Dibs & Tahinia Shortbread Recipe

This is a distinctive biscuit with a nutty, slightly fruity taste that is reminiscent of childhood for Palestinians raised with dibs o tahinia. Traditionally, dibs (grape molasses) is mixed with tahinia in equal parts to make the creamy sweet dip for bread, usually for breakfast. This was a favourite of Baba Fuad, always on his breakfast table.

The dough here is a crumbly one, so be sure to use it chilled. This recipe makes about 30 biscuits, which will last for several days, but I promise they will quickly disappear.

This recipe is extracted from Bethlehem by Fadi Kattan (Hardie Grant, £28), Photography by Ashley Lima.

Try Fadi's recipe for Ka'ek Al-quds & Eggs or Houmous Mutabal Bil Tahinia.

Ingredients for Dibs & Tahinia Shortbread

  • 150g salted butter, at room temperature, chopped
  • 100g demerara sugar (or substitute another raw sugar)
  • 100g dibs
  • 175g plus 1 ½ teaspoons tahinia
  • 300g all purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

How to make Dibs & Tahinia Shortbread

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, dibs, and tahinia. Mix with a handheld beater for 5 minutes, until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. With the beater on low speed, add the flour mixture gradually into the tahinia mixture until smooth.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, until smooth. Divide the dough into two portions, place each in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is ½ to 1 cm / ¼ to ⅜ inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out biscuits, and place them on the prepared sheet, leaving about 2 ½ cm / 1 inch between the biscuits. Repeat with the second portion of dough.
  6. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and firm to the touch. Allow to cool on the sheets. Store in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.
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