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Biscuit Recipe: Shakarlama

Taghreed's Shakarlama recipe

Discover the recipe for Shakarlama, soft cardamon biscuits, from an Iraqi grandmother's kitchen.

Taghreed moved to the US in 2013 as a refugee after she had to flee extremists in Iraq.


Shakarlama reminds Taghreed of childhood. She vividly recalls her mother whipping up these sweet biscuits, the smell of cardamom flooding the home, as she helped at her side as a child. Whenever she's homesick, it's Sharkarlama that helps to make her feel at home. 

Taghreed moved to the US in 2013 as a refugee after she had to flee extremists in Iraq. Since arriving, she's made Seattle her home and wants her children to have similar warm memories of a house filled with the sweet smell of baking. 

"I called my mum and got the recipe for Shakarlama, I wanted that cardomom smell to fill my new home and fill my heart. I wanted new memories with my children in a place where we feel happy and safe. I can't explain how happy I was that first night I made them in the US." 

Shakarlama recipe

Shakarlama - almond and cardamom biscuits
Photo: Georgian Journal

Preparation and cooking time: 40 minutes. Makes 25 cookies.


1 cup vegetable shortening room temperature 
1 and 1/2 cups superfine sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon whole cardamom, ground blanched almonds for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 180°C (or gas mark 4)

  1. Mix the butter and sugar in a small bowl, using an electric mixer, until light and fluffy (2 minutes).
  2. Blend in the dry ingredients, mixing carefully to incorporate
  3. Using a spoon form the batter into 25 or so small, walnut-size balls
  4. Place each ball onto a baking sheet and use the palm of your hand to flatten each into a round cookie and garnish with a single nut (if desired)
  5. Bake 10–15 minutes, until the biscuits are a very light colour
  6. Allow cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet before removing to a plate


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