It’s all about the orange blossom here at the moment. As soon as you walk out of the front door the smell hits you. An exotic floral fragrance that is just synonymous with spring in Andalucia.
These pretty little innocent white flowers give of such a powerful scent. We went for lunch last Sunday at Santiago’s restaurant. To be sat in the beautiful garden surrounded by orange trees and the delicious perfume of the blossom is a real treat. In fact every time the wind blew we were treated to a gentle rain of orange blossom petals. “Una lluvia de flor de azahar” to quote Mery the waitress….
I have to admit that I did have a few spoonfuls of a dessert on Sunday, I couldn’t resist. It was a frozen mango margarita cheesecake I think. Whatever it was, it was delicious. I am doing really well with the detox but I do crave something sweet occasionally. I’ve been wanting to make an oaty biscuit/cookie without flour, butter or added sugar. It’s quite a challenge but I think I’ve cracked it with these. The sweetness comes from some Orange Blossom honey that I bought from a local producer. I used ground almonds instead of flour because I love the flavour and moistness it gives to the biscuit and also because we are surrounded by almond trees.
Orange blossom & almond is a classic combination used in a lot of Middle Eastern desserts and pastries. The orange blossom water I used to flavour the biscuits has an unusual, exotic floral taste that is unlike anything else. It perfectly compliments the almonds, dried apricots and dates that I added to follow on with Moorish theme. Pistachios & rosewater would be lovely too if you can’t get orange blossom water.
The other new ingredient I used instead of butter or milk was Crema de Almendras (Almond cream). I’m not sure if it is called almond cream in English or whether it is almond paste/butter. As you can see from the image below it is a thick creamy almond paste. I bought the diabetic version which is sugar-free but is made with fructose so it is sweet.
The result is a soft, chewy almondy biscuit with a background of orange blossom. Delicious, and great for a healthy snack when you need something sweet.
Orange Blossom & Almond Soft Oat Cookies
makes about 20, vegan, gluten-free
- 150 gr (2 cups) rolled oats
- the juice of half an orange
- 3 tsp orange flower water
- 120 gr (1/3 cup) orange blossom (or whatever) honey (oil the measure first so that the honey slips out easily)
- 25 gr (1/3 cup) flaked almonds
- 175 gr (2/3 cup)crema de almendras (sugar-free almond paste)
- a few drops of almond extract
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp bicarb soda (or baking soda)
- 8 dates, stoned and chopped
- 8 dried apricots, chopped
- 25 gr (1/4 cup)ground almonds
- a pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 190 C. Soak the oats in the orange juice and orange blossom water while you prepare the other ingredients. Mix everything together in a large bowl until well combined.
Line a baking sheet (or 2) with baking paper and drop heaped teaspoons of the mixture on the tray(s). You will need two trays or to do it twice. You should have 9 – 12 on each tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack if you can wait that long….
Serve under an orange tree or next to some flowers with a pot of mint tea for the full Moorish taste explosion……
Moment of Gratitude or “Things that made me smile today…”
Our Hydrangeas, aren’t they gorgeous…
Our Aloe Vera plants flowering and the shadows on the wall…