Traditional Moroccan Ghribas cookies on a bronze tray close-up, selective focus.
Food - Drink
The Classic Moroccan Shortbread Cookies With Distinct Crinkles
Moroccan Ghoribas are a category of round cookies made with different types of nuts, from walnuts to almonds and even coconuts. Ghoriba bhala are a crunchy and slightly crumbly shortbread ghoriba variation, and bhala means "silly,” referring to the crinkles on the cookie that almost make it look like it's smiling at you.
Ghoribas began with centuries-old versions of shortbread cookies from the Middle East, often using one part sugar, two parts fat, and three parts flour, and these treats then spread to other nations like Spain, Scotland, and Morocco. Scottish shortbread developed separately from the Moroccan kind, but both arose during the 12th century.
Both Scottish and Moroccan shortbread cookies started out similar to biscuits, but the many types of ghoriba are a bit more festive with flavors like rosewater, almonds, and pistachios. Ghoriba bahla contains sesame seeds and almonds, plus ingredients like vanilla sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, unsalted butter, and vegetable oil.
Some bakers add the sesame seeds to the dough, while others roll the cookie in the seeds, and the almonds almost act as flour after being blanched, fried, and ground. To make ghoriba bahla, the dough is mixed, bakers break off small pieces and flatten them into a disc-like shape, then bake them and let them cool to avoid too much crumbling.