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Kaab el Ghazal – Gazelle Horns

Cooking Method
Difficulty Intermediate
Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 30 min Rest Time: 15 min Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Servings 20
Best Season Suitable throughout the year

I tried this cookies for the first time in UAE while I was visiting my sister for the first time. Her husband was just returning back from his home country, Morocco, with some delicious cookies, and that was the moment I fell in love with Gazelle horns. They were simply incredible! Melt-in your-mouth cookies, flavoured with orange blossom water.

Ever since I had this thought in my mind to try them but they seemed too complicated. After 3 trial and error testing sessions and exhausting all the resources and secrets on the internet, I managed to get to this version and I love it!

But why are they called "gazelle horns"? One source says that this is because in the past, beautiful women were called "gazelles". In the dresses that they used to wear, the only part of their body that could be seen were the ankles - this is how the name came up. Some other sources say that their origin is actually French and not Arabic and that they are called like that because they really look like gazelle horns.

    For the dough
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • 120 grams butter (room temperature)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons water (might need more depending upon your flour)
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • For the almond paste
  • 250 grams almonds (skinless, roasted in the oven for 15 minutes)
  • 1 Piece egg
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 60 grams butter (room temperature)
  1. Making the dough

    Start by mixing the flour and the salt in a bowl and then add the softened butter. Rub everything well with your fingers until everything resembles coarse sand. Once this is done you may start adding the water and the orange blossom water - you might need more or less water depending upon the flour that you're using so keep in mind that you might use some extra. Knead the dough for 1 or 2 minutes or until it comes together into a ball then leave it aside in a bowl and rest for about 30 minutes.

  2. Making the almond paste

    In the meantime you can prepare the filling. In a food processor add the almonds and give them a few pulses until you get a fine powder. After this is done, add the remaining ingredients which are the egg, sugar, the remaining orange blossom water and the butter. Process everything until you get a sticky paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and then dip your fingers into a little bit of vegetable oil and portion the almond paste into approximately 19 to 20 pieces and shape them into cylindrical pieces. Place them on a plate and leave them aside.

  3. Making the cookies

    After the dough has rested for 30-minutes, portion it into 4 segments and take each segment and roll it out thinly. Take one piece of almond paste and place it on the rolled dough. Seal the cookie by applying a little bit of water on the dough sheet. Cut each cookie with a cookie cutter and make sure that the ends are sealed - if the ends are not sealed properly, the mixture will burst during baking. Repeat the same steps for all the cookies.

  4. Baking the cookies

    Place the cookies on a tray lined with baking sheet and prick every cookie three times with a skewer - this will prevent the cookie from puffing up during baking. Bake the cookies for approximately 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius or until slightly golden brown. Serve with icing sugar and enjoy with tea!