Prep Time: 20 mins.
Cook Time: 12 mins.
Having grown up in Honduras, where 150,000 and 200,000 of the country's eight million inhabitants are of Arab descent, I love Arab food. Having Arab cousins and many friends means hummus, grape leaves (dolmas), tabouleh, falafel, baba ghannouj, olives, pickled vegetables, pita bread, "marmahon" (couscous) in addition to Arab coffee, which is always present in gatherings.
My husband and I go to an Arab grocery store here in California at least once a week, where we buy most of these foods. They are very, very good. I also make hummus and tabouleh myself.
This past weekend though, was extra special. My friend Jenny, who is Arab herself, came to visit. She brought us ghraybehs (we call them deditos de princesa n Honduras, or princess fingers in English). She'd veganized them, by changing the butter to margarine. Ghraybeh (pronounced gha-ray-bee) is a soft Middle Eastern butter cookie, most often in the shape of an S, which has a sweet, simple, powdery taste that melts in your mouth.
We spent all day Sunday with Jenny’s Arab friends at the beach, in great company, listening to Arab music, watching the men playjing cards, smoking arghila (hookah), and doing their Salat (a five-times-a-day daily prayer). The kids were playing around and we ended the day sitting around a bonfire, conversing and relaxing.
What a great day!
As a result? Here’s the recipe for Vegan Ghraybeh!
It’s really simple and wonderful.
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup margarine/ vegan butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar for dusting *optional
1. Preheat oven to 300ºF.
2. Mix the margarine/vegan butter on medium speed. Add two spoonfuls of sugar and flour at a time, until light and creamy and well combined. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
3. Form small balls of dough into S shapes (fingers).
4. Bake for 12 min on ungreased cookie sheets.
5. Remove the cookies while they are still white and soft. Be very careful not to over bake, they shouldn't brown.
6. Immediately dust with powdered sugar. *optional
7. Cool very well before removing from baking sheet.
*Ghraybeh keeps frozen or in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.