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An easy and delicious recipe for authentic Moroccan almond cookies Ghriba. These little treats are gluten-free, take minutes to make and are delicious served with Moroccan mint tea.
An authentic recipe from my Moroccan family
There’s nothing I love more than experimenting with different cuisines. Moroccan food and treats hold a special place in my heart, as my partner is originally from Morocco. Throughout the years, I have come to love the distinct flavours of Morocco, along with their amazing sweet treats.
This recipe comes directly from Northern Morocco, and is as authentic as it gets. Many thanks to my wonderful Moroccan sisters-in-law for sharing their delicious recipes with me, and now with you all!
What are Moroccan almond cookies?
Moroccan almond cookies, known as Ghriba (or ghribia), are sweet treats prepared in Morocco and other North African countries. Ghriba are usually round in shape and made with almond flour, sugar, butter and apricot jam. These almond cookies are staple favourites in Morocco, traditionally served with sweet mint Moroccan tea.
Are Ghriba almond cookies gluten free?
Yes, Ghriba almond cookies can be gluten-free. However, there are multiple recipes for traditional Ghriba, some of which contain wheat. The gluten-free cookies are the ones made using only almond flour, without any wheat. Certainly, this recipe is 100% gluten-free, made with only almond flour and cornstarch.
Why Moroccan almond cookies are the best treats
Moroccan almond cookies are not only very easy and quick to make, but make a perfect match with any tea. Although I recommend serving them with some Moroccan mint tea, any type of tea will pair well. I also enjoy having ghriba cookies with earl grey or breakfast tea.
In addition, these almond cookies are:
- Extremely quick to make – only 5 minutes to prepare and 15 to bake
- Simple to prepare, requiring only one bowl (YAY, no intense washing up needed)
- Easy to make by anyone – no baking experience needed
- Not too sweet – especially if you do not powder them with icing sugar
- Can be Keto friendly by leaving out the cornstarch and replacing the icing sugar with sweeteners (erythritol, maltitol, etc)
Looking for diet-friendly or Keto snacks? Try out my Sugar Free Rainbow Cookies with only 54Kcals per serving.
Tips and tricks for perfect ghriba almond cookies
Use blanched almond flour
You want to choose a fine almond flour to make these cookies, as opposed to almond meal. Moreover, using fine blanched almond flour will ensure the texture is light and not too dense, as well as give the cookie a nice, even rise.
Mix the paste by hand
I recommend using your hands to mix the ingredients, although this can also be done using a spatula or wooden spoon. Going manual will ensure that the paste is uniformly mixed and all ingredients are incorporated properly. In addition, you will be less likely to overwork the paste, as you have more control over the process when using your hands. Plus, let’s not forget – using your hands is the traditional way of making these Moroccan almond cookies!
Wet your hands before forming the cookie balls
Once mixed, the paste will be fairly sticky. To prevent it from sticking to your hands, ensure your palms are soaked in water. This way it will be much easier to form the cookie balls between your palms.
Pro tip: add 2-3 drops of rosewater or orange blossom to the water you soak your hands in. This will give the almond cookies a wonderful and authentic Moroccan fragrance.
How to make Moroccan almond cookies
- Almond flour – the main dry ingredient. Use fine blanched almond flour like this one
- Cornstarch – helps bind the cookie together and makes it lighter
- Icing sugar – can be replaced with powder sweetener for Keto diets. Used to sweeten the cookie and for dusting over it for the ‘crinkle’ effect
- Melted butter – makes the cookie soft and chewy
- Egg whites – the ‘glue’ that holds everything together
- Lemon zest – ensure you use unwaxed lemons and grate finely. The zest gives a wonderful flavour.
- Apricot jam – can be replaced with peach jam as well. Used to add flavour to the cookie.
- Water & rosewater – Used to soak hands when forming the cookie balls (to prevent sticking). Rosewater can be replaced with orange blossom and adds an authentic Moroccan flavour.
Making the almond cookie dough
The best thing about this recipe (apart from the amazing taste) is the fact that it can be made using only one larger bowl. Goodbye washing-up nightmare!
Simply add all the ingredients into one bowl, then combine them into a paste using your hands.
Forming round almond cookies
In order to form the balls of almond paste, you will need to soak your palms in water infused with rosewater or orange blossom. By using wet palms, the dough will not stick to your hands, and you’ll be able to make perfectly round balls.
Baking the cookies
Baking the Moroccan almond cookies is very quick. These delicious treats will be ready in 15 minutes at 180C (or 360F) with fan. Once baked, let them cool in the tray for 5 minutes, then place them on a cooling rack to fully cool. Serve the ghribia Moroccan almond cookies with a side of Moroccan sweet mint tea!
Moroccan Almond Cookies (Ghriba) Gluten Free
- 1 ⅓ cups almond flour (225 g)
- 3 tbsp cornstarch (20 g)
- 2 tbsp butter (melted) (30 g)
- ¼ cup icing sugar (50 g)
- 2 egg whites (medium egg)
- 1 tsp baking powder (5 g)
- 1 tbsp apricot jam (15 g)
- ½ lemon zest
- ½ cup icing sugar (for dusting) (100 g)
- 2-3 drops rosewater or orange blossom water for rolling the cookies
- In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: almond flour, cornstarch, icing sugar and baking powder. Mix well to combine evenly.
- Add the wet ingredients: egg whites, melted butter, apricot jam and lemon zest. Using your hands mix everything until a smooth paste forms.
- Place some water in a small bowl and add 2-3 of rosewater or orange blossom water, then soak your hands in the fragrant water. Wet palms will prevent the cookie paste from sticking to your hands.
- Scoop up around 2 tbsp of the almond paste (or 25-30g), then roll it between your palms to form a round ball. Repeat the process for all the cookies - you should get 14-16 pieces depending on how big you make them.
- Toss each cookie through the icing sugar to coat them all around. Place the cookies on a lined baking tray, then with your fingers press on the top to gently flatten them.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C (360F) with fan on for 15 minutes. Once baked, allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.
- I recommend using a kitchen scale and grams for this recipe for higher accuracy.
- Ensure you use blanched fine almond flour, not almond meal. This will give cookies a light and much finer texture.
- Apricot jam can be replaced with peach jam as well. Other types of jams can be used as well, although I recommend using a lighter fragrance jam to preserve authenticity.
- If you do not have rosewater or orange blossom water, add 1/4 tsp of orange or lemon extract into the water you soak your hands in. This will give the cookies a wonderful fragrance.