Immigrant vs. Regional (Food). Holiday Cookies with Tahini and Orange


Writing a post and recipe for holiday cookies to me seems to be pretty much out of space, considering the current situation in Berlin. For two days I’m working on this article now and through writing I try to understand and come to terms with my emotions and thoughts about this dark incident and its consequences. I had written a lot. But, I didn’t click on ‘publish’. I became too personal. And although I know and see everywhere around me how personal stories  (fights in relationship, family problems, details about personal sexual intercourse, naked- but arty- photos etc.)  are nowadays the visa stamp for facebook prominence, I decided rather to drink two Hemingway Sours and listen to Tom Waits with my dearest friend. So, please forgive me, if I spare you from my current desperation and if I don’t offer you a diary note that will make you cry, just like a movie you watched another day and have already forgotten its title. I’ll leave a simple food comment, because food is what I can speak best – with a little help of the ingredients list which I used in this cookies recipe:


1. The cookies we traditionally bake for Christmas don’t come from Europe, United States or England. They probably come from Persia.

2. Tahini, or sesame butter, I used for this recipe comes from Arab culinary tradition.

3. First types of spelt (and spelt flour) have been discovered in West-Georgia (close to Russia).

4. Chocolate into which I dipped the cookies comes from Mexico.

5. First paintings with roses motives are 4000 years old and were discovered in Sumer caves in southern Mesopotamia.

6. Pistachio trees grow in Turkey, Greece, California and Guatemala.

7. Olives came to Greece probably from Syria.

8. Orange was born in China.

9. Botanic homeland of coconut (sugar) are Sunda Islands.

10. Author and recipe developer of this food blog was born in Bosnia and lives in Berlin. She is an immigrant. And she doesn’t give a fuck about political borders. Just like food doesn’t.

Sorry if I screwed your very personal tradition! But, as you can see, immigrants are not our problem! Happy holidays!


Chocolate dipped cookies with tahini and orange

Ingredients (makes aprox. 25 pieces à 5 cm radius):

150 g spelt flour (or white, wholegrain flour)
100 g coconut sugar (or refined brown sugar)
200 g tahini
2 Tsp melted butter, or coconut oil
Juice of 1 orange
Zest of 1 orange
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp natron
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
20 g pistachio, finely chopped
10 g dried rose petals, finely chopped

Chocolate dip:

100 g dark chocolate
1-2 tsp olive or coconut oil


1. In a large mixing bowl, rub together the orange zest and sugar. Add orange juice, melted butter (or coconut oil) and tahini, stirring to combine. You will get a thick mixture.
2. In a separate medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, natron, salt and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the nut mixture and knead everything together with your hands to combine. If your texture is to dry or crumbly add a little bit more of butter or coconut oil. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
4. Form the dough into 25 balls, roughly a level tablespoon’s worth. When all the balls have been made, take a flat-bottomed drinking glass and press the dough into rounds about 5cm across. Bake for 5-7 minutes until just starting to brown on the bottom.
5. Remove cookies from the oven. They will still feel squishy to touch on top, but they solidify as they cool. Let rest out of the oven for about 10 minutes before dipping in chocolate. Dip each cookie half-way in the chocolate, then set back on the cookie sheet to cool. Sprinkle the chocolate half with pistachio and roses. Eat immediately or set the cookies in the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes to solidify the chocolate.

Chocolate dip

1. Set a double boiler (or a glass bowl over a pan filled with water) over low eat. Add the coconut oil. Once the coconut oil is melted stir in the chocolate. Cut off the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Stir the chocolate and coconut oil together until combined. Done!





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