Ghoriba – Moroccan Butter Cookies


October 5, 2010 by Dana

Yesterday I got a message from my brother on Twitter.  Like any snarky caring little brother would do, he alerted me of a faux pas I had made.  Apparently, my Napolean Dynamite reference was sadly outdated.  It was seven years too late, to be precise.

Fortunately, he was able to look past my mistake.  He still voted for me.  We are family, afterall.

If you weren’t able to be as forgiving as my brother, if you couldn’t see past this gaffe, I totally understand.  If you didn’t vote for me because you were so offended by my archaic reference, I offer you this recipe to make amends.

Believe me, you are getting a good deal.  This recipe is worth far more than an apology for an outdated movie reference.  This is I’m sorry I ate the last oreo good.  I’m sorry I ruined your favorite shirt good.  I’m sorry I lost your cat good.

You don’t even have to take my word about how good they are.  This recipe made 80 cookies, so I got a lot of feedback.  Everyone at my Mediterranean Dinner Cruise, my Business Communications project group, my colleagues, my doorman, and the security guard at my school library all raved about these cookies.

If you don’t have an entire army to cook for, feel free to halve the recipe.  Or don’t, and make some new friends.


4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 T cinnamon and 1/6 cup toasted sesame seeds*
OR 4 T cinnamon
OR 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds*

To make these Ghoriba cookies, I combined two recipes from, primarily following this one.   I decided to make 40 cinnamon cookies and 40 sesame seed cookies.  Both were delicious, so I would suggest doing the same.  But, if you have a preference, I did include directions to make a large batch of either flavor instead.

*To toast the sesame seeds, spread them on baking sheet and place in a 400° F oven for about 10 minutes, or until they have a nutty aroma and crunchy texture


1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Sift together the flour and salt.  Set aside. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg yolks.  Gradually mix in the flour mixture to form a thick, stiff dough.

3. For 80 cinnamon flavored cookies, add 4 tablespoons cinnamon to the dough.  For 80 sesame seed cookies, add 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds to the dough.  For 40 cinnamon flavored cookies and 40 sesame seed cookies, split the dough into two bowls.  Add 2 tablespoons cinnamon to one bowl, and 1/6 cup toasted sesame seeds to the other.  Mix well.

4. Shape the dough into small balls about 1″ in diameter. Place the balls on ungreased baking sheets and flatten them by pressing with a fork in a criss-cross pattern. Brush the tops lightly with egg white (not too much – I had quite a bit of egg white left over).

5. Bake the cookies 8 to 9 minutes, or until barely colored for a chewy cookie; bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden for a crispy cookie. (I did exactly 10 minutes and they were a perfect balance of chewy and crispy)

6. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a minute before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Now that I’ve shared this absolutely delicious recipe with you, I hope we are on good terms again.  So please, if you haven’t already, go vote for me.  Thank you!!

27 thoughts on “Ghoriba – Moroccan Butter Cookies

  1. Ha! I hated that movie but I appreciate the originality! I’m surprised I hated it as I usually like your off the wall films that make no sense or have no logic. I must have been in a bad mood when I watched it.

    These cookies would make anyone forget anything though! They look great! You got my vote! Can’t wait to see who makes it through!! It’s really getting exciting!

  2. Roxan says:

    It’s ok, I always appreciate a Napoleon Dynamite reference! But I’ll take the butter cookie recipe too :) thanks!

  3. Monet says:

    Your brother’s comment and call made me laugh. I’m sure I make similar faux pas day after day! And of course I still voted for you. How could I not after seeing pictures of that delightful feast? And then you tempt me with yummy cookies. I can’t say no. Thanks for sharing love!

  4. yay to this cookies! they are gorgeous:)

  5. Your brother is a LOO-SER!!!! ;-)
    I voted for Pedro, oups mean I voted for you!

  6. My brother would let me know of the same thing! :)
    These cookies sound so good, thanks for the recipe!

  7. Faith says:

    The cookies look delicious! I love the toasted sesame seeds in there. I could go for a few of these with a cup of coffee right now! ;)

  8. Kocinera says:

    I, for one, still fully appreciate the Napoleon Dynamite reference. Pedro will forever have my vote and I will never relinquish my tots!

    That being said, I’d be more than happy to accept some of those cookies to clear your early-2000s-referencing conscience. :D

  9. Little brothers and pop culture trivia. Who else has time for it when we’re slaving over our baking creations? Lol. I liked the reference but flove these cookies!

  10. jenny says:

    Those are the cutest looking cookies ever! I’ll have to try : )

  11. Joanne says:

    Has it really been that long since Napoleon dynamite? Man. I feel old.

    I loved your post and I TOTALLY voted for you! But I love the sound of new cookies too! Delicious.

  12. Evan @swEEts says:

    There is nothing wrong with making a reference to a hilarious movie no matter how old! :) And these cookies?? yum!

  13. Yummy, I love butter cookies. I bet the toasted sesame gives these cookies excellent flavor. I wish I had one right now along with my coffee :). I am going to try this recipe. Thanks :)

  14. Jen Cheung says:

    would love to have some of these for dessert now :)

    Have a lovely day love!!
    jen @

  15. biz319 says:

    I voted for you!! I have no doubt you’ll sail through to the next round! :D

  16. Napoleon Dynamite is NEVER passe! Fabulous cookies.

  17. Joy says:

    Great cookie recipe. I never heard of moraccan butter cookies.

  18. Butter says:

    You are too funny – this is cute…I voted for you already, but thanks for the fabulous recipe!
    – Butter
    (from Running On Butter)

  19. I’ve never heard of this type of cookie, but they sound yummy!

  20. Shannon says:

    love the addition of cinnamon and sesame seeds!!

  21. I think I will like any cookie (or really, any thing) with the word butter in it :) This sounds delicious!

  22. girlichef says:

    Oh my….these cookies are awesome. LOVIN’ the sesame seeds. And, um, I totally understood the reference ;) ha!! Napoleon Dynamite will be funny no matter how many years it’s been… best of luck in this round.

  23. shaz says:

    That’s a whole lot of yummy cookies. How can you not advance with treats this yummy? Good luck!

  24. Danelle says:

    First, Napoleon Dynamite reference are never out of style, and second, I am making these today!

  25. Reeni says:

    I love Napoleon Dynamite! I saw it and thought you were very clever – I voted for you but don’t remember if I left you a comment – I read every entry and my brain was a little jumbled. The cookies sound excellent! Great use for sesame seeds – an ingredient that I don’t use often enough.

  26. Patty says:

    Ohhhh, these cookies look AWESOME! I love sesame seeds, particularly in candy and I think that these would come very close to satiating my craving. Yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Fran says:

    Didn’t anyone actually try the cookie recipe?

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