Honey pistachio sesame cookies “Barazek”

chef in disguise:pistachio honey sesame cookies

The best books for a man are not always those which the wise  recommend, but often those which meet the peculiar wants, the natural thirst of  his mind, and therefore awaken interest and rivet thought.
William  Ellery Channing

When was the last time you lost yourself in a book? Picked it up and got sucked up into the story and could not put it down? When was the last time you read a book and each time you take your eyes off it to look at the time you find that a couple of hours have gone by? I’ll stop at 12, six hours of sleep should be enough. You look up, its one thirty! Ok ok, I am in trouble already so I might as well finish the chapter. You finally get to bed and its 2.30 in the morning, a voice on your head whispers how on earth am I going to get up in four hours and drive to work? but it is quickly drowned out by recap of the book and highlights you’re reliving in your imagination. You fall asleep with a smile.

A good book is one of life’s greatest joys. A book that makes you lose track of time and better yet, leaves you thinking long after you turn the last page.

I was writing this post yesterday and decided to take a break. I install the kindle app on my phone and think it would be a good idea to read a couple of pages of the hunger games book my best friend sent me,you know, get the feel of the story and the next thing I know it is 2.30 and I HAVE to put it down for worrying I would be too sleepy to drive the next morning!

I will not go into the book today, that is another post for another day but I would love to hear your answer for the question: what is your favorite book? and when was the last time you were so into a story that you simply could not put it down? at the pace I am going I will be through the three books in the series in no time, any suggestions on what I should read next?

barazek cookies with pistachio and sesame

The best way to enjoy a good book is to curl up with a cup of tea, a few cookies and dive in. Barazek  are cookies topped with a thick layer of sesame that is mixed with honey or simple syrup on one side while the other is dotted with pistachios. They are nutty and addictive. You bite into the sesame layer and feel the little sesame seeds crackle and pop then comes the cookie core, buttery and sweet and you finish with the nutty and pleasant taste of the rosy green pistachios.

If you want your barazek cookies to be crunchy, make them thin. The thinner they are the more crisp and crunchy they turn out to be after baking but you will need to reduce the baking time as they will bake faster when they ate thinner. I like them a little on the chewy side so I made my barazek cookies a little thick. Either way they are the perfect combination of texture, color and flavor. Bake these barazek cookies and I promise you will not be disappointed.

barazek cookies with sesame and honey

Honey pistachio sesame cookies “barazek”

Makes 30 cookies

1 cup (200 g) butter softened

1 and 1/4 cups confectionary sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons vinegar

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup pistachio roughly chopped

1 cup sesame seeds

3 tablespoons honey or simple syrup (see notes)

Cream the butter with the sugar until the mix becomes light in color

cream butter and sugar

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until completely incorporated

Add the vanilla and vinegar and beat

Whisk the flour with the baking powder and add it gradually with the salt to the mix and beat untill just incorporated

Do not over mix

Cover the dough and leave it in the fridge to rest for an hour up to overnight


To roll and bake the barazek cookies

Mix the sesame and honey and place it in a plate

place the chopped pistachio in a plate

Line your baking sheet with parchment

Place your oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 180 C

Start by rolling pieces of the dough into walnut size balls

Press the dough ball into the pistachio, flatten it a little

Flip the cookie dough and press it into the sesame honey mix (If you like extra sesame topping, use a spoon to top the cookie with more sesame honey mix and press it into the dough to make sure it sticks)

hoeny sesame cookies

Arrange the cookies on your baking sheet 2 cm apart

barazek cookies

bake for 15-20 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown

Turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes

Take out of the oven and allow to cook on the tray for 5 minutes them transfer to a wire rack and cook completely

Store in an air tight container

barazek cookies with pistachio and sesame


If you find it hard to get the sesame topping to stick to the cookies, you can take a spoonful of the sesame honey topping and press it gently to the top of the cookies instead of pressing the cookies into the sesame

