I had never come across a cookie that was made with chickpea flour and could not wait to sink my teeth into one of these! I was very pleasantly surprised by the nutty fresh taste and the meltingly soft consistency of this classic ghraiba cookie from Tunisia. The name of the cookie means strange or stranger in Arabic. Probably because the buttery mouthfuls were shipped to this part of Africa by the Spanish. For this recipe the butter is slowly heated until the milk solids brown and develop a nice nutty tasty. Then all the ingredients are mixed together into crumbly dough. The ghraiba cookie can also be made with ordinary flour (when it is called ghraiba bidha), or with sorghum (ghraibat droô), but in Tunisia they are usually baked with chickpea flour and known as ghraiba homs. This sweet cookie can stick to the roof of your mouth a bit, so keep a large pot of fresh mint tea at hand for a refreshing sip every now and then. If you like this cookie, you could also try my variation with sesame seeds and dates.
Ghraiba cookie from Tunisia
For about 15 cookies
90 grams (½ stick + 2 tbsp) butter
120 grams (1¼ cups) chickpea flour
45 grams (⅓ cup) flour
pinch of salt
50 grams (½ cup) icing sugar
(sunflower oil if required)
Melt the butter in a pan and leave to boil softly on low heat until the white milk solids turn light brown.
Sieve the chickpea flour, the flour, the salt, and the icing sugar in a bowl.
Add the melted butter and knead into slightly crumbly dough.
If the dough is too crumbly to shape, add a little sunflower oil and shape into a ball.
Form the dough into 2 rolls with a diameter of 3 cm/1 inch. I used a piece of cling film to roll them in.
Preheat the oven to 130°C/275°F. Cut the roll into pieces of 4 cm/1½ inches with a sharp knife. Make 3 slashes across the top of each cookie.
Cover the cookies with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 mins.
Put the cookies on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper and bake them in the middle of the oven for 15-20 mins. until they are done. They should not brown, but stay quite pale.
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