Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gurabia (Middle Eastern Shortbread Rings)

Gurabia is one of the most popular cookies in the Middle East; a simple mild shortbread that has a hint of orange (usually from Orange Water) and is decorated with a Pistachio nut, which gives it an exotic look.  I was inspired to bake these today after watching "Madame Secretary"--which is one of my favorite dramas.  This past Sunday, she was negotiating peace terms between Iran and Israel and in the agreement, they added that Iran would give Israel pistachios and Israel would give Iran, oranges.  These two countries came together over a soccer game between the children of their countries; what a wonderful thought that children could bring stubborn men together:-D

This recipe brought to mind how many recipes I have from friends who have come from all over the world.  Learning about traditions and especially food, has always given me a common link with these friends.  I don't want to make a political statement about the recent events, but knowing people who have come to America for the same ideals that my ancestors did has made me sad when suddenly they were denied.  Please try this recipe and see how wonderful it is, especially with a cup of tea on a chilly afternoon. Something I would have missed out on if I hadn't know my friends.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 T butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (icing sugar)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. Orange Extract
1 tsp. Orange juice
1 tsp. Lemon juice
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour

30-35 shelled Pistachios

Preheat oven to 275F-degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and sugars together thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

Mix the extract and juice and blend together.  Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.  The dough should form a smooth mass. Add a bit more orange juice if it doesn't.

Pull off some of the dough, about 1 1/2-inches, and form into a ball.  Roll the ball into a smooth 5-inch log.

Tapper the ends slightly and transfer to a baking sheet. Overlap logs into rings and where the ring overlaps, press a pistachio into each cookie.
Bake in the preheated oven for 27 to 30 minutes, or until the rings are slightly colored on the bottom.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for longer storage.  These made for a lovely snack this afternoon. Enjoy!


  1. Hmmm...the orange flavoring sounds so delish...will have to leave off the pistachio...why am I allergic to all the good stuff, but that shouldn't matter. I can try these! Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Another nut would work too or how about a bit of candied orange peel?

  2. What an interesting cookie, Susan. Years ago we lived in a complex with many folks from around the world. We shared our recipes and foods at special dinners. I do believe I remember these treats from our friends from Israel. Thanks for bringing that memory to mind. xoxo ♥

    1. I love how food brings us together...it's my fondest memory growing up!

  3. Those look so good. They might even be a recipe I could make without sugar. I should try it! Thanks for the recipe Sis! Hugs, Diane

  4. I'm going to bookmark this and try these!

    1. Lovely flavors and will definitely show up in my cookie boxes next Christmas!

  5. They do look so good and I'm always partial to a good cookie. The flavours of the Middle East are always exotic and delicious, whether savoury or sweet.
    Interesting how football brings nations together. Do you know the story of the Christmas truce in the trenches of WWI?
    ~~~Deb in Wales xo

    1. Yes. Remarkable that they could leave the trenches and exchange gifts, food and stories in "no-man's land". Not as memorable as World War I, but still for the killing to stop and show human decency was remarkable. That's all I ask...that respecting others, showing kindness and decency be a part of every human's fiber:-)

  6. What an interesting cookie. I love Madam Secretary also.

  7. Those look like they would go well with my tea!