I've been to a few baby welcoming parties in my time. Whether it's for children of friends or family, I generally have a good idea of what the parents or baby would like and I'm happy to oblige with any baked gift. But what if you don't know the couple whose baby you are celebrating? Do you get a gift or do you hope the person whose plus one you are has a good idea for something from both of you? Awkward.
It doesn't have to be though. I was invited (as a plus one) to a gorgeous little girl's Naming Day. My dilemma was that I'd never met the couple before. This would be the first time I was meeting these friends of my other half, being that they normally live in Australia it was difficult to meet them before. Obviously I wanted to make a good impression so I wanted to get a good gift. After a few weeks of wracking my brain for something suitable but not oh-my-gosh-that-girl-is-so-weird, I came up with the idea of biscuits. People love the home made stuff, right?
So I got to it. I did my research. I thought about chocolate biscuits or maybe something a bit oaty. Then I thought, "Why not try something a bit ethnic?" After all, I'm half Arab, and boy do we know how to make tea accompaniements. And from the other half of our little couple, New Zealand offers ANZAC biscuits - I'm told they're always a big hit.
A very reliable source gave me a brilliant recipe for the ANZAC biscuits, seeing as I had never made them before. But this post is not about ripping off someone else's recipe. This post is about the biscuit that gave my family our surname: Baraziq. A deliciously sweet and crispy biscuit from the Sham region of the Middle East that is enjoyed with tea and offered as a gift for births, Eid, weddings and any other form of congratulatory celebration. Also very good for dunking.
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup honey
2 cups toasted sesame seeds
200g plain flour
2 cups fine semolina
1 pinch of salt
4 tbsp warm milk
1/2 cup chopped pistacchio nuts
Cream together the butter, eggs and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Sift the flour, semolina, salt and baking powder into the bowl and mix well. Add the warm milk and mix it in with your hands. Tip the contents of the bowl on to some cling film or a baking sheet and use your hands to combine everything into a soft biscuit dough.
Mix the sesame seeds and honey together and lay the chopped nuts out on a chopping board. Cut the dough and roll it into ping pong ball sized pieces (there will be about 30 of them). Dip the dough in the nuts and put it on a greased baking sheet. Flatten the dough balls into thin bicuits with the heel of a spoon.
Preheat an oven to 180 degrees C. Spread the sesame seed and honey mixture on top of the biscuits so that most of the top is covered. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until brown. They won't expand much in the oven so don't worry about putting them too close together on the tray.