“Tomorrow Christ will come, by His word to bring your dead brother to life. Hearing His voice, bitter hell that is never satisfied will tremble and groan aloud, and it will release Lazarus bound in his grave-clothes.” — Stichera from Vespers on Friday Evening before the Saturday before Palm Sunday known as the Saturday of the Holy and Righteous Lazarus, The Lenten Triodion
Weird macabre things Orthodox people do: eat mummy bread/cookies called Lazarakia on Lazarus Saturday which commemorates Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
We’re still Paleo here in our neck of the woods and it’s made so many people in our house feel generally better, lose weight, and stopped years of chronic stomach aches in our daughter!
We’re headed to our favorite local monastery tomorrow which we try to do every year on Lazarus Saturday. Our Archbishop serves Liturgy and we get a fun and relaxing day romping in the woods and catching up with the sisters.
I decided to try a Paleo-ish version of the Lazarakia and make them more like sugar cookies instead of bread rolls to bring with us. I was inspired by all the mummy treats and snacks that float around near Halloween in addition to the traditional bread.
We recently tagged along on a work trip with my husband and we had sweet potato pancakes at a restaurant one morning that were amazing. I thought incorporating sweet potato flour into the recipe might help with texture and elasticity. I couldn’t find any, but I did find a sweet potato pancake mix that was gluten free and decided to use that instead. This recipe is vegan, but because of the frosting and some of the grains in the sweet potato mix, it is not truly Paleo. You could leave off the frosting and double up on the Paleo pancake mix if you wanted to stick with the diet 100%.
- 1 pkg Birch Benders Paleo Pancake & Waffle Mix
- 1 pkg Zema’s Madhouse Gluten Free Ancient Grain Sweet Potato Pancake Mix
- 1 can pumpkin
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 can frosting (a lot of store bought frostings are vegan, just check the labels. We happened to have Pillsbury on hand.)
- 1 bag Pascha allergen free semi sweet dark chocolate chips (This link is for a pack of six, that’s why it is so pricey. I did not pay that much locally. You can use the chocolate chips of your choice, I just have a dairy allergic kid and need to be really sure they are safe).
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix together pancake mixes, pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice to form dough. Roll dough out and press a gingerbread man cookie cutter into the dough to make the mummy bodies. Place on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.
While cookies are baking you may need to chop up the chocolate chips to make the eyes proportional to your cookie cutter. I cut mine into quarters. You could also get the extra mini chips instead.
Remove cookies from oven and working quickly press two chocolate chips or chocolate chip pieces into the head of each. Use a spatula to transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
Once the cookies are cooled spoon frosting into a pastry bag (or snip the tip off a plastic zipper bag and use that). Decorate each cookie with frosting “gauze” strips.
More about Lazarakia & Lazarus Saturday from around the web:
- Orthodox Mom: Lazarakia Recipe
- Living Orthodox Traditions: Lazarakia
- St. Nectarios Orthodox Church: Lazarakia (Lazarus Bread)
- Mystagogy: Lazarakia – Traditional Bread for the Saturday of Lazarus
- Pappas Post: Maintaining Ancient Traditions a World Away from the Ancestral Homeland – Making Lazarakia in Suburban Baltimore
- Illumination Learning: Saturday of Lazarus Lesson
- Orthodox Pebbles: The Raising of Lazarus Activity Packet
- Tending the Garden of Our Hearts: Week Six