Morocco,Ghoriba Bahla Shortbread Cookies Recipe!

Morocco,Ghoriba Bahla Shortbread Cookies Recipe!

Moroccan Delight: Ghoriba Bahla Shortbread Cookies Recipe!

Although you can make these classic Moroccan shortbread cookies plain, they’re so much better with crunchy, nutty additions of unlulled sesame and almonds. Use one or the other, or both.

The dough is formed into balls, which are then gently flattened, just like with so many other ghoribas. The visible cracks are greatly desired and are what characterize this shortbread ghoriba as bahla, a Moroccan Arabic word that meaning stupid. If you bite into some of that crunchy yet melt-in-your-mouth shortbread bliss, you probably won’t care whether it’s foolish that a cookie should bake with cracks or silly because the cracks mimic crooked smiles.

Despite the absurdity, your shortbread ghoriba shouldn’t be termed bahla if they don’t contain cracks like those in the Ghoriba with Toasted Sesame Recipe. To get those fissures, the dough’s texture doesn’t require much thought.

A single-acting baking powder must be kneaded into the dough just before shaping and baking in some recipes after the dough has rested for several hours or overnight. This recipe skips the resting phase, but to get the right consistency, the dough needs to be knead by hand or in a stand mixer for a lengthy period.

Ghoriba Bahla were traditionally baked on a shaped baking sheet, producing cookies with a concave bottom. Today, a traditional baking sheet is preferred by many amateur bakers. The unique pan is shown in the photo lesson.

Morocco,Ghoriba Bahla Shortbread Cookies Recipe!


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, unhulled
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Steps to Make It

Make the Dough

  1. Ahead of time, toast the sesame by spreading the seeds in a single layer and baking in a 400 F / 200
  2. Oven for about 10 minutes; let cool. Blanch and fry the almonds, then grind coarsely.
  3. Combine the sugar, butter, and oil in a large bowl.
  4. Mix in the sesame seeds, almonds, and vanilla sugar.
  5. Mix in about half of the flour and the baking powder. When combined, use your hands to work in enough of the remaining flour to make a dry, crumbly mixture.
  6. Use a stand mixer and paddle attachment to mix the dough on the lowest speed for 10 minutes, or knead by hand for 20 minutes, to make a dough that clumps together but is not so moist as to form one uniform mass. If the dough seems to be too moist, add a little flour. Conversely, if the dough remains too dry and crumbly to pack into a ball easily, then add a tablespoon or two of oil. In either case, allow ample mixing time to blend any additions fully throughout the dough.
Morocco,Ghoriba Bahla Shortbread Cookies Recipe!

Shape and Bake the Cookies

1: Preheat your oven to 338 F / 170 C. If you don’t have a special ghoriba mold, line a regular baking sheet with parchment paper. There is no need to grease the ghoriba mold.

2: Take a portion of dough and squeeze it in your hand to compress and mold it. Shape it into a 1 1/2-inch (3.5 centimeter) ball, then flatten it in your palm to a smooth disc shape. Correct any cracked edges.

3: Gently press the cookie onto the molded pan or place on your prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining dough. Plan to bake in batches.

4: Place the baking rack to its lowest position and turn on the broiler. Bake the cookies for 5 or 6 minutes, then turn off the broiler and move the cookies to the upper third of the oven. Continue baking for another 15 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly colored with crackled tops.

5: Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool a few minutes on the pan. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container with waxed paper or plastic between layers.

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