Evette Mashaal’s Massafan (Star Cookies)

Evette Mashal grew up in Baghdad, Iraq. This flourless cookie is usually brought to neighbours and friends’ houses during Passover. Evette enjoys baking with her granddaughters, and gifted them with homemade cookbooks of their favourite recipes on their Bat Mitzvahs.

Watch the video.

Massafan (Star Cookies)


(makes about 15 small cookies – multiply recipe to make more)

1 Cup Ground almonds** (or store-bought almond flour containing 100% ground almonds)
1/3 cup sugar (or less, to taste)
1 egg white
1/2 tsp. Ground Cardamom


Food Processor
Large Bowl
Small Dish
Two baking trays
Parchment/wax paper


1.    Mix all ingredients together into a dough (it will be sticky)
2.    Pour some rosewater into a small dish and wet hands with it.
3.    Cut dough into small balls (size of bubble gum)
4.    Shape into a smooth ball, flatten with palm of hand
5.    Pinch around the outside of the ball 5 times to shape into a star
6.    Place stars on tray lined with parchment paper
7.    Indent each star lightly in the center (to avoid puffing up)
8.    Place tray in another, empty tray (to avoid burning the bottom of cookies)
9.    Bake stars in a 450º F oven for 7-10 minutes (they should remain pale)


**Instructions for preparing your own ground almonds:

  1. Boil water in a pot
  2. Add whole, unshelled almonds and let them cook for two minutes.
  3. Take out a little at a time, drain, and remove peel using thumb and forefinger. This is called blanching the almonds.
  4. Let the almonds dry on a tray lined with parchment paper for one or two days.
  5. Grind the almonds in batches in a food processor until quite fine (it is best to do this in two stages or else the almonds will release too many oils and become soggy)