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Arabian Gulf Shortbread Cookies (Ghiraybah)

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“Very nice little Middle Eastern shortbread cookies. I like to give these as gifts or make them for tea time. I also make them often for my FIL's diwaniya (men's gathering) to enjoy with their Arabic coffee or tea. Recipe from The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mallos.”
35 cookies

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 236.59 ml clarified butter (samneh, I have always used just sweet butter without clarifying)
  • 236.59 ml icing sugar, sifted
  • 591.47 ml all-purpose flour
  • blanched slivered almond, to garnish (loz)
  • additional icing sugar, for dusting


  1. First of all, sifting is an important part which must not be left out or the cookies will not turn out the right texture so be sure you have a sieve.
  2. If need be, chill samneh or butter in refrigerator if too soft. (It should be somewhat soft just not very soft)
  3. Put samneh in mixing bowl and beat until light. Gradually add sifted icing sugar, beating until very creamy and light.
  4. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  5. Sift flour and fold into butter mixture. Knead lightly until smooth. (Don't overdo it) If kitchen is hot, chill dough in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  6. Roll pieces of dough into balls the size of a walnut and place on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly. Flour hand lightly if necessary. Top half or all with a slivered almond. (I like to do half with the nuts and half with the dusting of icing sugar after cooled).
  7. Bake in the preheated moderately slow oven for 20-25 minutes until very lightly coloured. Cool on baking sheets. Dust the other half without the almond slivers with icing sugar. (Makes for a pretty presentation of the mixed biscuits on a platter) then remove. These are very delicate biscuits and must be handled carefully.
  8. Enjoy!

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