Here is my version of Lebanese butter cookies. I love the flavor combination of orange flower water and mastic (resin crystals with a pine-like flavor) that you find in some Middle Eastern desserts. Adding those flavors into these light, tender butter cookies makes them wonderfully complex and delicious. They make an interesting addition to any holiday cookie platter.
Ghoraibi – Lebanese Butter Cookies
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted plus extra for dipping
2-1/2 tsp. orange flower water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. + 2 Tbsp. flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
5 mastic crystals
In a mixing bowl combine butter and confectioner’s sugar. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add orange flower water and vanilla. Mix well. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt. In a spice grinder combine 1 tsp. granulated sugar and mastic crystals. Grind for about 20 seconds until mixture is powdery. Add the powdered mastic to the flour mixture and stir to mix. Add flour mixture into the whipped butter and sugar, by hand, one cup at a time, until dough is well mixed. Form dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into 3 inch long thin ropes that you can form into a wreath, ribbon or a crescent. You can also roll into marble size balls. Place on baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes until set but not brown. Place cookies on rack and let sit 2 minutes then roll in confectioner’s sugar. Let cool completely on rack. Makes 60 cookies.