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Afghan Delights

A new cookbook puts delicious Afghan recipes on paper.


Courtesy of Sina Abed

Walnut Creek baker and cake decorator Sina Abed never dreamed she would write a cookbook.

But Abed, who was born in Afghanistan and moved to the United States when she was eight, decided she would have to since she couldn’t find any on the Afghan desserts she loved.

“In the Afghan culture, we don’t really write down or share recipes, so I decided it was time to do so,” she says. “I wanted to be able to pass these wonderful desserts on to the next generation.”

Abed’s new cookbook, Afghan Desserts Made Simple, is filled with easy versions of authentic Afghani dishes. Many are old family recipes that she simplified, but she made sure to capture “the authentic taste.” That usually means using cardamom and rose water, fragrant ingredients common in Afghani cooking.

Having tried Abed’s book, I can say that she succeeded in her goal. The recipes are simple and fun to make. The featherlight orange sponge cake is a must-try, brimming with citrus flavor from orange zest and orange juice, while the delicious creme rolls, sprinkled with powdered sugar and ground pistachios, were a huge hit with my family. Next up: the kulche charmags (walnut cookies) and almond cake.

Afghan Desserts Made Simple is sold at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and afghandessertsmadesimple.com.

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