You can make these cookies crunchy by making them thin, the thinner they are the more crisp and crunchy they turn out to be after baking but you will need to reduce the baking time as they will bake faster when they ate thinner. I like them a little on the chewy side so I made mine a little thick

By simple syrup I mean the syrup you make by boiling 2 cups of sugar with 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. You can flavor it with rosewater , cinnamon, orange peel or leave it plain

christmas extravanganza 00

Abeer, one of the most talented cake decoraters, sweetest and most creative bloggers I know asked me to take part in an event she is preparing for Christmas. She asked a few of her favorite bloggers (it is an honor being in that category) to take part in her christmas extravaganza. She asked for a traditional recipe or a new twist on a favorite one and I decided to make these hone sesame cookies for her. Please stop by her blog and check out all the amazing and creative recipes everyone brought

1. Chocolate cranberry skillet cake from Sandra at Sandra’s Easy Cooking

2. Pistachio and cardamom semifreddo with rose cream from Manu at Manu’s Menu

3. Annabelle’s ginger crisps from Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake

4. Chocolate cookies with candied fruit slices from Kate at Diethood

5. Honey pistachio sesame cookies (Barazek) from Sawsan at Chef in Disguise

6. Poppy seed roll (Makowiec) from Raven at Ravienomnoms

7. Stollen from Roxana at Roxana’s Home Baking

8. Cocoa mint shortbread from Tiffany at Comowater

9. Rose syrup chocolate bark from Abeer at Cake whiz

Leave a comment


  1. These look so good I can taste them! I’ve been knitting more than reading lately so I have no book suggestions…

  2. These are lovely – I always like the subtle hint of color that pistachios bring to anything. Beautiful!
    I borrowed my daughter’s copies of The Hunger Games and went through all three books in one weekend. Sometimes books just draw you in like that!

  3. Umm_Rayan

     /  December 12, 2012

    hi is vinegar necessary ingredient ..can i exclude it? as i am allergic to it..i really do want to try this recipe..kindly reply plz

  4. Assalamu alaikum, I love that you posted this recipe. A Syrian friend of my Husband gifted us with a big box full of barazek when he returned from there. They are so addictive it’s unbelievable, I had to give so many away to my husband’s family because I kept popping a few in my mouth whenever I was in the kitchen!!! Shukran!!!

  5. These are some of my very favorite, favorite cookies. I always go to the Middle Eastern market to buy them and now I can make them!!!! Thanks so much for sharing. The mixture of the pistachio and sesame combined with the honey makes these so wonderful. Sawsan, YOU have done it again! MARVELOUS!

  6. I love pistachios! Looks beautiful.

  7. Those cookies look so crunchy and delicious! And I totally know what you mean about getting lost in a good book. I don’t read like I used to, not time with kids and blogging, but I love to reread my Jane Austen classics!

  8. ooooo.. i love the sound of these cookies..Sawsan.. am crazy about sesame.. i love its taste, its texture and the crackle when you bite into it!!! and dont i know about non-stop reading when I have a good book.. Its hell the next morning… but I cant resist a good book!! :)

  9. Gosh, I read all the time. And am always getting lost in books. Or in blogs like yours! Gotta read just one more recipe, you know! ;-) Anyway, it’s cookie season in our household, and these look like a great addition to the long list we bake. Love all the flavors! Good stuff – thanks.

  10. I haven’t had a “literature” book in a long time. Which is a shame. But one book I simply could not put down was “The Seven Ages of Paris”. I tend to like history type books, and this covers the beginnings and major happenings in my favorite city in the world (well, one of). It is a fascinating book….

  11. I know exactly what you mean, Sawsan, I’ve missed my streetcar stop a number of times because I was lost in my book (and had to walk back)! I am into reading murder mysteries and my favourite author for a long time has been Jonathon Kellerman, an American Psychiatrist turned novelist. His books usually have the same protagonists, Alex Dellaware, a child psychiatrist and LAPD detective Milo Sturgis and I love the way that the books continue the development of their friendship and lives. I also like reading John Grisham because his books ring true being a real life lawyer. I don’t love fluff romance books, but was sucked into the 50 Shades series and that made life exciting for the time I read all three ;-) (actually inhaled them during my workouts on the elliptical — not surprisingly my workouts improved during this time).
    This recipe is another testament to why I love blogging, thank you. I am going to try to add it to my ever-growing Christmas baking list, I hope I will have time to make it.

