May 25, 2008

Arabic Cardamom Shortbread Cookies (Ghorayebah)


Ghorayebah, also sometimes known as the “Queen’s Bracelets”, are fragile shortbread-like cardamom cookies. They derive their rather quaint name from their shape – each cookie is shaped from strand of dough, where the two ends are joined together and a blanched almond is pressed in at this joint. Thus the finished cookie looks like a bracelet with an almond “gem”. These cookies are sometimes served during Purim and thought to represent Queen Esther’s bracelets.

Ghorayebah is made through out the Middle East and there are many variations to the recipe. Some recipes use orange flower water or rose water, while some use pistachios instead of almonds. Some recipes call for use of almond extract and even suggest that the use of cardamom is optional.



While I have no idea which of these is the authentic recipe, I made some of these delicious cookies using the following recipe and as I had run out of almonds, I used chironji/ charoli (small nuts also known as cudpah nuts/ cudpah almonds). These nuts taste somewhat like almonds. I also shaped them into flat rounds rather than “bracelets”.



Ingredients:

 1 cup all purpose flour

½ cup ghee (clarified butter)
½ cup powdered sugar (I used granulated here, but powdered sugar works better)
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp powdered cardamom
25gm blanched, halved almonds



Method:

 
In a pan, heat the ghee. Add the sugar and keep mixing till the sugar dissolves. Take this off the heat. When it has cooled, add the cardamom powder, salt, baking soda and flour and knead everything gently to a soft non-sticky dough. If the dough is sticky add a little flour. The dough may seem a bit crumbly but this is alright as long as the dough holds its shape when held.

Shape the dough into walnut sized (about an inch in diameter) balls. To do this take the dough and clench it in your palm as if squeezing the dough, couple of times. This will make the dough clump together and take the shape of a ball, roughly. Now lightly roll the dough into round balls. Flatten gently and press down an almond half in the centre of each cookie. As I mentioned earlier, I used chirongi instead of almonds. Place on a greased sheet, leaving a little space between cookies. These cookies don't spread but puff up a bit. Bake at 180C for about 20minutes.

When done the cookies would have lost their whitish colour and just start becoming faintly golden. It is very important that the cookies do not brown or they would burn on the inside and become hard.
Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container. This recipe makes about 15 cookies which are 2" in diameter.
These cookies would be a bit flaky and fragile with a rich buttery, shortbread texture and taste, a lot like the “Nankhatai” we make in India.

I'm entering these shortbread cookies for Think Spice, Think Cardamom which is Sunitha's event idea and being hosted this month at Simple Indian Food.
This is also going across to be a part of A.W.E.D. : Middle eastern Cuisine started by DK of Culinary Bazaar and being hosted at Siri's Corner this month.

22 comments:

Siri said...

the cookies look yummy and delish Aparna!

Siri

Happy cook said...

Autnhentic or not it looks delicious

Sangeeth said...

very yummy and nicely clicked :)

notyet100 said...

nice one..

swathi said...

nice cookies aparna,

Hetal said...

Delicious cookies..nice recipe!!

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Arabic cookies!.... Different try. Love it. Looks so cute.

zlamushka said...

Aparna,
arabic cookies look fabulous. Great recipe for me, since I am not egg-friendly.

jack said...

Posted this link in www.surfurls.com

Asha said...

Those are one plump cookies, great entry A!:)

Mansi Desai said...

they look awesome Aparna:)

vegeyum said...

i can almost taste these already. They sound so delicious.

farida said...

I love the texture of this cookies from the picture. Your house must be filled with the nice aroma from cardamom. NIce recipe!

Rosie said...

Oh what delicious cookies Aparna!

Rosie x

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those cookies look fabulous and must taste great! Lovely!

Cheers,

Rosa

Sunshinemom said...

Aparna, they look yum! Seem quite simple too!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

These look YUM Aparna...love the flavours & the fact that the recipe uses regular ingredients. Very nice indeed...great entry!

Bubbles said...

wOw! Yummy cookies. Lovely pics too. Thanks for sharing

Madhuram said...

I can imagine the aroma while you were baking these cookies. When you have time could you leave the link to this cookie in the submit form I have.

Rashmi said...

yum yum cookies... great snacks for kids... for this summer...

this is first time i am visiting ur blog...
do visit mine when u find time.. and leave ur comments and suggestions...
http://envittuvirundhusamayal.blogspot.com

Elaine Lowe said...

Thanks for this! I wanted cardamom shortbread, and this recipe fit the bill! I doubled the recipe, replaced some of the AP flour with almond flour, and added some orange blossom water. They taste wonderful!

Aparna said...

Really happy that you liked them, Elaine. :)