I must apologise for my long absence! I cannot believe I have not written anything for you here since the 20-something of February. I was in Malta for a short while, enjoying the sunshine. I needed it. (It’s a glorious day today, so I’m done complaining.) Before I left though, I spent most weekends in the kitchen, trying new recipes and also cooking some old ones, which are still going strong. The saying goes if something ain’t broken, don’t fix it. However a little while ago I promised you a good recipe for Kwareżimal, and after a few adjustments here it is. This is the perfect time to try it out.
Kwareżimal is a traditional Maltese biscuit widely found on the island during Lent. The authentic recipe, for lack of a better word, has no eggs and no butter. No one fusses too much about fasting anymore, (few people avoid sweets for 40 days) and anyway, I think that one egg for binding doesn’t do any harm. I use plain flour together with ground almonds, which makes the recipe less of an expense. If you love almonds as much as the Maltese do, then this one’s for you. Makes 4 large rectangular shaped cookies.
- 200g plain flour
- 200g ground almonds
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 30g cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon orange oil (substitute this with orange flower water if you prefer)*
- golden syrup, slightly warm for brushing the tops
- enough flaked almonds to cover the surface of the biscuits
Preheat the oven to 190 ºC and line one or two baking trays with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, place the flour, ground almonds, caster sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and lightly mix with a spoon or a whisk.
Add the beaten egg, vanilla extract, lemon zest and orange oil* and continue mixing, using your clean hands. The mixture will turn into a fragrant dark-ish dough.
Place the biscuit dough onto a floured surface and divide it into 4 rectangular pieces, placing these onto the prepared baking tray as you go. Brush the surfaces with the golden syrup, slightly warmed into a more liquid consistency, and sprinkle the flaked almonds.
Bake for around 20 to 25 minutes, till they turn slightly golden. Take them out of the oven when they feel a little soft to the touch.
This is such an easy one to make. Good, easy with minimal cleaning. What more could you ask for? Enjoy!