Baha'i Cookie Temples: nine-sided structures for Ayyam-i-Ha and other special occasions


Potato chip mini 
                     inspired by 
                 Chilean Temple

    Peeps & graham cracker temple 2013                             Pretzel temple 2014

 Welcome to my collection of nine-sided cookie temples. If you've got one to share, please email Frances Worthington at and together we'll figure out the best way to add your picture and story to the website.
     Cookie temples can be as simple as something put together with purchased cookies and held together with store-bought white frosting. Or they can be made from your own honey-spice dough, like the one below. If you want to try this recipe, click on this link -   Cookie temple instructions.pdf  - to open a printable Adobe PDF file with the recipe plus templates for cutting out the pieces of dough. 
      The cookie temple on the left was made in 1985 by Liz, Packy and Walt. It appeared in
a Brilliant Star Magazine article in January, 1986.
As this cookie temple is erected, piece by piece, it is held together with generous amounts of frosting. An upside-down plastic cup at the center supports the roof tiles. The window is made by cutting a rectangle out of the dough before it is baked and filling it with smashed pieces of hard candy (we put Life Savers in plastic bags and whacked them with a hammer). As the cookies bake, the candy melts into a pane.
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      After a few years, so many children wanted to join in the fun that it one temple wasn't enough. So - we made a separate cookie garden for each child to decorate and take home.  The day before the party, we baked the cookie walls and used green frosting to cover the cardboard. Then we created the gardens by gluing two walls together with white frosting. By the next day they were dry and sturdy enough to be decorated. Because there were more children than the room could hold, we divided the children into two groups and hosted one in the early afternoon and the second a couple of hours later.  Parents were encouraged to help, especially with the younger children! 
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 Kathleen in Rocklin has been making cookie temples for more than 20 years. The pictures below are from a decorating party at Ridvan, 2009. She lines the cookie sheet with parchment paper to make removal very easy. The idea of using ribbon candy for walls between the gardens is fabulous! 
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This picture is our very first attempt at a nine-sided cookie temple for Ayyam-i-Ha. We made in 1984 from store-bought cookies and premade frosting that came in a can. Sugar wafers are very easy to work with, although they do swell and sag a bit when the wafers absorb moisture from the frosting. The second sugar wafer temple below was made in 2001 and you can see how each side was constructed with an open door and a graham cracker teddy bear standing inside. Sugar wafer temples taste best when eaten within a day or two of being made.
      As a base for one of these temples, buy an 18" cardboard cake circle from a craft store or cut your own from a big box. Draw a nine-sided outline in the middle that is the size you want. Make sure the width of the sides matches the width of the cookies you will use. Feel free to copy one of the stars from another page of this website and enlarge it to the size you want. To make grass, cover the area that will show with green icing (it's easier to apply it before the temple goes up than after.) Stack cookies around the outline to get nine sides, holding them together with frosting. Put something in the middle as a support - a cup or cardboard tube - and glue or tape it in place so it won't move. Then use it to support the roof.
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      This one is from 1986 - a two-story temple. It wasn't very stable, but it fed a lot of people! We actually made it at Ayyami-Ha but served it at Naw-Ruz. Because it was made from a honeyspice dough, it stayed in good condition.
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     In 1987 Sarah Bansemer designed a new temple with a much sleeker look. We had to make 36 cookies and the temple was fairly difficult to put together, but it was quite attractive.  After you've worked with the honey  dough for a year or two, you'll find that whatever you can make out of cardboard, you can make out of cookies!
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In 1988, we got even fancier and whipped up a batch of  royal icing to make a smooth   coat of icing on our temple. The icing was pale blue and the   diagonal lines were white. Green vines     climbed up the wall.


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A very sophisticated cookie temple was made by a friend who put together ascending layers of graham crackers. As you can see, he ornamented the edges with red candies, used dark frosting to suggest doors and circled the base with gum drops. It produced a tall structure that had maximum impact with a minimum of ingredients and NO baking.