A recipe for Algerian Boussou la Tmessou (بوسو لا تمسو) in celebration of #InternationalCookies! These shortbread cookies are lightly dipped in orange blossom water and coated in a layer of powdered sugar for a wonderfully delicate texture and flavor.
Welcome to the third annual International Cookie Exchange! This year, it is hosted by Caroline of Caroline’s Cooking. Today a group of cookie-loving food bloggers is sharing recipes for cookies from around the globe. Get ready to break out your mixing bowl, because these recipes are sure to inspire you to fill your cookie jar with cultural treats! I am joining with a recipe for Boussou la Tmessou (Algerian Shortbread Cookies). Missed the previous events? Check out my Kourambiethes (Greek Shortbread Cookies) and Basler Brunsli (Swiss Chocolate Almond Cookies) along with a variety of other International holiday favorites.
You can follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #InternationalCookies and you can find these great recipes and more from around the world on the International Cookie Exchange Pinterest Board.
Boussou la Tmessou are light, melt-in-your-mouth cookies from Algeria. Their name literally translates to “kiss, but don’t touch,” as a description of their delicate texture. The shortbread dough comes together with a mixture of flour, powdered sugar, and softened butter. They are formed into small diamonds and baked until just barely golden on the bottom. Once cooled, the cookies are briefly dipped in orange blossom water and immediately coated in a layer of powdered sugar.
While looking up recipes, I came across quite a few variations. I stuck to the basic shortbread dough with the addition of vanilla for a little extra flavor (vanilla sugar or vanilla extract if not avoiding alcohol), but others also include toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds, or even lemon (zest added to the dough or a syrup in place of the orange blossom water).
I used softened butter since it was listed in most of the recipes I came across. It took a bit of mixing for the butter to fully incorporate. You can also use melted and slightly cooled ghee in place of softened butter.
Vanilla sugar can be found in small packets in the European section of many larger supermarkets, but it is easy and to make at home and much less expensive. Scrape out the seeds of one vanilla bean and mix well with 2 cups granulated or powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container with the scraped out vanilla beans.
Looking for more cookies from Algeria? I also have a recipe for Twabaa (Algerian Lemon and Olive Oil Cookies).
We’re celebrating International cookies today – see the tasty treats from around the world:
- Alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies) from Caroline’s Cooking
- Boussou La Tmessou (Algerian Shortbread Cookies) from Tara’s Multicultural Table
- Chocolate Sable Cookies from Curious Cuisiniere
- Dutch Speculaas Cookies from Palatable Pastime
- Pepparkakor (Swedish ginger cookies) from The Redhead Baker
- Peppermint Shortbread Cookies from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Polvorosas from Five Senses Palate
Boussou la Tmessou (Algerian Shortbread Cookies) Recipe
Adapted from Orange Blossom Water
Boussou la Tmessou (Algerian Shortbread Cookies)
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (210 grams) 210 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (35 grams) powdered sugar
- 9 tablespoons (130 grams) unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) orange blossom water
- 1 1/4 cups (175 grams) powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 320˚F (160˚C). Line a baking sheet with parchment or leave ungreased.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large bowl, combine the flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
- Mix in the butter and vanilla sugar or extract until the butter is absorbed and the dough comes together.
- Break off a small piece of dough, a ball a little over an inch wide, and gently form it into a slight diamond. Make a small indention on the top with your thumb and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing 1/2 inch apart.
- Bake in preheated oven just until the bottoms are barely golden, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature on baking sheet.
- Place the orange blossom water in a bowl and the powdered sugar in a bag.
- Quickly dip a cooled cookie into the orange blossom water, making sure to briefly coat all sides, then immediately cover in the powdered sugar.
- Repeat with remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week (the texture is best when allowed to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving). Dust with additional powdered sugar if needed.