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We are currently in Morocco, one of my favourite countries to visit, with so many memories of travelling up and down the coast back when I had no kids to think about!
One of the first things I did when we got here was to get my hands on some Ghriba, or Moroccan Almond Cookies, perfectly crumbly with just a touch of chewy and yes, perfect for dunking! But be warned, only dunk for a second or two or they’ll land at the bottom of your cup!
One of my favourite teatime treats, these Moroccan Almond Cookies remind me of so many other nut based cookies like the festive biskut kacang (peanut cookies) in Singapore and Malaysia and especially, sbrisolona, an Italian cookie made with ground almonds and cornmeal.
Moroccan Almond Cookies Recipe
Now, mind you, as with any popular recipe, Ghriba has many variations. As they are almond cookies, the almond tends to stay constant but the biggest difference is the addition of flour, whether plain or cornflour (cornstarch).
I much prefer the pure almond ones as I absolutely love the crumbly nature of the cookie made without any starch, and of course, that makes it gluten free too. Our local patisserie here has a few variations too, with pistachios and/or walnuts as well as vanilla and rose scented ones. I did like the rose scented ones!
This recipe is one I obtained ages ago here in Morocco from a little boulangerie and has been waiting forever to be published. I’m glad that not only am I finally doing it but I’m able to do it while sitting in our apartment here in Salé, a tiny town on the north west coast of Morocco, founded sometime in the 11th century.
The house above is one of many along the seafront, very close to where we are. Salé is a little off the beaten track, most folks tend to hit the bigger towns of Marrakech, Fes and Tangier and if they get anywhere near here, it’s usually just in Rabat but en route to somewhere else.
What is the Capital of Morocco?
We ought to be heading down to Rabat sometime next week; did you know that it’s the capital of Morocco? That’s right, most people assume that Marrakech is.
So, here’s the recipe I’ve been using for well over a decade now to make Ghriba, I’ve not changed it much from the original apart from leaving out the lemon zest as I don’t like bits in my cookies and doing away with the icing/powdered sugar coating as I find it too sickly, even if it does create prettier cookies.
I shall leave both up to you, I’ve included them as optional in this recipe, so you can experiment. As far as the icing sugar is concerned, coat half of them, you can then decide which you prefer. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
I am always looking for good quality ingredients to work with, preferably, organic. I was very fortunate this past week to have received a bag of organic almond flour from Organic Wonders UK. Amazing quality, just the right grain size and fragrant.
More Cookie Recipes on LinsFood
Head on over to the desserts page for more sweet recipes like the following:
If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!
And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood
Moroccan Almond Cookies (Ghriba)
- 250 g ground almonds (dry almond flour or almond meal)
- 125 g caster sugar (fine sugar)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 70 g salted butter
- 4 small egg yolks
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon optional
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F (Fan 160°C).
- Mix the ground almonds, the caster sugar, the salt and baking powder thoroughly in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, mix the butter and egg yolks together with a wooden spoon for about a minute, you won’t get a smooth mixture, don’t worry about it.
- Add 1 tsp of the lemon juice, lemon zest if using, and orange blossom water and mix again.
- Add the dry ingredients (almonds, etc) to the egg yolk and butter mixture and stir with the wooden spoon to mix as best as you can.
- Finish off with your hands, using only the tip of your fingers as we don’t want to knead the dough. Bring it all together, it will be a soft dough.
- Form little dough balls, roll them in the icing sugar (if you like, optional) and place on a baking sheet, leaving some space between each cookie. No need to press down, they will naturally spread.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 – 15 minutes, depending on how hot your oven gets. You are aiming for a light, golden colour.
- Leave to cool completely before removing from the baking sheet.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. You can even freeze them, well covered for up to 3 months.
27 thoughts on “Moroccan Almond Cookies (Ghriba | Gluten Free Cookies)”
Delicious. Turned out perfectly! Bonus- this recipe is very diabetic friendly . I substituted half monk fruit sugar, and skipped the rolling of the balls of dough in icing sugar. I did not have the orange blossom water. I look forward to trying that variation.
I’m really pleased to hear that, Deanna. And thank you for the information on making it diabetic friendly, very helpful.
They sound really tasty and I like to make them as a gift for my maroccan brother in law. Now I just wondered about the salted butter? Did you all take the salted one or is it also possible with the normal butter? Thank you for helping!
HI Elfie, by salted butter, I actually mean normal butter. I used to just say butter, but had so many readers asking salted or unsalted, that I started writing “salted butter”. So just regular butter that you buy is what you need. Good luck, let me know how it goes.
I have so many Middle Eastern and Moroccan recipes that you might be interested in cooking for your brother in law: https://www.linsfood.com/middle-eastern-recipes-moroccan-recipes/
Mine came out flat is there any reason why they didn’t swell
Hi Barbara, it sounds like you had too much moisture in the dough. Although there are so many reasons that cookies go flat.
