Ghoraibi Butter Cookie Recipe

Moroccan almond biscuit, close-up
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  • Total: 27 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 12 mins
  • Yield: about 4 dozen (48 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
137 Calories
11g Fat
9g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: about 4 dozen (48 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 137
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 31mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 2g
Calcium 22mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Ghoraibi, sometimes spelled ghraybeh, gorayba, ghrybe or even grhybe, are butter cookies popular in Lebanese cuisine as well as across the whole of the Middle East. No matter how you spell them, though, the word is always pronounced gri (rhymes with high) bee.

As is often the case, there are plenty of variations and family special recipes. But the hallmark of these cookies is that they are buttery, not overly sweet, and are supposed to be white in color. Even the traditional almond nestled on top is blanched to continue the white on white appearance. For that reason, ghoraibi are often served at weddings because the color represents purity. They are also readily available in almost all bakeries across the region.

Similar to other butter cookies like sables or Danish biscuits, ghoraibi are made with very few ingredients. Well creamed butter, sugar and flour contribute to the cookie's crisp texture. They are not leavened with either baking powder or baking soda but it is necessary to chill the dough for at least an hour to let the flour hydrate and make it easier to handle.

Many butter cookies are also flavored with a little bit of extract. Vanilla is the most typical but almond extract is more common for ghoraibi and the blanched almond on top helps to identify the flavor. Some bakers also enjoy using a bit of orange blossom water instead of the almond extract.

The most common shape is a diamond resulting in slicing the roll of dough on a diagonal. However, S shapes are often found, as well as classic rounds. Other than at weddings, these buttery cookies are ideal to serve with an afternoon cup of tea or Arabic coffee.

Ingredients

  • 4 sticks (32 tablespoons or 2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups almonds (blanched and halved)
  • 1 teaspoon clear almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl for 5 minutes, or until fluffy. Add in the almond extract. Slowly add in the all-purpose flour. If you do not have a heavy-duty stand mixer and are using a hand-held, you may want to mix in half of the flour with the mixer, then the remaining with a spoon. This will lessen the risk of burning out the motor on a hand mixer.​​

  2. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for up to one hour.

  3. Roll out the chilled cookie dough on a well floured surface. Roll into a rope that is 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.​

  4. Cut diagonally into diamond shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Place one almond in the center of each cookie.

  5. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove and cool on cooling racks.