Here in Basrah, the kitchen is big, but not really well equipped. The guys asked me when I first arrived to make them cookies.  I had obtained some fresh ginger when I first arrived, thinking it would go well with something. And cinnamon is abundant here, so I wanted to make something like ginger bread. Then I got some really excellent chocolate on sale in Italy, and there was some very rich white chocolate powder left here by another colleague.

Convinced I finally had enough ingredients tonight, I found a new baking dish (bar cookies would be easier to make anyway) and a quite adequately sized cooking pot. A quick search on the internets turned up a story about making cookies with melted butter, and I was off…

Melt and brown 200 grams of butter in a large pan. I had a 400 gram package of danish butter, so enough for 2 batches! When I made the gingerbread, I added a two inch piece of ginger root (pealed and chopped) and a few tablespoons of cinnamon (I wanted a lot because it was going to provide color, as well as spice). I also added the juice of half an orange.

Stir in 1 1/4 cups of sugar. We have a 50-kilo bag of sugar here, so that wasn’t a problem.

Beat in 2 eggs. The seem to get eggs by the 25-count tray here.

Mix in 1 T baking powder. Picked this up in Italy, knowing it would be difficult to find here.

Combine with 2 1/4 flour, adding enough to get a thick, but not too stiff dough. For the chocolate chip cookies, I added 1/4 cup of white chocolate powder (Burdick’s) and a chopped up chocolate bar.

Chill the dough for at least 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius. Spread into pan and bake for 30 minutes. They will be fluffy and soft when they come out of the oven, but will cool to a nice crunchy texture. Cut up while warm.


I somehow ended up with twice as much gingerbread dough, and froze half of it that night. Last night I decided to bake the rest with almonds and pomegranates, which started appearing here. Given how dry they turned out I thought they’d make great biscotti. In fact though, freezing the dough actually made them moister. I arranged the dough in pieces in the pan and then pressed almonds and pomegranate kernels into the chunks. Baked for 30 minutes at 180C and cut them into longer pieces.