Şekerpare are a common dessert in Turkey, and can be found in many different varieties. Especially during Ramadan, you can find them at most bakeries being sold along with special Ramadan pide and güllaç for iftar meals. They are extremely sweet, reflected in their name, which translates to "piece of sugar." They get their sweetness from being soaked in a lemony sugar syrup until they cannot soak up any more. This is the same technique that is used to make baklava, except in this case you are pouring the syrup over cookies instead of layers of phyllo and nuts.
The two most common varieties that I have seen in Turkey are the plain ones dotted with whole nuts (which I am giving the recipe for in this post) and the chocolate ones which are rolled on poppy seeds. I actually did not even realize I was eating şekerpare the first time I had the chocolate variety because they look quite different. I will post a recipe for those in the upcoming weeks :) .
Another thing to note is that şekerpare are always served cold. This may seem strange, but it really does make a difference and they taste much better when they are cool.
Makes 22-24 cookies
1 cup margarine or butter (225 grams)
1 cup granulated sugar (250 grams)
4 cups flour (500 grams)
2 teaspoons baking powder (sub: standard European packet)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (sub: 1 standard European dry packet)
2 cups granulated sugar (500 grams)
2 cups water (480 ml)
Juice of 1 lemon
- Mix eggs, margarine/butter, and sugar in a deep bowl.
- Mix in baking powder and vanilla. Then slowly incorporate the flour until you have a soft dough.
- Put almonds into boiling water for 5 minutes, and then sauté them in a nonstick pan until golden.
- Take walnut sized pieces of dough and roll into circles in your hands. Place on a greased pan and flatten slightly. Press an almond into the center of each one. *Note: you should make sure that you leave space between them because they will grow in size.
- Cook in 340 degrees Fahrenheit (170 degrees Celsius) oven until golden, about 20-25 minutes.
- While they are cooking, you should make the syrup. Begin by placing water and sugar in a pot and boiling.
- After 3 minutes, take pot off the stove and stir in vanilla and lemon juice.
- Drizzle some of the warm syrup over the hot şekerpare. Once şekerpare have absorbed the first round of syrup, you can make a second round. They should be completely saturated in the syrup.
- Chill in refrigerator and serve cold.
Tips & Additional Information
- For a gluten-free version, try The Hungry Buddha Eats the World's recipe!