LEBANESE BUTTER COOKIES – GHRAYBI (OR GHRAYBEH)
That’s how I would describe these cookies. Delicate with a soft, understated sweetness. These cookies certainly make an impression.
FAMILY & TRADITION
There’s nothing like tradition to bind a family together. Our family is no different. We have lots of traditions that bind us together: the birthday crawfish boils for my girls, our favorite Mardi Gras parades, the Greek Fest every May, just to name a few. And then there’s the Advent wreath, our favorite novenas and prayers, and these “famous” Lebanese Butter Cookies for Christmas. As a matter of fact, these cookies are a sign for us that Christmas is near.
THE LEBANESE CONNECTION
I am not Lebanese, but my wife is. At least her family is. I have come to love and appreciate the Lebanese culture, music, dance and cuisine very much. In our house we regularly roll Grape Leaves, make Hummus and Tabouleh, and cook with lamb.
Every year at Christmas family gatherings, my wife’s Aunt Rita used to make her special version of these cookies. That’s why I say that these cookies are a sign for us that Christmas is near.
Aunt Rita passed away a couple of years ago. Char (my wife) made these Lebanese Butter Cookies last Christmas. And just last weekend a cousin made them for a big family gathering. We miss Aunt Rita. But I think should would be happy to see that these cookies are still very much a part of our family Christmas.
- 1 cup drawn butter, chilled in refrigerator until congealed (we prefer Kerrygold)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- Throughly cream the butter (see details below). Add the sugar and continue creaming 5 to 10 minutes, until fluffy. Add flour and work with hands until smooth. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour.
- Shape into 1/2 inch thick rounds. If you want to add a little lagniappe, press the center of each cookie with your thumb and place a blanched almond in the indention.
- Place cookies on un-greased baking sheet. Bake in oven at 300 for 13 to 15 minutes. Cookies will be very pale in color. Let the cookies stay in the baking sheet for 6 hours, or until completely cooled. These cookies are very flaky. They will easily fall apart if you try to move them when they are warm.
This recipe yields 2 to 3 dozen Lebanese Butter Cookies.
HOW TO PROPERLY CREAM BUTTER
To cream butter well, the butter has to first be softened at room temperature. You will know that the butter is soft enough when it offers little resistance to a knife. Just don’t over-soften the butter. Melted, oily butter does not cream well.
Using a hand mixer, beat the butter on low speed briefly, making it creamy. Add in the sugar and continue beating on low to combine. Once the sugar and butter are combined, increase the speed to medium and continue beating.
Continuing to beat the butter results in increased volume. The butter will become creamy and start to pale.
Properly creamed butter has an off-white color.
Around the Table with The Catholic Foodie: Middle Eastern Cuisine
I share this Lebanese Butter Cookie recipe and 77 others in my new cookbook Around the Table with The Catholic Foodie: Middle Eastern Cuisine published by Liguori Publications.
What is your favorite cookie or pastry during the Christmas season?
Copyright 2014 Jeff Young
Photo copyright 2014 Jeff Young. All rights reserved.
Find more of Jeff’s recipes at CatholicFoodie.com!