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Who doesn’t love dessert? I’ve always had a sweet tooth myself, no matter the origin, and living in Lebanon, there’s unquestionably no shortage of traditional Middle Eastern sweets – they’re readily available for you to indulge in around every corner!

I won’t name each and every one, because I don’t want to be the cause of your pants not buttoning next week, so here’s a list of 25 of the most loved Middle Eastern desserts – which is a pretty big number for you to start your binge-fest. #noregrets


1. Knefe


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The ultimate Sunday breakfast cheat meal. Who doesn’t love this cheesy deliciousness?


2. Ashta Ice Cream with Crushed Pistachios


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The typical Sunday treat after a long lazy day at the beach.


3. Osmalieh


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Sweet cream cheese sandwiched between crunchy osmalieh, and then drizzled with sweet syrup. Yum!


4. Baklava


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Layers and layers of phyllo pastry that are oh-so-bad for your waistline but taste oh-so-delicious! It’s also a popular Middle Eastern sweet to distribute when a couple is celebrating their newborn baby. 3a2belkon!


5. Shaabiyat


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Would you like a bigger Baklava perhaps? Don’t mind if I do!


6. Aysh El Saraya


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A classic dessert that looks like a cake with layers of toast bread and cream, and then topped with nuts and sugar syrup.


7. Namoura


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A dense semolina and sticky syrup cake; one of my all-time favourites!


8. Sfouf


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A fluffy yellow turmeric cake; also one of my favourites, especially when made using molasses syrup instead of white sugar. I can eat the whole tray (and then hibernate for a month).


9. Atayef


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Sweet dumplings filled with ashta cream or nuts, usually served during the month of Ramadan – don’t forget the sticky sugar syrup!


10. Ghazel Banet


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This one’s for the child inside every one of us! It’s sometimes used to top some of that yummy ashta ice cream we all know and love.


11. Karabeej Hallab


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Shortbread "fingers" filled with pistachios and served with "Natef", a sweet and fluffy egg white cream. I usually stayed away from these when I was younger, now I can’t get enough!


12. Halawat Al Jibn


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Another thing I didn’t seem to appreciate as a child; there was something about that creamy cheese filling. Now, I have to force myself to pull my hand away when reaching for a second of these sweet delicious pillow-y babies.


13. Znoud el Sit


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Looks like its sidekick, Halawat Al Jib, but it’s actually a fried crunchy sticky pastry enclosing a sweet cream cheese filling. If it doesn’t have enough sugar syrup, just add more!


14. Maakaroun


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Another “finger-shaped” sweet; semolina sweets which have been deep-fried and then soaked in sugar syrup! Scrumptious! My favourite at Biscuit, since they taste homemade and are each individually molded by the owners themselves! Extra points for getting syrup all over your clothes.


15. Mafroukeh


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A Lebanese dessert made of semolina, pistachios, sugar, and butter infused with sugary syrup – oh, and then it's topped with clotted cream (ashta).


16. Ashta w Asal


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An oh-so-perfect combination after an epic Lebanese lunch!


17. Maamoul


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Usually made and sold around Easter and Eid in Lebanon, these semolina shortbread pastries are stuffed with fillings such as dates, pistachio, and my personal favourite, walnut. There are also some “modern” nutella-stuffed versions popping up in some shops. #SimplyNo


18. Kellaj


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Not to be confused with the savoury kind, these square-shaped phyllo pastry are stuffed with ashta, fried, and then sprinkled with sugar! It’s a very popular choice during Ramadan season. If you haven’t had your blood sugar rise yet, this one will do the trick!


19. Um Ali


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This is a personal favourite of mine because it’s kind of like a Middle Eastern version of “Pain Perdu” except it has rose water and orange blossom essence instead of caramel. This bread pudding is soaked in milk, heavily infused with sweet aromatic essence, and topped with a variety of nuts.


20. Mhallabiye or Mouhalabieh


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Another personal favourite is this deliciously silky milk pudding infused with rose water and orange blossom essence, topped with crushed pistachios – delicious!


21. Sahlab


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A creamy hot drink from the Middle East; the world has hot cocoa, we have sahlab. Excuse me while I silence the jealous and vengeful chocolate-loving monster in me…


22. Meghli


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A cinnamon, caraway, and anise flavoured pudding, topped with pre-soaked nuts and shredded coconut; this one’s another popular offering at newborn baby showers. Again, 3a2belkon, in case you didn’t feel the pressure the first time.


23. Bala7 (Dates)


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Dates are a very popular Middle Eastern treat before and after meals; they’re usually eaten as is, or stuffed with different kinds of nuts.


24. Turkish Delight with Ghandour 555 Biscuits


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The typical dessert after a huge Lebanese lunch, even though you can no longer breathe. But don’t worry, it’s served with ahwé (Turkish coffee) so you can digest your feast.


25. Fruit


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Yes, fruit is considered dessert by some people! Well it’s not of Middle Eastern descent since it’s found all over the world, but a Lebanese lunch is never complete with that basket of seasonal fruit offered with your coffee for dessert!


Of course, the list doesn’t end here; there are so many more! What are your favourites?

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