Shendetlie is a beloved Albanian dessert that combines the goodness of walnuts and honey. It’s like a cross between a biscuit and cake, with a unique texture. When it comes out of the oven, it’s somewhat like a biscuit, but things change when you add syrup. The syrup softens the baked dough, giving it a cake-like texture.

This treat is closely associated with Albanian family traditions, especially during Christmas. It’s a must-have during the holiday season, and children eagerly await its arrival.

The basic ingredients are walnuts, honey, and a simple syrup. You can use whole or ground walnuts or even a mix of both, depending on your preference. Some versions include ground walnuts, which result in a darker-colored cake.

The sweet flavor is thanks to the honey and the syrup in which it soaks overnight. It’s a favorite among those with a sweet tooth.

Shaping the dough and adding the syrup are essential steps in making this delightful treat. The syrup adds the sweetness and transforms the biscuit-like dough into a cake.

Whether enjoyed with a glass of dry or sparkling white wine for adults or fresh citrus juice for kids, Shendetlie is a sweet taste of Albanian culture and a wish for good health.

The Story Behind The Recipe

Shendetlie is a traditional Albanian dessert. The name “shendetlie” carries a special meaning, as “shendet” signifies “health” in Albanian. It’s often enjoyed by children, even though it’s not particularly healthy due to its high-calorie and sugary nature. However, the use of simple and natural ingredients sets it apart from store-bought cakes, making it a somewhat healthier option.

This delightful cake is meant for sharing and is commonly enjoyed with family, especially during Christmas celebrations. It’s a tradition where mothers and grandmothers take on the role of baking this special treat for the whole family. It often comes at the end of a festive meal, following various dishes like baklavas and fish-based dishes.

Shendetlie’s recipe has a deep connection to Albanian culinary traditions. It’s a dessert that has been cherished for generations, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Albania. The country’s location in the Balkan Peninsula has greatly influenced its culinary traditions, and the use of honey and walnuts is a distinct feature of Albanian sweets due to the abundance of these ingredients in the region.

How to Make Shendetlie

Easy Shendetlie Recipe

Explore the Delightful World of Shendetlie: A Taste of Albania!


  • 2 cups of finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Start by toasting the finely chopped walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until they release a wonderful aroma. Be careful not to overcook them, and let them cool.
  2. In a saucepan, warm the honey over low heat. Add the ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg to the honey. Continue to gently warm the mixture for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the toasted walnuts, lemon zest, sugar, and a pinch of salt to the honey mixture. Mix everything thoroughly and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It will become more solid and easier to work with.
  5. While the mixture is still warm, shape it into small bite-sized balls or any other shapes you like. You can use your hands or molds for this.
  6. Place the formed shendetlie on a tray or plate and let them cool completely. Once they’ve cooled and become firm, they are ready to be enjoyed.

Shendetlie is a sweet treat that is often savored during special occasions and holidays in Albania. Not only is it delicious, but it also offers a nutritious boost from the honey and walnuts. Enjoy this taste of Albania!

Variations of Shendetlie

Walnut Texture: Shendetlie can feature whole walnuts or ground walnuts. Using ground walnuts results in a darker-colored cake, while using whole walnuts gives a different texture and appearance.

Mixed Walnuts: If you can’t decide between whole or ground walnuts, a combination of both works well to offer a unique texture and flavor.

Regional Variations: Similar cakes with walnuts can be found in other walnut-producing regions, like in France, particularly in the Périgord region and around Grenoble. These cakes might have their own regional twists and flavors.


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