Cracked Shortbread Cookies (Ghriba Bahla)

Ghriba Bahla are delicious scented cookies. It’s not so much the tastiness of the shortbread cookies that gets me excited, but rather the crunchiness of the cracked tops that makes these cookies stand out. Nice, deep cracks are a sign of a perfect batch.

Moroccan orange cardamom cookies

Ghriba Bahla- Orange & Cardamom Cracked Top Cookies

These traditional Moroccan cookies are wonderful with mint tea or after a heavy tagine. The "bahla" in the name means "silly" in Moroccan Arabic, a reference to the cracked tops. They are exceptionally easy to make and equally as easy to eat too many in one sitting.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: African, Mediterranean, Morocco, North Africa
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 30 Cookies
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Stand or hand mixer.
  • Large bowl
  • Baking pan


  • 1⅔ cups All-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup Sesame seeds, toasted and ground
  • 3 tbsp Orange zest (2 oranges)
  • ½ tsp Ground cardamom
  • tsp Ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup Butter, softened
  • ½ cup Canola oil
  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, ground sesame seeds, orange zest, cardamom, baking powder, and salt). Add softened butter, vanilla extract, and oil to the bowl of a stand-up mixer with paddle attachment. Pour dry mixture into wet and mix on medium until all ingredients are well incorporated and form a soft dough, about 5 minutes.
    Line a baking sheet. Scoop out 30+ pieces, rolling each into a ball smaller than a golf ball. Space the balls on the baking sheet and gently flatten them just a little with your hands.
    Transfer pan to oven and bake until golden, 17 to 20 minutes.
    Let cookies cool on pan until they have cooled completely. Enjoy at room temperature with cold milk, hot coffee, or mint tea.


Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 9mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 57IU | Vitamin C: 0.004mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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