White Chocolate and Rose Ghraybeh
Updated: Jun 19
Meet one of my all time favorite cookies “Ghraybeh”. No Christmas or any celebration is ever complete without these white as snow cookies. Ghraybeh in Arabic means “swoon” yep these cookies will def have you swooning. If a shortbread cookie married a sugar cookie they will have the most delicious cookie called #ghraybeh. It literally melts in your mouth you prob don’t even need to chew it. I told you it’s my kind of cookie. It’s so effortless; minimal ingredients, comes together in no time, egg free which only means one thing eat the batter straight up, doesn’t need to be chilled, it won’t rise or spread in the oven. How’s that for an amazing cookie!
My Khalto Naheel (my mom’s only sister) is famous for this cookie. She is also known for her elaborate tables and delicious food. During Christmas time she makes these cookies shaped like an “S” for Santa. They are so buttery and so so good. The simple shortbread-like cookies are so decadent yet they feel so light, subtly scented with rosewater and only made with 3 ingredients ok plus flavoring of your choice.
Graybeh by the nature of its simple ingredients and the whipped ghee its meant to be white as snow ok maybe off white. The cookie is baked at gentle heat an no browning required. Traditionally graybeh is topped with a blanched almond or pine nuts.
Ghraybeh is a Middle Eastern cookie that varies from region to region in the Arab world. Although the ingredients are similar but the method might change. It is often made with clarified butter or samneh in Arabic (ghee) or sweet cream butter just like my khalto makes it. I have tried different variations of the fat in the cookie and I found that whipped ghee yields the most decedent results. And the explanation is simple with clarified butter, all of the water evaporates, and the milk solids have been removed, leaving us with only pure butter fat. So beautiful and golden. And since there is no more added liquid to the cookie dough the clarified butter will have a melt-in-your-mouth feel that doesn't even require you to chew the cookie ok maybe chew a little.
1 cup unsalted clarified butter** cooled, in its solid format
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon rosewater
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus a few more tablespoons if needed
4 oz. qood quality white chocolate melted
Heat oven to 325 degrees and place rack in the center of the oven.
Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment whip the butter on high speed until fluffy, creamy and pale, about 6-8 minutes.
scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula
Add the sugar and rosewater and whip until well combined and fluffy.
On low speed, slowly add in the flour, ½ cup at a time.
Handle the dough gently and work quickly so it doesn’t dry out.
I divide the dough into a tbls size measure using a cookie scoop. Use whatever size you wish.
Roll the dough in the palm of your hand and shape it into its iconic shape letter S for Santa for Christmas or whatever you like
Place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet pan and bake until the cookies are slightly firm to the touch, but still pale, about 15- 20 minutes. The cookies should remain pale and not browned or crisped at the bottom.
Remove from the oven and cool completely on the sheet pan before transferring.
Why clarified butter !!
Clarified butter is simply clear butterfat from which the milk solids have been removed. leaving us with only butter fat. Ghraybeh doesn’t require any added liquid to the recipe which means that the ghraybeh shortbread cookies that are made with clarified butter have a melt-in-your-mouth feel and texture that’s so heavenly.
** how to make clarified butter at home:
First always start with unsalted butter; high quality butter. The taste and richness will make all the difference in this 3 ingredients cookie recipe.
Melt the butter over low and gentle heat until completely melted. Turn off the heat. With a spoon skim off the foamy layer that's on top. The melted butter can be poured through cheesecloth. but I prefer this simple method:
As the butter melts, skim the foam that forms on the surface, then set the butter aside to cool completely this will allow the remaining solids to drop to the bottom of the pan so you can pour the clear butter off leaving the solids behind, store in a glass jar. Clarified butter will become solid again.
Feel the dough if it doesn’t crumble in your hands and hold its shape it’s ready to use
Frozen: I have experimented with freezing the dough and it worked beautifully. It didn't spread and didn't crumble. Secret: shape the dough to the size and shape you want and freeze it in a freeze safe container. Bake from frozen. because you need this in your life at all times.
Storage: These cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
If you are crunched for time you could definitely buy a jar of clarified butter they are available now in many grocery stores but at a premium price.