Jaafer Sweets

Press & Awards

Jaafer Sweets has been featured many times in various media publications. Please take a look below at the different articles.

Chicago Tribune Newspaper

ABC Chicago
Chicago bakery ships baklava nationwide
(Friday, September 17, 2010)


Every culture has its own version of dessert. The Hungry Hound says, in the Middle East, it's often baklava. He has found a tiny bakery where they produce an incredible amount of it. I

Now that Ramadan is over, the owners of Jaafer Sweets in Albany Park can rest a little easier, but business is still brisk, since they supply grocery stores all over the region and ship their sweets all over the US and Canada. Their specialty? Baklava.

"Baklava is several layers of phyllo dough filled with either pistachios, walnuts or cashews," said Hannah Moses, co-owner of Jaafer Sweets.

But before the filling, there is the prep: an intensely-flavored melted butter is slathered around the bottom of a baking pan, serving as a flavorful bed for the ultra-thin layers of phyllo dough. Imported pistachios are generously spread over the top, forming an even layer; another layer of phyllo goes on top, and the baklava is trimmed to fit the pan.

The baker uses a knife to cut the baklava into manageable pieces. Finally, more butter is ladled over the top, which oozes into the crevices and helps puff up the dough. The baklava is baked in a giant oven, and once it's removed, the entire kitchen smells of sweet, nutty richness.

"The process in which we make our baklava is very unique. We use a couple of special ingredients that we put on, we put, before we bake the baklava. And then we have a couple special ingredients that we put on after we bake the baklava," said Moses.

There is much more than baklava of course - including cheesy kanafeh and halawa - as well as delicate cashew fingers. The phyllo is rolled up on a narrow wooden rod about a third of the way, pausing briefly to sprinkle on some crushed cashews, then he continues rolling it up, enveloping the cashews.

At this point, the long, cashew-filled roll of phyllo is squeezed together like an accordion, giving it its unique shape. The roll is slid off of the wooden dowel and coated in a shower of melted butter to give it added richness.

Moses says while baklava is her company's primary canvas, there are dozens of shapes and fillings at her disposal.

"It's just variety, in the American world, we have different kinds of cookies - some are square, some are round, some are long, some are short - so you know instead of just having traditional square baklavas, we have different shapes," Moses said.

I also like this Knafeh, which has got cheese in the middle, some shredded phyllo on top, and a little dusting of pistachios; like some of the baklava, also available sugar free. Now if you can't get to the store here, you can also find these products at Potash Bros., Fox and Obel, even 7-Elevens around Chicagoland.

Jaafer Sweets
4825 N. Kedzie Ave.

Besides baklava: kanafeh, fatayar, harresa (nammoura), bamia, awameh, macaroon, zalabia, mamoul, galache, barazik, gouribeh, halawa, halawit-L-Jibin

"Tasty" in Arabic: Zaky

This category also includes pistachio baklava, rolled ladyfingers, pistachio-filled birds nests, cigar-shape cashew rolls and chocolate walnut baklava.
Shredded wheat or shredded phyllo spread over sweet cheese and sugar syrup and cut into squares.
Pistachios rolled in shredded wheat, deep-fried, then sliced into rounds.
Creamy ground sesame seeds mixed with sugar and pistachios and pressed into a block before slicing.
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4825 N. Kedzie Chicago, IL 60625 Phone: 773-463-3933 Fax: 773-463-0417 Acceptance Mark