What is Iftar?
Sorghum brownies, pistachio macarons and baklava are some of the best iftar desserts! But wait, you may be asking, what is iftar?? Basically, iftar is the meal that you eat once the sun goes down after fasting all day during Ramadan. And everything tastes like the best thing that has ever entered your mouth, after fasting for anywhere from 12 to 22 hours, depending on where you live and the time of year.
If you don’t participate in Ramadan, you could think of the fasting part sort of like intermittent fasting. Typically, in intermittent fasting, you fast anywhere from 8 to 20 hours. Fasting isn’t for everyone, especially if you have a health condition that prohibits you from fasting, or if you are triggered by fasting. However, if you are safely able to fast for a period of time each day, there are health benefits that can be reaped.
Fasting can increase human growth hormone (hellooo, muscles!), reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, increase cellular repair and more! Of course, you want to make sure you’re eating nutrient-dense foods once you break your fast, to ensure you get all the goodies your body needs to fuel itself. BUT a little sugar hit from a dessert to pump up your blood sugar levels never hurt anybody. In fact, it can give you more energy to prep your healthy meal for the following day!
Sorghum Brownies – What is Sorghum?
Sorghum flour is a naturally gluten-free flour made from an ancient grain found in Australia and Africa. This grain is totally unrelated to wheat and the plant looks sort of like the tops of corn stalks. Adding it to your brownies adds vitamin B, antioxidants and minerals. It has a mild taste, so you won’t even notice that you’re making your baked treats whole grain and healthy!
The recipe for these delicious & healthy sorghum brownies is my own creation – keep reading to the end for the full recipe! My fiancé said these brownies were the BEST dessert he had ever tasted!
Bonus: All THREE of these desserts are gluten free!
Iftar Dessert Option 2 – Pistachio Macarons
My fiancé’s family loves pistachios. I’ve seen every one of them sit and crack open handfuls upon handfuls of these healthy nuts! This combined with my macaron game that I’ve been leveling up made pistachio macarons a must. The recipe I followed for these was from Pies and Tacos.
Macarons are a very light treat. The macarons shells are mainly made of whipped egg whites, sugar and almond flour. And the pistachios help cut down the sweetness of the buttercream filling. So after eating a big meal, a couple pistachio macarons are the perfect sweet morsel to top it all off.
Bonus: These pair really well with chai tea, which my fiancé’s family drinks every night after iftar.
Iftar Dessert Option 3 – Baklava
What is one of the most traditional, amazing, scrumptious things to eat for iftar dessert? I’d say, BAKLAVA! There are tons of different recipes for baklava because everyone has their favorite little nuances of this treat. I followed the recipe from the cookbook Magnolia Table Volume 2, and it turned out wonderfully!
Note: my fiancé’s mom said the best baklava has lots of layers of the phyllo dough on the bottom so you can pick it up and eat it by hand. We’re talking maybe 10 sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom. And if you’ve never made baklava before, be prepared to stand at the counter and spend an hour or more layering delicate sheets of phyllo dough and brushing sticks of melted butter. But it’s totally worth the wait, because baklava (especially homemade) is an unparalleled dessert!
Do you celebrate Ramadan? Or do you make giant family feasts for holidays and get-togethers? Let me know if you make these sorghum brownies & other iftar desserts!
Gluten Free Sorghum Brownies
- ½ cup butter (one stick) melted at 30 second intervals in the microwave
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup sorghum flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ tsp salt
- scant ¼ tsp xanthum gum (optional – add if you like your brownies chewier and fudgier)
- ½ cup chocolate chips or chopped nuts, or a mixture of both (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.Grease an 8 inch by 8 inch pan.
- Combine the melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.
- Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
- Add the sorghum flour, cocoa powder and salt (and xanthum gum, if using). Stir to combine until you no longer see any dry flour. Fold in the chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan.Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out (mostly) clean when inserted into the center of the brownies.