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Egyptian (or other nationalities) Ghoraiba

Posted by on Sep. 28, 2012 at 8:54 PM
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Does anyone have any recipies for Ghoriaba?  Their a pretty basic butter type cookie but the recipie my MIL gave me just doesn't seem right.  It tasets right but either it's missing something or she left out some important step.  The problem I have is that they are going flat when I make them.  I've seen multiple variations on this cookie where some people put an almond on the top or leave it un-topped.  I usually insert a clove into the top as this is the way DH's family makes it (and I love cloves so...).  The cookie is supposed to be a round ball so I don't know what exactly I'm doing wrong.  The recipe doesn't have any baking soda or baking powder but when I looked at similar type cookies that wasn't in them either.  Does the dough need to be chilled for an hour like a sugar cookie maybe?  Do I need to maybe cook them at a lower temperature?  My MIL said cook them at "normal" temperature so I did them at 350 but maybe Egyptian "normal" is different?  I believe this type of cookie is common all over North Africa.  Any thoughts, recipie, tips, etc... would be appreciated.  I'd like to perfect the recipe before the next eid comes if possible.

by on Sep. 28, 2012 at 8:54 PM
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Replies (1-8):
AzIzAzIzA
by Member on Sep. 30, 2012 at 8:56 AM

I would love to get that recipe too.  As a kid i used to love these-we would buy from a local arab bakery-but none of mine come out either---either hockey pucks or melted slabs on the cookie sheet!!


"Those who try to silence the truth only succeed in spreading it."

MTATMA
by New Member on Oct. 10, 2012 at 7:49 PM
They make this in morocco with an almond on top sometimes I think they roll them in powder sugar. I love them but I haven't tried to make them.
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-Cassandra-
by New Member on Oct. 10, 2012 at 8:32 PM

I'm going to try making them again in the next few weeks before the eid.  I'm going to try baking one batch at a lower temp and if that doesn't help I'll try chilling them first.  If I have any success I'll share it here.  If anyone has any tips to share before I start making them I'd really appreciate it.

MTATMA
by New Member on Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:29 AM
If you go to morrocanfood.about.com she has seven recipes for ghoriba and her recipes are usually good.
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-Cassandra-
by New Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Thanks for that.  I did look over the recipies.  None of them was the clove version I'm used to but most of them also used egg and/or baking powder(or was that baking soda?... I can't remember now).  I suspected that possibly the baking powder/soda might be a missing ingredient but I know for sure it didn't have egg.  I made it once with my MIL and wrote down what she said the ingredients were (as translated through my  DH) and eggs were definately not in it.  I don't recall her using and baking powder/soda either but I could be mistaken.  They all say cook at 350* (one was 375*) but I'm thinking of trying the recipe I have at 250* to see if they cook beter with egg in it at 350 there is probably enough of a catalyst to keep the shape of a ball but without the egg I think maybe they will keep their shape and bake up better at a slightly lower temp.  Most of those recipes do not say to chill but one of them did so if the lower temp doesn't work I might try that... or maybe be lazy and try them together at the same time.   Here's a picture of the ones I made before they are in the middle.

This is the recipe and instructions I have so far for it... I changed the temp to 250* since I'm hoping that will make it work :)



Ghoraiba

Ingredients:

·          1 cup butter - softened (or ghee)

·          1 cup sugar

·          2 cups flour

·         ½ teaspoons vanilla

·         Powdered Sugar (optional)

·         Whole Cloves or Halved Almonds

Directions:

1.       Preheat oven to 250*.  Prep baking tray with wax paper

2.       Cream together butter and sugar till consistency is even

3.       Slowly stir in flour starting with ¼ cup and adding about 2 tbsp incrementally.

4.       Stir in Vanilla.

5.       Using a teaspoon, spoon out about ½ - 1 tsp of dough and roll it into a ball.  Place balls evenly spaced about 1 inch apart on the wax paper.

