- Mandy Sinclair
Perfect with a cup of mint tea and shared amongst friends new and old, Moroccan pastries are ideal for those with a sweet tooth. Using local ingredients including orange blossom water, rose water, almonds and dates in many of the recipes, the sweet treats here are irresistible and plentiful. Served during special occasions – including weddings and Ramadan – but also during tea time, travelers are sure to sample a few varieties during their stay in Morocco.
Cornes de gazelle (gazelle horns)
Crescent-shaped like a gazelle horn as the name suggests, cornes de gazelle are one of the most popular treats you may be served and one you mustn’t miss out on. Stuffed with almonds and cinnamon and wrapped in a soft pastry, this crumbly biscuit should be moist with a subtle after taste provided by orange blossom water.
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Popular during Ramadan when sweet chebakya graces every ftour table after a day of fasting, shops set up specifically to sell this popular treat during the holy month. But it’s available year round as it is also a popular side to a bowl of harira soup (lentil soup with a tomato base). This fried pastry – completely covered in honey and rose water with sesame seeds sprinkled on top – oozes goodness with every bite. Just be careful not to indulge on too many; one or two is often enough.
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The Moroccan version of biscotti, these biscuits are also twice baked and include almonds and sesame seeds, and the pastry is often sweetened with vanilla. The main difference between fekkas and biscotti is that the Moroccan biscuits are often cut thinner than the Italian equivalent, making them exceptionally crunchy.
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These small round biscuits may appear boring in comparison to the other pastries at the bakery, but don’t be fooled. The perfectly sweet, round biscuits made from almonds are soft and chewy and are best enjoyed washed down with a sweet cup of mint tea.
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Flaky and sweet, this coiled filo pastry is stuffed with almond frangipane with a subtle hint of rose water. It may be prepared in a large coil and cut up into smaller slices, or as mini m’hanncha coiled to create individual pieces.
Shortbread pastry filled with dates and sweetened with orange blossom water and even cinnamon before receiving a dusting of icing sugar, date cookies are pure goodness. With dates a regional product, they are often made with only the finest ingredients.
Sold throughout the old city and in corner shops, the almond briouat is a small, triangular, deep-fried pastry, sweetened with honey and filled with just what the name suggests – almonds. They are often bite-sized, making it easy to devour a few without realizing it.
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As with baklava from other regions of the world, this filo pastry treat is filled with almonds and other chopped nuts and sweetened with honey. It’s available in a variety of flavors, colors and sizes. Just wander in any patisserie and you’re sure to find some.
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A variety of shortbread biscuits filled with jams, nuts or even dipped in chocolate with icing sugar or shaved coconut are widely available. As they are often small – just one or two bites per biscuit – it’s easy to clear the plate in no time at all.