a hand mixer.
  • Add the Araq and gradually add the flour and cornstarch. Once mixed, gently knead the batter with your hands.
  • Preheat oven to 325F/160C.
  • Line a baking sheet and roll the dough into small balls.
  • Place them equidistant onto a baking sheet, put an almond in the center and gently press into to the ball.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.



Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Tanya knew that Palestine was her symbolic homeland. Always curious about her identity and connecting with her roots, she was eager to strengthen her ties to the Levant and traveled the region, desperate to learn more. It wasn’t until her first trip to Palestine that she became spiritually and emotionally connected.

She studied Political Science and Sociology at the University of Toronto. She then moved to the UAE, supporting numerous NGOs related to children’s welfare in the region. When she had her own family, she created the My Olive Roots platform in the hopes that her children and the Arabs diaspora would have a place to connect, learn and preserve their roots. Tanya enjoys discovering humanist stories and exploring the connection of food and art with culture.

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