  12. Your cookies really do look good – so beautifully presented too! :D
    I couldn’t choose just one book as my favourite, but a couple of years ago I got completely sucked into a John Irving novel (really thick!) called “Last Night in Twisted River”. It was a true epic and I loved it!

  13. I really MUST try these! I have a THING for sesame seeds;I made sesame chicken yesterday and sesame candy is on my to-do list for the holidays. And I will admit to eating far too m any pistachios last night…hope there are enough for the cookies!

  14. YUM Sawsan. I love barazek. I’d love one right now in fact, with my morning coffee. Mixing honey with the sesame seeds sounds like a great idea.
    PS. Beautiful photos, as always!

  15. That is a beautiful recipe! I know my parents would love these as they are huge fans of sesame so will have to make a batch when I next see them. and I too love reading and often read far too late into the night because I have a good book on the go!

  16. Oh Sawsan, I loooove Barazek. It reminds me of my dad and late winter nights in Egypt :).Thanks for warming my heart with such sweet memories of home, I really miss it.

  17. These are really stunning Sawsan! And I love the versatility “baked into” them! Looks like another one of your delecatables I must try. (can I cop to a particularly lazy moment right now? What I’d Truly like is to sit down to your table, Your tea, and these beautiful little cookies of yours! And a good long talk about life!) x :)

  18. This became one of my favorite cookies when I was introduced to it just a few years ago, but the seeds and pistachios were combined. I like your description of: “You bite into the sesame layer and feel the little sesame seeds crackle and pop then comes the cookie core, buttery and sweet and you finish with the nutty and pleasant taste of the rosy green pistachios.” I will definitely try to remember to make them that way next time. :)

  19. Wow, this looks wonderful. I need to find sesame seeds in bulk!

  20. Anonymous

     /  December 13, 2012

    What a lovely nutty treat, Sawsan. I think the pistachios by themselves are enough for my taste though the sesame seed coating does make them even more special.

    I treated myself to 2 Silpats last month (saw them in your picture above and was reminded of it) and am looking forward to seeing how my cookie baking is affected in the future as I usually use parchment paper … though the spritz cookies I made a few days ago didn’t need them.

  21. I am smiling because I read The Hunger Games books (all 3) in just over a week! I will have to email you some of my recommendations because I always have a book on the go for reading on the subway (tonight I missed my stop because I was at the end of a good book). Now about those cookies…they look amazing. Did your daughter help with the rolling???? The girls helped me make ma amools on the weekend and they loved them!

  22. I have to always have a book on the go or I feel bereft in some way. I know exactly what you are saying but there are so few books out there that capture me that way. But The Hunger Games certainly did. It was unputdownable. I also loved the second one but not so much the last one – far too dark.

  23. Sahar

     /  December 13, 2012

    :)… I always wanted to learn how to make Barazek but, only the thought of making them has intimidate me. Now, when I look at this recipe, I see that I can make it, it’s so easy and I will try it… Smile smile… Thanks for sharing it with us.
    The photo is awesome.

  24. mjskit

     /  December 13, 2012

    I’m reading Ken Follett’s Winter of the World and was reading it at 2 am this morning! I might as well have stayed up until 3 reading because when I went to bed I was still thinking about it! It’s the second of the series and the first book (Fall of Giants) was just a good. I LOVE getting sucked into a good book! You’re right – a cup of tea and plate of cookies is a great accompaniment to reading a good book. I’ve never heard of barazek cookies. They look quite different from any cookies I’ve had, but best of all – they look delicious! I love the topping of sesame seed and honey! I love these!

