What Are the Different Types of Moroccan Desserts?

Andrea Cross

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.

Honey is common in Moroccan desserts.
Honey is common in Moroccan desserts.

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.

Moroccan cakes flavored with chocolate are one of many popular moroccan desserts.
Moroccan cakes flavored with chocolate are one of many popular moroccan desserts.

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.

Some Moroccan desserts feature almonds and other nuts.
Some Moroccan desserts feature almonds and other nuts.

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.

Zhar is made from crushed orange flowers, and orange is a favorite flavor when making Moroccan cake.
Zhar is made from crushed orange flowers, and orange is a favorite flavor when making Moroccan cake.

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Discussion Comments


@candyquilt-- Nuts like almonds are used often in Moroccan desserts, so are dried fruits like dates, figs and apricots. The cuisine of every country will naturally feature ingredients that are very common in that region. And all of these ingredients are very common in the Mediterranean. Two other ingredients I've noticed being used often are cinnamon and oranges.

My husband is Moroccan and he makes Moroccan desserts sometimes. Two he makes often are Moroccan orange cake and cinnamon cookies. Both are very good. The cake is a little drier and sweeter than American cakes. The cookies are equally good.

There is one trick to enjoying these desserts though. They're best when served with a cup of Moroccan mint tea!


@serenesurface-- Yes, Moroccans have baklava. But they also have unique pastry desserts that are quite amazing. There is for example, one Moroccan pastry with an almond filling called "briouat" that is just exquisite.

Many Moroccan desserts are made using phyllo dough and a variety of nuts. They are often baked or fried and soaked in a sugar syrup or honey. The snake pastry is one for example.


I know that pastries with sugar syrup are popular in countries like Greece, Turkey and Lebanon. Are such pastries popular Morocco too? Do they have baklava for example, and other similar desserts?

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