Ghoriba Semolina Cookies
Excerpted from Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen
Makes about 4 dozen
Did you know that the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Greeks, all cultivated sesame seeds and sometimes used them as packing material? Ghoriba are the most popular cookies in Morocco.
3/4 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) sesame seeds, toasted
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup fine semolina
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 stick butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
In a wide, shallow bowl, mix sesame seeds, flour, semolina, baking powder, 1 1/4 cups of sugar, and butter. Slowly add the oil, stirring vigorously. Turn it onto a lightly floured board and knead until dough is thick and elastic. This could take up to 10 minutes. Let dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take one tablespoon of dough, and with your hands, roll it into a 1-inch ball. Set on a greased or non-stick baking sheet and flatten it with your fingers to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Continue in this manner until all dough is used.
Bake until cookies turn light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack with a spatula. Sprinkle with remaining powdered sugar. Store in a metal tin.