Tuesday, 3 March 2009


Kwarezimal is a traditional Maltese lenten 'sweet'. It contains no dairy products, which (in the old days) used to be given up completely for Lent.

I've had a bash at making this before, and it came out quite hard, almost like a biscotti. This year, I decided to try again, but to try and make kwarezimal cookies, rather than the traditional, bigger log-shapes.

I tried a slightly different recipe this year, and for some reason it worked. Perhaps it was having a low oven temperature, or maybe I just managed to get the flour-water ratio right.... Not sure! However, the finished product is a chewy, spicey, subtly-orangey, almondy delight. 

Kwarezimal cookies
Makes about 30 good-sized biscuits

350g almonds, skins on, roughly ground
350g golden caster fugar
2 and a half tablespoons runny honey
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon mixed spice
Grated rind of a lemon and a clementine
200g plain flour
Pinch of salt
Juice of the clementine, with water added to make it up to 100ml
More honey and chopped nuts to decorate

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Separately, mix the honey into the 100ml of liquid.

2. Slowly add the liquid to the dry ingredients, mixing well with an electric whisk. The finished mixture should be a slightly sticky, thick gunk!

3. Leave the mixture for around 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 160C, and line a cookie sheet with parchment. Spray with vegetable oil.

4. Roll the sticky dough into balls, and squidge them flat on the tray. Mine were about 8cm across and 1cm thick. They spread quite a bit in the oven though, so leave a space.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. They should still be quite soft, and just starting to go deeper brown around the edges.

6. Leave to cool on the tray, but just go underneath them all with a palette knife to aid lifting them later.

7. When cool, heat some more honey in a pan. Brush each cookie with honey and sprinkle with more coarsely ground almonds.