Joan Nathan:

Cookie recipe from “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous”!

This melt-in-your-mouth cookie, called ghouribi by Moroccans, comes from Oran, Algeria, but is widely used across North Africa. I love its soft, crumbly texture made from crushed nuts and sugar. It reminds me of Mexican wedding tea cakes or Greek kourambiedes. You can substitute butter for the oil if you like. These irresistible and simply made drop cookies are eaten on Purim, Hanukkah, and Shabbat, when Moroccan Jews decorate the table with flowers and sweets. It is also one of the symbolic cookies that women gather together today in France to make for weddings and other lifecycle events.

  • 1 cup vegetable, canola, safflower oil or melted butter
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup finely ground almonds
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Pour the oil or butter into a mixing bowl. Stir in the confectioners' sugar, almonds, mixing well. 

Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and half the cinnamon. Add to the oil mixture and stir until blended. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

If, when you remove the batter from the refrigerator, it is a bit runny, then just add a little more flour to make it hold its shape. Scoop up level tablespoons of cookie dough and mold it with your hands into balls. Arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. 

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until beige-colored, changing the position of the cookie sheets half way through. 

Yield: About 30 cookies (D or P)