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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