Arabic butter cookies! Also commonly called Graybeh, or Middle Eastern shortbread cookies. Graybeh is a delicious and easy to make Arabic cookie recipe with just a few simple ingredients! I made my Arabic butter cookies with pistachios, but you can use almonds too!
Arabic food and dessert is my most favorite cuisine! I am lucky to learn so many unique and delicious authentic Arabic recipes from my Jordanian family.
These Arabic cookies are traditionally made around Eid and other special events, but you can usually find them at most Middle Eastern bakeries year round. Or better yet, fresh baked right at home!
ARABIC BUTTER COOKIE INGREDIENTS
Graybeh cookies are so easy to make and only require a few simple ingredients!
- all purpose flour
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
WHAT IS GRAYBEH?
What is ghuraiba? Graybeh whether you pronounce it ghuraiba, ghorayeba or any other way is basically the shortbread cookie of the Middle East! These delicate fluffy butter cookies have a soft melt in your mouth texture and light slightly sweet flavor.
There are many versions of graybeh, but I will be making the graybeh with pistachios which is popular in the Levant region where my husband grew up.
ARABIC COOKIE NAMES
Here are the names of some popular Arabic cookies!
- graybeh- soft and fluffy Arabic butter cookies with an almond and pistachio on top
- maamoul- soft fluffy date filled Arabic butter cookies
- ka'ak- similar to maamoul but made into bracelet form
- mabroma- thin kunafa noodle threads rolled and stuffed with sweet nuts and syrup
- barazek- a thin crispy Middle Eastern cookie covered in sesame seeds
HOW TO MAKE EASY ARABIC BUTTER COOKIES (GRAYBEH) AT HOME
My Arabic butter cookies are so easy to make and they are a recipe the whole family is going to love!
Middle Eastern shortbread cookies are so easy to make, you just need a few simple ingredients and no fancy tools at all!
STEP 1- MIX THE GRAYBEH SHORTBREAD COOKIE DOUGH
First, grab a large mixing bowl and add:
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 1 cup of room temperature butter (soft not melted!)
- a pinch of salt (about ⅛ teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Some variations of the Middle Eastern shortbread cookies are made with ghee, so if you are a fan of the flavor of ghee go ahead and use that in place of the butter in this Arabic cookie recipe!
Grab your beaters and beat the butter into the sugar until it is fluffy and has the texture of frosting.
Next, add half of the all purpose flour (1 cup) and beat in with your electric beaters. You will notice the dough is getting very thick so set your beaters aside and use your hands to knead in the rest of the flour. Don't worry all the flour will go into your graybeh.
STEP 2- CHILL THEN ROLL COOKIES
These graybeh cookies do best when you chill the dough so gather all of your dough into a smooth ball and cover it with parchment paper. Place the butter cookie dough into the fridge for about 1 hour to chill.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and take the graybeh dough out of the fridge. Scoop dough by 1 tablespoon scoops and roll into a smooth ball in your hands. Press the dough slightly to flatten it.
Place each cookie onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
STEP 3- ADD PISTACHIOS OR ALMONDS ON TOP OF ARABIC COOKIES AND BAKE
Next, press either a whole pistachio or a whole almond on to the top of each flattened graybeh cookie. Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
STEP 4- DUST WITH POWDERED SUGAR AND SERVE!
Dust your baked and cooled cookies with powdered sugar for serving. The powdered sugar is must in my opinion it makes these Arab cookies so beautiful!
Frequently asked questions about Middle Eastern Shortbread Cookies.
CAN I MAKE ARABIC SHORTBREAD COOKIES WITH GHEE?
Yes! You can substitute the 1 cup of butter for 1 cup of ghee. Some people say that the ghee makes their shortbread cookies softer, however I used organic butter and my cookies turned out pillowy soft!
Also ghee has a VERY strong flavor so you might be thrown off if you're not used to it.
CAN I MAKE GRAYBEH COOKIES WITH ROSE WATER?
Yes! Rose water is a delicious variation for Arabic butter cookies. In place of the vanilla extract in my recipe, substitute out rose water. You can even try orange blossom water too!
WHAT IS DATE MAAMOUL?
Date maamoul is another popular Arabic cookie recipe made most commonly around Eid, although like our family we crave them all year round and you can find them in Arabic bakeries year round too! Maamoul cookies are a soft shortbread cookie filled with dates!
HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN GRAYBEH COOKIES?
GRAYBEH CALORIES- 126 calories per cookie
More delicious and easy Arabic dessert recipes:
If you try my Arabic Butter Cookie Recipe, please let me know your thoughts by leaving a rating and comment below! Ready for more? Subscribe to my newsletter or follow along on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube!
Arabic Butter Cookies (Graybeh)
- baking sheet
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup room temperature butter or ghee
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or rose water
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 24 whole pistachios or whole almonds
- In a bowl, add powdered sugar, room temperature butter, vanilla, and salt.1 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup room temperature butter, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Beat butter into sugar until creamy with an electric mixer.
- Add half of the flour and beat again with your mixer.2 cups all purpose flour
- Set mixer aside and add the other half of the flour. You will have to use your hands to knead the rest of the flour in until a ball of dough forms. Cover the dough with parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour.Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After 1 hour, remove the dough from your fridge. Scoop by 1 tablespoon scoops and roll in your hands.
- Press the ball of dough with your hands to flatten just a little bit. Place cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Press either a pistachio or an almond into the top of each cookie.24 whole pistachios or whole almonds
- Bake for 15-20 minutes till slightly golden brown and the edges will have very small cracks. Cool and enjoy!