566- Almond Ghriba (Mlouza) / غريبة اللّوز

Ghriba in Moroccan means “the strange one”. I am not sure where this name comes from, because there is nothing strange about this cookie! Ghriba is a simple round-shaped cookie that is made with different types of nuts: Almond Ghriba, Walnut Ghriba, Coconut Ghriba, etc. and they are often gluten free as the base is the nut paste. We will discover a few types of Ghriba in this book; in the meantime, let’s start with the best of them all the Mlouza, which means “made of almonds”. You can use the same almond paste that we have already prepared!

Ingredients

Cookie Dough Ingredients:
250 grams (9 oz) homemade almond paste
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Shaping Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup orange blossom water (or just water)

Directions

1- In a large bowl, combine the almond paste, lemon zest, egg yolk, and baking powder. Mix well by hand until all ingredients are well incorporated into a smooth dough.

2- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Prepare your station for rolling. You will need: the almond paste, powdered sugar in a plate, and orange blossom water.

3- Keep your hands moistened with some orange blossom water or just water, and begin shaping the almond mixture into balls the size of a walnut. Roll each ball in powdered sugar until all sides are well covered.

4- Place the cookies in a baking pan covered with parchment paper, and put a dent in the center of the each cookie with the tip of your finger.

5- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cookies have a light golden color.

6- When Ghriba cookies are still hot, they are soft, but as they cool down, they become chewy. Let the cookies cool down completely before serving with mint tea!