Halwa L'Makina

Tetouan Tea Biscuits (Halwa L’Makina)

Delicious stamped cookies from Nothern Morocco!

Halwa L’Makina is a traditional cookie from the northern region of Morocco (Tetouan). These Tetouan tea biscuits are made with simple ingredients yet taste incredibly delicious! With a crunchy texture and a citrusy-sesame seed flavor, these stamped cookies are what I call: a countertop staple! They are simply perfect as a tea time or midnight snack. Yum!

What is Halwa L’Makina?

Halwa is Arabic for “candy,” “sweets,” “or cookies.” Now that we got the easy part covered, let’s move to the second! Traditionally, these cookies are made using a pasta-like machine (Makina, aka Machina). Using the device is pretty simple; you put in the dough, and the machine shapes it for you.

Halwa L'Makina

Where can I get the machine? And what are my other options?

No worries, I haven’t been able to find that kind of technology in Texas (ha-ha), and I bet no one who lives outside of Morocco can. However, I used these stamped cookies from NordicWare®: All Season Cast Cookie Stamps to recreate the texture and flavor.

To make these Tetouan tea biscuits, I divided the dough into small balls and pressed a stamp into each cookie dough. I was impressed with how they turned out! The texture was perfect, and the flavor was authentic!! You can’t go wrong with little innovation, right?

On the other hand, if you can’t find the stamps, you can roll your dough and use your cookie cutters to cut and shape your dough. Finally, I recommend making your cookies thin to get the perfect result.

Halwa L'Makina

Why do I love these Tetouan biscuits?

I had honestly forgotten about these cookies until I visited Tetouan recently. The first bite brought back happy childhood memories of my parents taking us to the mountains to spend the day at our relatives’ farm. I remember enjoying these cookies with a fresh cup of mint tea after spending the whole afternoon feeding the chickens and petting the goats. Fun times!

These cookies are a breeze to make and are pretty economical. They do not require fancy ingredients except a few pantry and fridge staples. You only need eggs, sugar, oil, flour, baking powder, and lemon zest. Other ingredients, such as vanilla sugar and sesame seeds, are optional but add a nice touch.

Bon appétit!

Tetouan Tea Biscuits

Tetouan Tea Biscuits (Halwa L’Makina)

Laila Benjelloun Bailey
Halwa L'Makina is a traditional cookie from the northern region of Morocco (Tetouan). These tea biscuits are made with simple ingredients yet taste incredibly delicious! With a crunchy texture and a citrusy-sesame seed flavor, these stamped cookies make a perfect tea time or midnight snack. Yum!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 24 cookies



  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granular sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Zest of 1/2 small lemon (if lemon is large, use about 1/4 to 1/3)
  • 2 – 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (may need about 1/4 cup more)


  • First, chill your stamps in the refrigerator for 15 – 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, mix the eggs with sugar, oil, lemon zest, vanilla sugar, and sesame seeds. Using your hands or a whisk, ensure you combine all ingredients until the mixture becomes homogenous.
  • Slowly add the flour and baking powder to the mixture, and work with your hands until a soft dough forms. Alternatively, knead your dough using a stand mixer until smooth and malleable.
  • If your dough is sticky, you may add a bit of flour to form the dough. Be careful not to add too much, or your dough gets too rough. The result should be a smooth, soft dough that you can easily shape into cookie dough balls. Allow your dough to rest for 15 minutes before making the dough balls (covered).
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (NOT a silicone mat because it will prevent the cookies from turning golden brown). Preheat your oven to 325 F (160 C).
  • Dust a working surface with some flour and start making cookie dough balls. Next, dust a chilled stamp and press it into a cookie dough ball. Release the stamp, transfer the cookie to the prepared pan, and cut the messy edges with a knife if needed. If your dough sticks to the stamp, remove it, re-dust the stamp, the working surface, AND the dough ball, and try again.
  • Continue with the remaining cookie dough balls. Please do not dispose of the undesired messy edges because you may roll them into more dough balls.
  • Place your baking sheet on the middle rack and bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. (Mine took 14 minutes). If your cookies are not brown on top, broil them for 20 to 50 seconds, and do not exceed 60 seconds, or they may burn. Your cookies should be light gold on top and golden brown on the bottom.
  • Allow your cookies to rest for 3 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack. Enjoy with a cup of tea or a glass of milk. Bon appétit!
Keyword halwa l’makina, halwa makina, moroccan cookies, moroccan tea cookies, nordicware stamped cookies, stamped cookies, tea biscuits, tetouan tea cookies

If you’re looking for a fancier cookie, check out this yummy Fekkas from Fez!
Moroccan Fekkas with Almonds and Raisins
Fekkas, or Moroccan-style biscotti, is a tea cookie made of almonds and raisins. Twice-baked, this delicious treat is flavored with orange blossom water, sesame, anise, and fennel seeds! Serve your Fekkas with fresh Moroccan mint tea or a cup of coffee. Yum!
Check out this recipe
Moroccan Fekkas

Did you make these Tetouaney cookies? Tag @petitapron on Instagram and tell me how they turned out for you!

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