  25. I am not a huge honey fan, but the flavored simple syrup sounds wonderful. And I love the contrasting textures. Pinning! And the answer to your question is quite often, I never get enough sleep, and I don’t think I have a favorite book. That would be too hard. :)

  26. these are beautiful! My dad loves biscuits with nuts, so I think I might make some for him when i go to visit :)

  27. It’s been almost 3 years since I read a book. Ever since my youngest was born I feel like I just don’t have the time. Before he was born I was always reading something…do miss it and hope to get back into it soon.

    These cookies look delicious. I had them once at a friend’s house for the very first time and we really enjoyed them!

  28. miriam

     /  December 14, 2012

    hi great cookies..but still waiting kaek bil zaet and kaft bil tahineh..us measurements please!

    • Hello Miriam
      The kaek bil zaet is coming very soon. I am sorry for the delay but my daughter has her final exams and that is keeping me very busy. As for the kafta, I have not forgotten about it, in fact I have made it so many times to post it for you but the problem is I can’t take a single decent picture of it! for some reason I am unable to style and photograph kafta lol
      I can email you the recipe if you want, measurements and all but no picture so far.again I am really sorry for the delay

  29. These cookies sound wonderful, Sawsan. The honey, sesame seeds and pistachio nuts offering a little something for everyone. Great tip, too, about how the thickness will affect the cookie’s crispiness. This is true for many cookies and novice cooks will appreciate the helpful hint.

  30. My favorite nut and seeds in one bite, love them.

  31. miriam

     /  December 14, 2012

    I totally understand… Im sure it is hard to photograph well .. your photographs are always so lovely.. ty for your offer to email the recipe but i dont want to impose just wanted to kindly remind you in case you had forgotten…patiently waiting!

  32. Nami | Just One Cookbook

     /  December 15, 2012

    I made sesame cookies last week too! I grew up eating sesame seeds as in sweets, and I already know these cookies are super delicious. That nutty flavor to me is really addictive and hard to control! Love the pistachio. I need to remember this recipe next time!

  33. Suggestions on what to read next… wow, well – it entirely depends what you’re in to. I recently read this on Kindle. It’s free because it’s so old, but it’s basically someone’s written diary of his voyage up through Sweden and Lapland in the winter of 18… 1870 or something. Really fascinating, but perhaps especially for me because I’m familiar with some of the places he visits.

    Beautiful cookies Sawsan… another thing to add to my list, but first… “maamoul”! (Now that I can!) – I’ll be doing them tomorrow :D

  34. Delightfully crispy cookies and love the bright green pistachios and sesame seeds. I have joined a book club and love to read at night before going to sleep. “The ship of Brides” by Jo Jo Moyes was one of the last books I enjoyed.

  35. I read three trilogies this summer which was probably the most I have ever read at any given point of my life. Each was the same – couldn’t put them down. The Hunger Games was by far the ones that I really had the hardest time putting down. Read them all in record time (at least for me). These cookies look very tasty and just so pretty. You really do have a knack for making beautiful dishes Sawsan. :)

  36. These cookies look delectable!!! Great combination of pistachios and sesame

  37. thanks alot for bringing these cookies to my extravaganza hun. they were a great addition and they are so different. i have never had a cookie with so many fabulous ingredients combined together. and your pictures… WOW! they are stunning!

  38. What marvelous cookies!!! I love that they are coated in sesame seeds….mmmmm. PS…I loved the last book I read for my book club…I was hooked! It was called the Art of Fielding.

  39. What an absolutely great way to use sesame seeds! And so nice to participate in this round up with you! :D

  40. Sawsan, I am going to make these as soon as I get a chance! These cookies will be a new favorite around here… beautiful!

  41. flavorsofthesun

     /  December 23, 2012

    I thought I just commented on this post, but it seems to have gone astray. What a lovely roundup, especially the lovely recipe for your Mum’s cookies, which look great–plus they have a fun story behind them. I sincerely hope you have loving, peace-filled holidays–and good health as well.

