Tiger Nut Sweets

Tiger Nut SweetsApparently there is no question about the fact that Tiger Nut Sweets are pretty much as ancient as it comes. I just wish I could find a picture of this Egyptian clay or broke pot on which the possibly 6,000 year old recipe was found. The name has me a little dumbfounded, though. Tiger Nut Sweets.

Tiger Nuts are a type of tuber, but because of their size and shape it is easy to see why they have been given the mis-leading title of ‘nut.’ There are two schools of thought on this recipe. A lot of people seem to think that the name ‘Tiger Nut Sweets’ came from their resemblance to the quasi stripy tiger nuts. I just don’t see it. Most of  these (and all) recipes I’ve seen call for walnuts or other crushed/ground nut. I just simply have a problem with this, for one, because I pretty much hate walnuts, and two, it’s called ‘Tiger Nut Sweets.’ Now, if you don’t have tiger nuts, than I can totally understand using a substitute. That must make me part of the second, though yet unproven mindset, that the original recipe might have called for, you know, actual Tiger Nuts? Now, being just a dumb sheltered folk from Glennallen, I might have assumed that tiger nuts where an exotic or extinct, impossible to posses artifact, but then that-there new-fangled Internet showed up, and wouldn’t you know it, you can buy those nuts online!

The name aside, I love how wrapped up in history this treat is. Found on a piece of broken pottery it is one of the oldest recipes ever to have been seen in written form. This compares to the mere 4,000 year old paintings of bread being baked inside the tomb of a woman named Senet; also in Egypt. That piece of pottery was probably what has come to be known as an ostracon; an easily found, broken shard of pottery that has been re-purposed as the sort of ‘scrap paper’ of the day. The common man’s composition book, if you will. Along with papyrus parchment, it’s believed that Tiger Nut Sweets were only a snack for The Privileged, as cinnamon was a very expensive and exotic spice of the time.

Tiger Nuts and DatesMany folks also believe the biblical reference in Genesis 43, stating that the brothers were to bring “honey, some spices, …nuts, and almonds” to Egypt, where exactly the ingredients needed to present Joseph with Tiger Nut Sweets. Again, I am just a little skeptical that Jacob might have possessed such a supposedly extravagant spice, but I can easily assume that if he did it would certainly be worth the cost of some food to save the life of his family. Let’s not forget, after all, that he once blow a bunch of money solely on a ‘pretty coat’ for his favorite son. Perhaps if he’d just settled for a gift of some tiger nut sweets his brothers would not have planned his murder and sold him into slavery.

As for the tiger nuts themselves, these sedge tubers have a softer consistency than a nut, yet not completely, as you will soon figure out when you whir them in the blender. A bit of a clatter, for sure. And they have a natural sweetness that makes you keep nibbling and nibbling. Watch out! You’ll eat the whole bag! They truly are worth their cost, which really isn’t that much more than the other fancy nuts.

Tiger Nut Sweets

By: Semiserious Chefs
Makes: ~15  1 inch sweets


  • 10 pitted Dates
  • 1/3 cup tiger nuts; ground
  • 1/4 t ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • ground almond flour/meal


  1. Finley chop the dates. You can use a blender, but they really gum things up.
  2. Grind the tiger nuts in a bullet or food processor.
  3. Add the dates, nuts, cinnamon, and honey to a bowl and mix well to incorporate.
  4. Form the date and nut mix into small balls, 1-2 inches in diameter, and roll each one on almond flower. Enjoy!


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