Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ramadan Recipe # 1: Semolina Cookies

Assalamu alaikum,

Here is the first of, insha'Allah, several recipes that are little Muslim friendly: Semolina Cookies.

See below the recipe insha'Allah for ideas about how your children can do much of the mixing and shaping of these simple cookies. This activity is best suited for children ages 24 months and older insha'Allah.

Semolina Cookies


  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 cup clarified butter
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon orange flower water
  • 30 blanched almonds
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, and semolina and set aside. Beat the butter for at least 10 minutes until it is fluffy. Then beat 2 more minutes while sprinkling in the blossom water and confectioners' sugar. Fold in the flour mixture gradually. Then refrigerate the soft dough in covered bowl for about 10 minutes. With the help of a diamond shaped cookie cutter (or any shape you and your children choose), shape the dough into 1 inch sided diamonds and place them 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Then place an almond in the center of each cookie.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in an oven preheated to around 275 degrees F. Do not over bake. Let the cookies cool for at least an hour. They are best served when cooled for several hours.

Makes 2 dozen

How the kids can do most of the mixing insha'Allah:

  1. In advance, set aside an area in the kitchen where the preparation will take place insha'Allah (like a child size wooden table for example).
  2. Have all of the measuring cups and ingredients in one place insha'Allah (ex. have all of the materials that will be used for mixing - measuring cups, spoons, etc. - in one cabinet that the child case easily access insha'Allah. Have as many of the ingredients as possible on a low shelf in the fridge that your child can reach without difficulty insha'Allah). Have a wet towel on the table for cleaning up spills and wiping up afterward insha'Allah. *For the spoons, measuring cups, bowls, etc.: Try to have materials that your child can handle without assistance or very little assistance. Make sure the materials are real and not fake. IKEA, for example, has many child size utensils that really work in their kids section. You can also buy them online here insha'Allah.
  3. Tell your son/daughter that together you will make special cookies for Ramadan insha'Allah. Explain that he/she will have fun mixing most (if not all) of the ingredients for the cookies insha'Allah and then he/she will make them into different shapes that show different things about Ramadan (i.e. masjid, moon, prayer rug, etc.).
  4. Before you begin, take the child to wash his/her hands and explain that whenever we prepare food or eat food we wash our hands insha'Allah. If washing the hands is done in the bathroom, this is a great time to either introduce the dua we say before entering the bathroom: (بِسْمِ الله ) اللّهُـمَّ إِنِّـي أَعـوذُ بِـكَ مِـنَ الْخُـبْثِ وَالْخَبائِث . {(Bismil-lah) allahumma innee aAAoothu bika minal-khubthi wal-khaba-ith. ‘(In the name of Allah). O Allah, I take refuge with you from all evil and evil-doers.}’ or to reinforce it insha'Allah. You can also take this opportunity to teach/reinforce the dua we say when leaving the bathroom: غُفْـرانَك . {Ghufranak. ‘I ask You (Allah) for forgiveness.’}
  5. Bring the child back to the kitchen insha'Allah. Give the child a tray that he/she can manage to carry unaided insha'Allah. You can buy them online here insha'Allah.
  6. Slowly tell the child the things you will need to make the cookies insha'Allah. Tell the child where the items can be found (i.e. I have put all of the bowls, spoons and measuring cups in this cupboard). Have the child take out one item at a time and place it on the tray (be sure not to allow the child to overload the tray) and carry them to the work area insha'Allah. *This may require more than one trip*
  7. Repeat the process with the food items that will be used in the recipe insha'Allah.
  8. It's a great idea to have a child sized apron for your son/daughter to wear insha'Allah.
  9. With your child, one ingredient at a time, tell the child how much of each ingredient the recipe will need. Show the child the different measuring cups and allow him/her to fill correct cup with the required amount of flour, sugar, etc. insha'Allah and put it into the mixing bowl. Repeat until all ingredients are in the bowl.
  10. Allow the child to use his/her spoon to mix the ingredients insha'Allah.
  11. Invite the child to use cookie cutters or their hands to make different shapes that show things that we use or that are associated with Ramadan.
  12. After the cookies have been placed on the baking sheet and put into the oven, with the child, clean the area and invite the child to return the materials to their proper location insha'Allah.
This will take patience (on your part) but subhana'Allah, the child's enjoyment and the learning that takes place is well worth it. If you prepare the environment ahead of time, this activity will be a memorable one insha'Allah.
Side Note: I had this recipe saved on my computer and do not remember where I got it (same for the picture). I will gladly list the source of both if I find them insha'Allah.
I hope to have time to come back later in the week and provide an explanation of the benefits of preparing the environment for this activity (and others). It is easy to simply mix the batter yourself and invite the child to make the shapes but it is an educational exploration for the five senses to patiently teach the child how to make the cookies on their own (with your supervision of course).
More to come insha'Allah...


  1. Why do you use insha'Allah so many times in your writing...just curious..

  2. I ask that Allaah reward you for your question.

    The reason I do so is because of the ayah in surah Al-Kahf where Allaah says, "وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ غَدًا" and "إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَىٰ أَن يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَـٰذَا رَشَدًا" {And never say of anything, "I shall do such and such thing tomorrow." Except (with the saying), "If Allah will!" And remember your Lord when you forget and say: "It may be that my Lord guides me unto a nearer way of truth than this."}.

    There are many places in al-Quran that we see examples of this ayah put into practice walhamdulillaah. Here are just a few examples:

    فَلَمَّا دَخَلُوا عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ آوَىٰ إِلَيْهِ أَبَوَيْهِ وَقَالَ ادْخُلُوا مِصْرَ إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ آمِنِينَ
    Then, when they came in before Yusuf (Joseph), he took his parents to himself and said: "Enter Egypt, if Allah wills, in security."
    ( سورة يوسف , Yusuf, Chapter #12, Verse #99)


    قَالَ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ صَابِرًا وَلَا أَعْصِي لَكَ أَمْرًا
    Musa (Moses) said: "if Allah wills, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught."
    ( سورة الكهف , Al-Kahf, Chapter #18, Verse #69)


    فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ ۚ قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ ۖ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ
    And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offering you in sacrifice to Allah). So look what you think!" He said: "O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha' Allah (if Allah wills), you shall find me of As-Sabirun (the patient)."
    ( سورة الصافات , As-Saaffat, Chapter #37, Verse #102).

    Also, there is an example of an admonition when people intended to do a thing and did not say insha'Allaah. From ayaat 17 - 29 in surah Al-Qalaam, you will see this story and in ayaat 28-29 Allaah says: "قَالَ أَوْسَطُهُمْ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ لَوْلَا تُسَبِّحُونَ" {The best among them said: "Did I not tell you: why say you not: Insha' Allah (If Allah wills)."
    They said: "Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have been Zalimun (wrong-doers)"}.

    So, when I write, and it is an explanation of how to do an activity or it is intended to do something (an action, etc.), I say "insha'Allaah" as nothing occurs except by the Will of Allaah.

    Again, may Allaah reward you for your question and I hope my response was not too long.


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