  42. jenn

     /  January 1, 2013

    I’ve been looking for this recipe for decades! When I was younger, a friend of mine brought them back from Syria. Not being Arabic, I did not know what they were called. They were so yummy, I haven’t forgotten them in 20 years. Thanks for the recipe.

  43. So wonderful blog, so beautiful pictures…

  44. Barazek! All of my love on a plate. Shukran so very much for the recipe, I’ve been after a good once for a long time now. Will be trying these as soon as I can! :)

  45. Anonymous

     /  April 17, 2013

    hello mrs sawsan. bil sodfe fitet 3ala maw2a3ik w yay! chi bicha7e w khsouse hal barazek. ya3tik l 3afie. pls can u inform me 1 cup = .how many grms? thank u w ne7na 2akletik ra7 ykhalou l dehke 3ala wjouhna :)

  46. I was completely thrilled by IQ84 by Murakami. Amazing plot and wonderfully written, I couldn’t get away from it! I just had to finish it as if my life depended on that! More recently, I loved The Game of Thrones book, it did to me exactly what you described! :-)

  47. Anonymous

     /  June 4, 2013

    Read The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo trilogy. You will loooove them.

  48. Jerry

     /  June 8, 2013

    Would it be okay, or maybe even better, to use ghee in place of the butter?

  49. Shoghig

     /  November 18, 2013

    Thank you very much for the wonderful recipe. I tried it and it was easy to follow the instructions and very tasty. My husband and guests liked it.

  50. takes22no1@live.com

     /  October 13, 2014

    barazi are my favorite and i tried your recipe b/c it is so different from the one i use. yours are delicious and i learned much, but at various points i even questioned if you had anyone try out your recipe as you wrote it because frankly mine look so different from yours i even cross-checked to see if they were your photos, and to see if other recipes you share have the same counters, etc. i mean, in one of your photos there is what might even be rolling pin, even though you don’t use one (my regular recipe does). they are certainly your photos but ultimately my trial turned out way way different. others chime in that they are grateful for your recipe so, again, i have to give benefit of doubt. i used walnut sized balls of dough and my cookies are much bigger, especially if i press them down to the size of yours – i did not know if they would spread out or i had to press them. regardless, they are mound cookies, they barely flatten – perhaps a lower baking temp would permit them to melt a bit, or perhaps the egg prevents that regardless. from your pic it doesn’t particularly seem like one cup of sesame plus 3 tablespoons of honey – mine was definitely more gooey solid and less like “dipping” than your picture suggests, and the resulting cookies are splotchy, though delicious. i look forward to experimenting with the two-sided dipping and some other aspects of the recipe. thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Takes22no1

      Thank you for your comment. To answer your questions:
      Every recipe you see on my blog was tested and double checked. This particular recipe was tried by quite a few friends of mine (before it ever made it to the blog)and they all had great success with it.I take my blog and my recipes very seriously and I do my best to make sure that the recipes I post are clear, easy to follow and accurate. That is why I use step by step pictures to make the recipes easier to follow.

      As for the pictures,all the pictures on this blog (unless otherwise stated) were taken by me. I never use other people’s pictures and claim they are my own.NEVER

      Now as for the size of the cookies, that is really up to you, if you found the walnut ones to be too big, you can definitely make them smaller. These cookies don’t spread during baking, so you can make them as flat and as small as you like.
      The consistency of the honey sesame topping will depend greatly on the consistency of the honey that you have. Some types of honey are more runny than others. The temperature in your kitchen will affect the consistency of the honey, too. Cold weather makes the honey thicker and more goey

      Thank you again for your feedback and I hope these notes help

      • takes22no1@live.com

         /  October 19, 2014

        thanks for the response – and the cookies are totally super – i’m on the last ones of the first batch, it’s prob time to try again! i did not know about different consistencies of honey but since the dipping method wasn’t so great for me i’ll try out flattening them a bit with a rolling pin and then spooning the sesame on top. again, thanks!

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