6.       Insert clove into center of each ball or press an almond into the top.

7.       Bake on center rack in oven for about 20 minutes or until they cook to an "off-white" color (not tan).

8.       Let cool 10-15 minutes then If desired roll warm cookies in powdered sugar.

9.       Present with style.


MTATMA
by New Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I would try a higher temp shorter baking time but they look good to me.
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AzIzAzIzA
by Member on Oct. 16, 2012 at 6:09 AM

Moroccan Ghoraiba is much different than Egy/syr/Jor/pal (Levant countries) ghoraiba.  Theirs is more like a cake.  But let us know how ur recipe goes-mine either melt into the pan or come out like hockey pucks.  One idea-i was told to use powdered sugar rather than actual sugar.  Something about being lighter.  But once i have some time i will help in your search!!

-Cassandra-
by New Member on Oct. 18, 2012 at 12:08 PM

I agree that the Maghrebi Ghoraiba and Levant Ghoraiba are quite different.  Egyptian Ghoraiba is more similar to Russian Tea Cakes/Butterballs/Mexican Wedding Cakes but it's a little softer.

I did make a few batches yesterday.  I tried one again at 350* (which is what I orignally tried) thinking it's possible I just measured something wrong the first time around.  They turned out mostly flat and a little crispier than usual.  I had to substitute vanilla sugar/vanillin for the usual liquid vanila flavoring which took out just a little bit of moisture though so I believe they all turned out a little drier and crunchier than they would have otherwise so I will be picking up liquid vanilla flavor today to try again (You can sub vanillin but you have to compensate for it and I don't want to play around too much with it till I perfect the recipe as is then I can figure out what to sub and how much)

I tried at 400* as well for just 10 minutes.  They baked fine and kept their shape better but.... They turned out pretty crisp and the bottoms browned quite a bit.  Finally I tried a batch at 250* and they turned out almost perfect.  They were still a little crisp but just a little.  I did the for 30 minutes as opposed to 20 which was the baking time for 350*.  It's possible they turned out more crisp because again the vanillin is a dry ingredient so it wasn't as moist as it should have been.  It's also possible that it didn't need an entire 10 minutes extra.  Maybe an extra 5 minutes would have done it.

So my conclusions so far are that (I experiemented with sizes as well) the balls need to be small like the size of a malted milk ball.  I fit each of my balls into my 1/2 tsp. measuing spoon and those are the ones that turned out best.  Anything bigger than that will just melt down or brown too much on the outside and be uncooked in the middle.  I believe what happens is that at the higher temperature it bakes it fast so that it sets quickly but it also dries it out too much making it crisp and the pan gets too hot browning the bottoms.  At 350* it's not hot enough to set the cookie before it gets too hot and starts to set.  So cookie spreads out and then because it's thin it browns and gets crispy pretty quick.  The lower temp doesn't get hot enough to make the cookie melt before it can set and doesn't brown the cookie on the bottome because the pan doesn't get too hot.  It seems to provide the most even cooking throughout the cookie. 

Small little balls work best.  I know they seem tiny but they puff up a little when they cook so they are a decent size when they come out.  They bake better on parchment paper than wax paper.  The 250* batch was visually perfect.  The whole thing bottoms and all were a beautiful off-white color just like the rest of the ball.  I'm hoping that by using the liquid vanilla flavor I'll be able to determine what is the best time range on the cookies but for now I'm thinking 20-30 minutes.

I think using powdered sugar could help them hold their shape but it would change the flavor and texture of the cookie a little.  Powdered sugar has cornstarch in mixed in it because finely ground sugar tends to clump up and the cornstarch gives it the powdery look and keeps it from clumping up as much.  As far as baking it provides a catalyst that would thicken the cookie (the same one that allows it to thicken broth to gravy, milk to pudding, etc...  So you probably could use it but I think the texture and taste would vary a little.  I might have to try it sometime and see how it comes out though.

I'll let everyone know how they turn out with the liquid vanilla at 250* and which cooking time works best ;)

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