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Heritage Cookie
Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #45

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Heritage to me is like this cookie tree.  Our traditions, values and culture are instilled in us as we grow. To me it’s rooted, like a tree.

The central focus is the mosque and the holy Quran. I am a practicing Muslim and I attend the mosque for prayers and to celebrate the Eid festival. In the USA I have the opportunity to meet Muslims from across the globe and taste their fabulous food.

I live in California, USA. I was born in Sri Lanka and first migrated to New Zealand where I lived for a decade. I then moved to the USA. My blue travel bag shows Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the West coast USA. I enjoyed the outdoor living and travelling that was part of New Zealand life. I try to go on vacation to my homeland at least every three years to be with family and friends and to keep in touch with traditions.

Having born and raised in Sri Lanka, hospitality is very important to us. Any visitor who comes to our homes are offered a cup of tea or a meal. The cookie on the bottom left shows a typical Sri Lankan meal served on a banana leaf (rice, curries and of course greens with coconut). On that same cookie is a clay pot with boiling milk on an open hearth. Boiling milk is a symbol of prosperity and abundance. It’s a tradition I follow on New Year’s Day and on special occasions.  There is a fondant covered cake on that cookie showing the beginning of my cake decorating life in Sri Lanka. On the same cookie is a plate of tiny yellow cookies. Growing up, I loved these cookies that were made with ghee (clarified butter) flour and powdered sugar. They were melt in your mouth cookies that would store well. Royal iced cookies were not known at all. Cookie decorating is now slowly making an entrance as wedding and party favors.

The cookie on the left of the mosque shows how important clay pots and clay pot utensils are in Sri Lanka. The flavor that clay pots impart to cooked food is unbeatable. Woven products from coconut or palm trees are common items in Sri Lanka and I still use them here. On that table is an oil lamp gold with a bird (the Jungle fowl, national bird of Sri Lanka). The oil lamp is lit with tiny cloth wicks. It symbolizes light. The light means hope in life. There are also spices on that cookie. Spices are a big part of my daily cooking. Cardamom is a spice that I have to add to my cookie and cake making and I enjoy it in my tea. Cardamom is a spice used widely by the Muslims in Sri Lanka.

The flower filled cookies show the languages I grew up speaking (English, Tamil and Sinhalese). In New Zealand I learned basic Maori which is the indigenous language of the natives. I am now learning a little Spanish from being here in the USA. I strongly believe that being able to speak another language gives you a view to another culture.

The dress cookies, the pink saree draped cookies (made with edible fabric) is my attire for special occasions. The other dress is the Shalwar that I do wear often. The shalwar consists of a long top, loose pants and a long shawl.

I tried to depict the tangible aspects of my heritage through these cookies. Thanks to Christine @Sweet Prodigy and Julia @Julia M. Usher, it was yet another fun project.

For making these cookies, I have used royal icing, gum paste for the flowers, royal icing transfers for the minarets on the mosque. The cloth on the dress cookies are made of edible fabric. It is the first time I learned to make edible fabric and I love it.

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WOW!!! Zena, that is breathtaking and very interesting !! And Wow, you speak 6 languages !! Masterful !! You presented the heritage in your cookies in a terrific way!! 100% !! ❤️ Did you make edible stuff? May I ask how you did it? I'm very interested in that! @Zeena

Thank you Gabi @Icingsugarkeks for your comments. I really love the edible fabric and it is the first time I did this. I watched this video by the talented Kate Sullivan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feICXzdIGsw). All you need is gelatin, water, glycerin and dust colors. I used gold dust and pink shimmer dust. I halved the recipe, and still was able to coat one sheet of wafer paper and still have leftover gelatin. To get the two colors, I cut the water paper in half and colored them separately. If the gelatin hardens warm it up. Have fun Gabi.

Zeena, this is really interesting!!! and wonderful.  So much information.  What a great thing to learn cultures' of cookiers from different countries and backgrounds.

Thank you dear Ryoko @Ryoko ~Cookie Ave.. Hope you had a wonderful birthday.

