Dessert in Morocco usually consists of a selection of fresh, local fruits, including pomegranates, figs, and dates. Often, these fresh fruit dishes are flavored with a dusting of cinnamon and orange flower water, an infusion of crushed orange flowers also called zhar. People enjoy other different types of Moroccan desserts, however, including pastry, cookies, and cakes. All of these desserts tend to incorporate similar ingredients and heavily feature almonds, honey, and cinnamon, as well as the ubiquitous orange water.
Morocco has historically had a strong French influence. One of these lasting French legacies can be seen in the form of Moroccan pastry. Various types of pastry exist, many of which include almonds, honey, and dates. The pastry often consists of very thinly layered sheets that are either fried or buttered and baked. Ktefa is a popular pastry dish consisting of crispy alternating layers of pastry, fried almonds, and custard sauce.
Another well-known form of pastry is M'hanncha, or the snake. This concoction combines a filo-type pastry that is filled with almond paste and shaped and coiled to look like a snake. Garnished with cinnamon and powdered sugar, this dish also uses orange water as a typical ingredient. Orange water is also an essential component of Kaab el-ghzal, one of the most famous Moroccan desserts, also known as the gazelle horn pastry. These delicacies are small, crescent-shaped pastries that combine almond paste and cinnamon.
Other popular Moroccan desserts include a variety of cookies. Makrout are cookies made from semolina flour. Filled with a paste made from honey and dates, they are either baked or fried and dipped in honey. Ghoriba are a type of Moroccan shortbread cookie. Traditionally made with semolina flour, they can have different combinations of ingredients that commonly include toasted sesame seeds, coconut, and almonds.
Fekkas are another type of Moroccan cookie, which often have a savory flavor. Different combinations of ingredients are incorporated, including wild thyme, anise seeds, and almonds. These cookies are twice baked, with the dough initially rolled into a single log and baked before being sliced into small rounds and baked again, producing a dessert similar to Italian biscotti. Like many other Moroccan desserts, bakers typically use orange water.
Finally, cakes are also popular Moroccan desserts. These cakes are normally quite light and fine textured but still quite moist. Cakes can be solid or layered. Common flavors include coconut, orange, and lemon. Chocolate, which seems to be enjoyed universally, is also a popular taste, especially when combined with coconut.