Ghribiya / Ghoriba غريبة~ irresistible, melt in your mouth Shortbread Cookies from the Maghreb and Middle East.
These Ghoriba are the easiest cookies going, easier than traditional Scottish shortbread as you don’t even have to roll out the dough.
The main difference between European shortbread and Middle Eastern / North African shortbread is the former tends to use butter whilst the latter uses oil.
Credit to Sherazade for the original recipe.
I changed her recipe slightly by pressing a candy coated anise seed into the top of each cookie before baking but you may use nuts, candied fruit or don’t add anything at all.
When translating the recipe from French to English Google translate didn’t give me a type of sugar to use so I used icing sugar but most sugars would work here too (I would avoid brown sugar because it tends to soften things). The bake time in Sherazade’s recipe isn’t stated so I looked at the cookies, guestimated 20 minutes and was right masha’Allah.
These shortbread have a wonderfully sandy like texture on the outside with a little crunch inside. They are basic in flavour with just a hint of sweet cinnamon on the surface of the cookies but feel free to add some cinnamon to the dough too or mix up the spices (swap cinnamon for green cardamom) and adding some citrus zest to the cookie dough would be good too.
Ghribiya in general are good to eat with coffee but this particular type sprinkled with cinnamon is exceptionally good.
Shortbread Cookies from the Maghreb and Middle East
- 3 cups Plain Flour
- 1 cup Icing Sugar
- drop of vanilla extract
- 1 cup Sunflower Oil
- Candy coated anise seeds, Nut(s) to decorate (optional)
- Cinnamon, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4. In a large bowl mix flour with sugar, add vanilla and oil gradually stirring with a knife then bring it together with your hands to form a dough.
- Scoop a tablespoon of dough for each cookie, roll into balls or shape as desired, place cookies on baking sheet(s), press anise seeds / nut into the center of each (optional) and sprinkle with cinnamon (the more cinnamon, the better).
- Bake on middle shelf for 20 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.
1 British Cup =250ml
*Recipe updated from 2015