Traditionally called rifat or les galettes, these crispy, mildly sweet Moroccan biscuits are regarded as a digestif to be served with tea after a meal. For me, these anise seed biscuits taste of home, and my mother will bring over a giant container of these homemade treats whenever she visits. When I finally perfected these biscuits, it filled me with pride and joy to share a part of my childhood with my children.
Recipes and images from The Modern Table: Kosher Recipes for Everyday Gatherings by Kim Kushner (Figure 1 Publishing, 2022). Photography by Kate Sears.
Food4Thought: Did you know that a blessing over food recited with deep intention draws down spiritual light and heals the soul of the one saying it? Get more Jewish food thoughts here.
Ready in 35–40 minutes
Makes about 5 dozen biscuits
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup neutral oil such as avocado oil, vegetable oil, or rice bran oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4–5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons anise seed
- A good pinch of kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand-held mixer), combine orange juice, oil, egg, and vanilla. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes, until creamy. Add 4 cups flour, sugar, cornstarch, and baking powder. Mix on low speed until combined and a soft, pliable dough forms. If tacky, add more flour as needed, 1/4 cup at a time, and mix on low. Add sesame seeds, anise seeds, and salt and mix on low until just combined.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal-sized balls. Place a dough ball in between 2 large sheets of parchment paper. Roll out the dough into a rectangle with a thickness of 1/8-inch. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and set aside.
- Transfer the rolled-out dough on the parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Use a dough docker or a fork, pierce the dough once or twice. Using a fluted pastry wheel or regular knife, cut a grid shape onto the dough, creating rectangular biscuits of about 2 x 1 1/2 inches. (The biscuit rectangles will not separate from the dough—the cutter perforates the dough and, once baking, the biscuits can break apart easily.) Gently pull away any leftover dough scraps around the border of the dough and re-roll to make more biscuits. Repeat the process with the remaining 3 dough balls.
- Bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking. Set aside to cool completely, then gently break apart the biscuits.
Good to Know: Dough scraps can be combined and rolled out again to make more biscuits.
Get Organized: By rolling out the dough onto parchment paper and baking the biscuits directly on the parchment, the cookies are handled less and the risk of breaking them is minimal. Plus, it reduces clean-up significantly!
Optional: The specified size for Moroccan Anise and Sesame Tea Biscuits is simply a guide; you can create any size you choose. I like using the fluted pastry wheel to create a scalloped edge, but you can also use a knife.
Storage: Moroccan Anise and Sesame Tea Biscuits can be stored in an airtight container or cookie jar for up to 2 months.