Arabian Gulf Shortbread Cookies (Ghiraybah)

Total Time
Prep 30 mins
Cook 25 mins

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.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 cup clarified butter (samneh, I have always used just sweet butter without clarifying)
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 12 cups 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!


Most Helpful

Very simple and delicate. I used a real good quality margarine. Baking time was 22 minutes using a convection oven. I will give those to my husband as "secret sweets" for him at work. I know that he will appreciate this. Prepared in a small present box will be very cute for sure.
Thanks a lot Umm for your recipe.

awalde April 25, 2012

Very easily prepared little biscuits, lovely with coffee! We put on slivered almonds AND sifted icing sugar! Baked perfectly, a pleasure to make. Thank you UmmBinat, a very nice recipe, made for PRMR tag game.

Karen Elizabeth March 06, 2012

These were delicate melt in your mouth cookies.Delicious.They went perfectly with cardamom black tea.Made with unbleached whole wheat flour and toasted almonds.

strangelittlebeast January 27, 2012

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