Ghraybeh is a crumbly shortbread cookie made in different parts of the Middle East to enjoy during celebrations throughout the year and for sharing with family and friends during the holidays. In this recipe, we’re excited to guide you through a gluten-free rendition of this classic treat in our gluten free meals section, allowing you to savor these delightful cookies without the concern of gluten.
The first written record of this recipe, although made without almonds, was given the name khushkanānaj gharib (meaning “exotic cookie” in Arabic) and was documented in the oldest Arabic cookbook known to this day, the 10th century Kitab al-Ṭabīḫ. Later, around the 15th century, a very similar recipe appeared in Ottoman kitchen writings under the name kurabiye.
These recipes take the basic form of the classic shortbread cookies and add nuts, spices, and flavorings such as pistachios, peanuts, orange blossom water, rose water, cardamom, and saffron. The added herbs in this recipe increase the vitamin and mineral content being consumed and bring a more dynamic flavor while enjoying the added health benefits.
Ghraybeh: A Shortbread Cookie
- 2 cups almond or chickpea flour
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 1 cup ghee
- 1 tsp dried rose petals
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 3 tbsp nettle leaves (dried)
- 3 tbsp dried gotu kola
- 1 handful dried rose petals and pistachios for topping
- Mix the ghee and icing sugar with a blender until well combined. Divide the mixture in half to make two batches of the ghraybeh
- Add 1 cup of flour to one bowl and 1 cup of flour to another bowl
- Powder all the herbs and sift in the rose petals, cardamom, and rose water into one bowl of flour, and sift the nettle and gotu kola leaves into the other bowl of flour. Separately mix the contents of each bowl
- Add the ghee-icing sugar mixture into two bowls of flour in equal portions and mix each until you get a smooth, play-dough consistency and shape it into a ball
- Cover the ball of shortbread with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes
- Take out the shortbread dough, and roll out each batch to 12 (bite-sized) balls for a total of 24
- Flatten the top of each ball slightly and place them apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Insert 1 pistachio or 1 almond in the center of each dough, pressing gently, and add some rose petals to the center of the thumbprint
- Bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool completely before handling them as they could break easily. You can enjoy these as is or with a side of honey for a perfect tea-time holiday treat.
Benefits of Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola, Centella asiatica, is best known as a brain tonic, acting as a cognitive enhancer and aiding memory retention. It is also an adaptogen that can ease the body out of increased cortisol (stress hormone) release and reduce feelings of mental fatigue. As a vascular tonic, this herb can strengthen the integrity of blood vessels and improve microcirculation, specifically in the brain.
Want more Gluten Free Meals That Heal – Check out our Meal Plan