Fine semolina (smida) provides great texture and flavor in this light, traditional variation of a Moroccan cookie known as ghoriba. Additional flavor comes from orange flower water and either lemon zest or vanilla.
Although semolina ghoribas are easy to make, do give care when making the dough – too soft, the cookies will spread and lose shape; too stiff, the end product will crumble. Serve the cookies at tea time or as part of a special occasion spread.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: Approx. 70 2" cookies
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 cups (175 g) sifted powdered sugar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons (50 ml) melted butter
- 3 1/2 tablespoons (50 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (or the zest from 2 lemons)
- 2 3/4 cups (500 g) fine semolina, plus additional if needed
- orange flower water, for shaping the cookies
- powdered sugar or granulated sugar, for garnish
Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C). Line two or three baking sheets with lightly oiled parchment paper.
With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick. Beat in the melted butter, vegetable oil, baking powder and vanilla (or lemon zest). Gradually add the fine semolina, mixing to ensure even distribution of ingredients. The mixture at this point will be sandy and coarse.
With a rubber spatula, fold the beaten egg whites into the semolina mixture until the egg whites are fully incorporated and a soft dough has formed. If the dough is too soft to mound without spreading or drooping, fold in more semolina, one or two tablespoons at a time, until the dough can be scraped with the spatula into a mound and hold its shape. Allow the dough to rest a few minutes.
Set out small bowls of orange flower water and sugar. Wet your hands and fingers with a little orange flower water, take a small portion of dough and gently shape it into a 1" (2.5 cm) ball. Roll the ball in sugar and place on the prepared baking pan. Repeat with the remaining dough, allowing two-inch spacing on the pans between the balls of dough.
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until light golden with slightly darker edges and cracked tops. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the parchment paper with the cookies to a wire rack. When the cookies are cool enough to handle, gently loosen them from the parchment paper and then leave to cool completely.
Store the semolina ghoribas in an airtight container at room temperature for several days, or in the freezer for up to two months.