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Since the countdown to Eid al-Fitr began, Hajja Fatima al-Zahraa Mahmoud has been busy with her daughters preparing kaak (cookies) and biscuits for eid, a process that usually lasts five days.
Hajja Fatima, a resident of Cairo's Shubra district, said the spirit of Eid al-Fitr is not complete without baking kaak at home, a tradition she says "brings family and neighbours closer together".
Egyptian kaak is prepared with flour, ghee, milk, sesame seeds, baking powder and malban (gelatin-based dessert) or walnuts, and then baked in the oven.
"The secret behind baking delicious kaak is getting the ingredients right so the end product is a fine crumb cookie that is not greasy," said Hajja Fatima.
Children and men carrying trays of kaak to local bakeries is a common sight in lower-income neighbourhoods, and Maurice Boulos looks forward to seeing this joyous scene every year.
Boulos, 64, owns a bakery in Shubra.
"For more than 30 years, I have been helping residents on this street bake their kaak," he said. "All families compete to bake the best kaak, and sometimes I act as referee, since they bring their kaak to the ovens in my bakery."
The history of kaak can be traced back to the Pharaonic period when Egyptians prepared baked goods to take with them when they visited the cemetery or attended wedding and coronation ceremonies.
Egyptians consume as many as 100 million kilos of kaak, biscuits, ghuraiba and petit fours during the final days of Ramadan and during Eid al-Fitr, according to a recent study by the Cairo Chamber of Commerce.
Total spending on kaak is estimated at 250 million Egyptian pounds ($41 million) and even during economic slumps, Egyptians continue to buy Eid kaak from stores or make it at home, according to the report.
Over the past decade, demand among Egyptian families for store-bought kaak has increased steadily.
This phenomenon spread to large cities, especially among younger consumers whose fast-paced lives revolve around work, said Zainab Nasr, an accountant at a private company.
"There is no time to do anything at home, and you can find fresh kaak, biscuits and ghuraiba in all the shops, so it just makes more sense not to get stressed and buy from the store," 38-year-old Nasr told Al-Shorfa.
Saniya Mustafa appreciates the consistency and variety of kaak available in stores.
"My experience with homemade kaak is bad because when I used to make it, it would either burn in the oven or it did not taste right. With store-bought kaak, you have a wide range to choose from, it is sold in many shops, and you can taste it before buying," she said.
The price of kaak in stores ranges between 30 and 200 Egyptian pounds ($5-$33) per kilo. Biscuits are priced between 20-90 Egyptian pounds ($3-$15) per kilo while ghuraiba and petit fours cost between 40 and 150 Egyptian pounds ($7-$25) per kilo.
The price of ready-made kaak and other baked goods increased 10% this year compared with 2011 because the prices of flour, dairy products and other ingredients increased, according to the chamber of commerce study.
"Indeed, prices have gone up slightly this year, but there is still high demand from consumers," said Hossam Fouad, who owns a large bakery in Nasr City.