Moroccan Ghoriba Cookie Recipes

Ghoriba (or ghriba)  refers to a wide variety of Moroccan cookies which are usually shaped by rolling dough into a ball. Some are chewy like macaroons while others are shortbread-like in texture.

The cookie dough is handled in different ways. Sometimes the balls are slightly flattened prior to baking, other times the balls are left as-is or instead pressed onto specially molded ghoriba baking pans, which creates a concave rather than a flat-bottomed cookie. 

Ghoribas often sport characteristic...MORE cracks across their surface. The cracked top, which is sometimes referred to as bahla, is considered highly desirable by some cooks and cookie connoisseurs. Some recipes suggest that the cracks are best achieved by placing the cookies under a top heating element or broiler for a few minutes until the balls of dough develop cracks, then moving the cookies to a normal position in the preheated oven to finish baking with the lower heating element.

Below is a round-up of the ghoriba recipes published on the site.

  • 01 of 11
    Moroccan shortbread cookies
    Ghoriba Bahla - Moroccan Shortbread. Christine Benlafquih

    These Moroccan shortbread cookies with toasted sesame seeds sport a desirably cracked surface. They're a family favorite and very easy to make. Be sure to use unhulled golden sesame seeds for an authentic result.

  • 02 of 11
    Ghoribas-Coconut-3264-x-2176.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Ghoribas with Coconut are delicious Moroccan macaroons with a crisp crust. This traditional recipe uses semolina, which perfectly complements the flavor and texture of coconut.

  • 03 of 11
    Ghoribas-Walnut-4000-x-3000.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    The texture of these cookies is similar to macaroons, with a crispy crust and chewy interior. Rich with the flavor of walnuts, they're easy to prepare and store well.

  • 04 of 11
    almond-ghoriba-799-x-600.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    This recipe is for a classic Moroccan almond ghoriba, or chewy macaroon-like cookie. The instructions call for passing blanched almonds through a meat grinder to achieve a moist almond paste. If you don't have a grinder, process the almonds as finely as possible with a food processor.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11
    Ghoribas-Semolina-4000-x-3000.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Fine semolina provides the classic texture to these traditional Moroccan cookies. Orange flower water and vanilla (or lemon zest) add flavor.

  • 06 of 11

    Chewy Chocolate Ghoribas with Dark Cocoa

    ghoribas-chocolate-chewy-3255-x-1831.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    A deep chocolate sugar cookie with a crispy crust and chewy interior. A sugar garnish adds texture and complimentary sweetness to the rich cocoa flavor. 

  • 07 of 11
    ghoribas-chocolate-5-2905.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Crunchy, shortbread-like texture with dark cocoa powder and chopped dark chocolate. Make them small for tea time spreads or larger for afternoon snacking.

     

  • 08 of 11
    ghoriba-honey-1-edit.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    These simple tea time treats are flavored with honey and lemon zest. They're quick and easy to make on short notice for unexpected company or for an after school snack.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11
    Ghoribas-Cinnamon-4000-x-3000.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    No chilling time for the dough makes these easy cinnamon cookies a snap to prepare. Bake them until barely colored for a chewier cookie, or until golden for crispy, melt-in-the-mouth texture.

  • 10 of 11

    Ghoribas with Sliced Almonds

    Ghoribas-with-Sliced-Almonds-4000-x-3000.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    This variation of the traditional Moroccan almond ghoriba features a sliced almond garnish and simple syrup glaze.

  • 11 of 11
    ghoriba-purisima-3303-x-2187.jpg
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    A soft-textured cookie flavored with lemon zest and vanilla. You can whip these up in a snap, but they're best when allowed to rest overnight to develop a richer flavor and softer texture.