Thank you so much for sharing your heritage and culture with us. It's really great to learn the meanings behind the traditions - everything was so interesting and I learned a few things.  Your cookies are filled with incredible details and depict your story perfectly.

Thank you Christine @Sweet Prodigy.

@Manu posted:

What a beautiful cookie and so meaningful! Reading about you, your heritage and traditions was so interesting and I am glad to have learn more about Sri Lanka. Thank you for this journey through your cookies and your words.

Thank you Manu @Manu. I am so glad you like the cookie. I hope one day you get to visit Sri Lanka. 

What a beautiful cookie and so meaningful! Reading about you, your heritage and traditions was so interesting and I am glad to have learn more about Sri Lanka. Thank you for this journey through your cookies and your words.

@Zeena posted:

Thank you Gabi @Icingsugarkeks for your comments. I really love the edible fabric and it is the first time I did this. I watched this video by the talented Kate Sullivan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feICXzdIGsw). All you need is gelatin, water, glycerin and dust colors. I used gold dust and pink shimmer dust. I halved the recipe, and still was able to coat one sheet of wafer paper and still have leftover gelatin. To get the two colors, I cut the water paper in half and colored them separately. If the gelatin hardens warm it up. Have fun Gabi.

Thank you sooo much dear Zeena!! It's perfect!! I definitely want to try that too! Thank you Zeena. @Zeena

Thank you so much for sharing your heritage and culture with us. It's really great to learn the meanings behind the traditions - everything was so interesting and I learned a few things.  Your cookies are filled with incredible details and depict your story perfectly.

Oh I just love your "heritage" cookies dear Zeena @Zeena!! Your tree is indeed a perfect way to display your heritage. You're a woman of variety and stability. That's a hard balance to achieve but you've definitely accomplished it here. You've lived in different countries and have a solid foundation in your faith that goes with you wherever you go. I have found that to be a vital part of me as well. I just love your mosque cookie and the various types of dress that you created. The luggage cookie is perfect to depict your various homes throughout your life. These are wonderful my sweet friend ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...

Thank you very much dear Carol @Cookies Fantastique. You always have such positive and kind words. Take care and be safe.

Oh I just love your "heritage" cookies dear Zeena @Zeena!! Your tree is indeed a perfect way to display your heritage. You're a woman of variety and stability. That's a hard balance to achieve but you've definitely accomplished it here. You've lived in different countries and have a solid foundation in your faith that goes with you wherever you go. I have found that to be a vital part of me as well. I just love your mosque cookie and the various types of dress that you created. The luggage cookie is perfect to depict your various homes throughout your life. These are wonderful my sweet friend ❤️❤️❤️ Hugs...

Wow, what a wonderful entry and story! I am so impressed with how you acquired so many languages - I feel lacking in that regard, because I agree with you completely that mastery of many allows important views into other cultures.

Thank you Julia @Julia M. Usher. I find learning languages at a young age makes it a lot more easier.

@LisaF posted:

Zeena this is fabulous!  It is so thoughtful and meaningful.  Your details are terrific.  It's difficult for me to pick a favorite component but I am leaning toward the dresses (though the mosque is is very impressive!)  Thank you so much for sharing this and part of yourself with us!❤️

Thank you dear Lisa @LisaF. I have to admit I liked the dress too.

Wow, what a wonderful entry and story! I am so impressed with how you acquired so many languages - I feel lacking in that regard, because I agree with you completely that mastery of many allows important views into other cultures.

WOW!!! Zena, that is breathtaking and very interesting !! And Wow, you speak 6 languages !! Masterful !! You presented the heritage in your cookies in a terrific way!! 100% !! ❤️ Did you make edible stuff? May I ask how you did it? I'm very interested in that! @Zeena

Zeena this is fabulous!  It is so thoughtful and meaningful.  Your details are terrific.  It's difficult for me to pick a favorite component but I am leaning toward the dresses (though the mosque is is very impressive!)  Thank you so much for sharing this and part of yourself with us!❤️

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