1. Is your almond flour dry or moist? We want the dry sort.
2. Another culprit could also be baking powder that is no longer fresh.
3. Oven may also be too hot, are you using a fan oven? The temp has to be reduced accordingly.
I just made these a couple of days ago, naturally using the exact recipe, and they’ve all come out fine.
You could try chilling your cookies before baking.
Hi Azlin, thank you so much for the recipe. I tried it, the aroma is so unique. I used orange blossom water, it’s subtle and enticing! I read another comment asking about the texture, I thought it was going to be crumbly, as you described so. But mine turned out to be chewy, I used Kirkland almond flour from Costco, which I believe could be
more moist than dry. Any suggestions on making this less chewy and more crumbly?
Hi there, it’s not always easy following recipes from different parts of the world sometimes, given the different ingredients, size of eggs and so on.
The eggs play a big part in the texture of cookies. Egg yolks give cookies a chewy texture, while egg whites add crispness.
So here’s a suggestion. Use 2 eggs (both white and yolks) instead of just egg yolks. That ought to cut down on the chewiness.
Get back to me and let me know how they turn out.
Hi I have a question. I tried making it twice but found that my dough wasn’t very doughy but more wet and the cookies just spread and became flag. The first time I had melted the butter but the second time it was just room temperature. I feel like I’m doing something wrong which is why the doughy isn’t doughy and therefore the cookies are thin/flat versus thicken and crispy on the outside
Hi Saubia, that’s a shame, it’s frustrating when that happens. The immediate thing that comes to mind is the almond flour. Is it completely dry or is it the moist type? When you let it fall from your fingers, does it sprinkle like sugar, or more like wet sand slightly?
In the past I’ve had people having problems with the semolina and almond cakes on this site because of that.
We want our ground almonds (or almond flour) to be completely dry. If you can only get the moist sort, then reduce the butter to 50g, and cut down the eggs to 3 egg yolks.
BUT, I took a quick look at the recipe, and in the ingredients, I’ve written 1 lemon, instead of 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Although in the instructions, I do say 1 tsp. Perhaps you used the juice of 1 lemon? I’ll correct that now.
Let me know how you get on if you try again.
Thank you for the recipe. I have tried a few different versions but yours has come out the best so far. The only issue I had was the mixing of the butter with the egg yolks using just a wooden spoon. I found that there were pieces of butter that were not well enough mixed in some cookies so the melted and spread when baked.
Is the any reason not to add these two ingredients into the food processor with the almond/sugar mixture and pulse it to fully incorporate everything?
Hi Sam, you could do that if you wanted. This method that I use is something I grew up using from my granny’s kitchen, that I use for a couple of other recipes too. It’s interesting what you say about the butter still being in lumps in the dough, I’ve never seen that before.
I’ve tried using beaters to do the dough, but the dough ends up so soft and spreads.
However, I’ve not actually pulsed it.
Why don’t you give that a try and let me know if it works. I might do it too, but not for a couple of weeks, as I have a busy 2 weeks starting today.
I hope your well, I have a question about the butter measurement, does the recipe require 70 oz? that is 2 kgs of butter for 1 cup of almond meal, is this correct or am I missing something.
Thank your for your help 🙂
Hi Rania, I left out grams after 70! It should be 70g butter, which will be 2 1/2 oz. Have corrected it now. Thank you for spotting the error.
Just found this recipe and am anxious to try it. Gluten free recipes are always welcomed! Thank you, Azlin!
Wonderful, it’s a pleasure!
May I ask how many biscuits this recipe yields?
This recipe will give you about 20 – 30 cookies, depending on their size. You can make them as small or as big as you like. If you make them really small, cut down the cooking time to about 10 – 12 minutes.
Thank you Azlin, I’m planning to make these over the weekend, wish me luck!
How did it go?
My husbands family is from Fez and he always talks about a special cookie his grandma made for him. I’ve never had them, but from a recent trip to Morocco I discovered the Orange Blossom water and assumed it was the missing ingredient he couldn’t describe. I gave this a shot and surprised him. He LOVES them. Says they are perfect. Thanks.
Ahh.. love these cookies.. as always ur recipes are just too amazing.. I had one question though.. is there a substitute for orange blossom recipe in this recipe??
Thank you Shubha! If you can’t get orange blossom water, rose water would be perfect, or even just plain old vanilla.
I just wanted to say thanks for sharing! I’ve never heard of these before and I wish I had. They are delicious… subtle sweetness and interesting texture. They came out like a French macaroons. Are they supposed to be crumbly or chewy?
Hi, thanks for trying out the recipe and for letting me know. They tend to lean more towards crumbly, unlike the French macarons, which are definitely chewy. Glad you enjoyed them.
very, very tasty recipe. thank you.
Thank you, much appreciated and thanks for stopping by. x