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Armenian Shortbread Cookie (Ghorabieh)

I am so lucky to have grown up in a culture rich with food traditions. Growing up Armenian was both a blessing and curse. A blessing because of all the amazing traditions that define me, and a curse because of ALL the desserts. Ever heard of Baklava or Khadaif(i)? Yup, those are both Armenian desserts so you know what I mean, right? But one that's pretty overshadowed is Ghorabieh. I used to call them butter balls when I was little, because they were so creamy and buttery. It's essentially shortbread in a ball - who doesn't love that!?

Simple, quick, and easy to make - these are an awesome addition to your next book club meeting or gathering!

Author: Serena Moroukian

Prep Time: 55 min Cook Time: 10-15 min Total Time: 1 hour 5-10 min

Servings: 20 balls


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups butter (unsalted)

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flower

  • 1/4 cup ground pistachios for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon rose water, or 1/2 tablespoon rose extract (optional)


  1. Clarify butter by melting butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan without stirring. Bring butter to a boil until foam appears on top. Lower heat to simmer for 15 minutes, keeping a close eye to prevent burning. When butter become golden brown, remove from heat and pour of the clarified butter into a heat-safe dish, discarding the milk solids.

  2. Cool in the refrigerator until solid, about one hour. Once solid, bring butter to room temperature before moving onto next step.

  3. Beat room-temperature butter using the paddle attachment of a mixer for 5 min until butter starts to turn pale white in color. Slowly add sugar while beating, remembering to scrape down sides of the bowl as needed, approximately 5 minutes. Add optional rose water at this time, if desired. Slowly add flour, 1/3 at a time, beating the butter until flour is incorporated before adding the next third. Dough will be soft but not sticky.

  4. Using a small cookie scoop or two spoons, scoop out dough and form into spheres, rolling between the palms of your hands. Don’t let the dough melt in your hands, it makes it difficult to roll. If though dough is too warm, pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes, then continue with making spheres.

  5. Place completed dough spheres on a parchment lined cookie sheet approximately 1 ½ inches apart. Top with ground pistachio in the center of the cookie, but do not cover the entire cooking in pistachio. (Optional, leave off the pistachios and dust with powdered sugar after cookies have cooled from the oven).

  6. Place cookie sheet in the refrigerator for 15 minutes while the oven is preheating to 250 degrees F. Please cookies on bottom shelf for 10-15 minutes when move to the top rack for an additional 10 minutes. They will be ivory in color, do not allow to brown. Allow cookies to cool completely before removing from cookie sheet. If the cookie sticks to your finger when you touch it, it needs more time to cool.

  7. Serve with coffee or tea!