Oh the hunt continues! So much to do and so little time, but it is great fun to search for interesting ideas and ingredients. This is from Dorie Greenspan’s “Dorie’s Cookies” book. To say I could eat my way through this book would be an understatement. If you don’t have it, oh my goodness put it on your Christmas list, I did last year and it is so worth it. This then, is Christmas Treat #3 – Moroccan Semolina Almond Cookies.

I used the grainy semolina flour – it’s the same flour my friend Maria taught me to use when making pasta. It has a nice mouth feel that leaves a smile on your face long after the cookie is gone. It also has ground almonds – ooh I love baking with ground almonds. Together they do give you a delightful bite. Please use a scale for measuring ingredients. Cup sizes vary from country to country and this recipe is no exception – weight is weight, no exceptions. Kitchen scales average $20 or so, please buy one if you don’t have one (hey it’s Christmas – add it to your list). I’m only putting weights in this recipe.

These do resemble those wonderful chocolate crackle cookies and the dough – although it looks sticky, really isn’t bad to work with. Icing sugar helps the crackles form and adds just the right amount of sweet to the cookie.  Use your thumb (or finger) to make an indent on the top of the cookie after you roll it in the icing sugar – just thinking out loud here, you could place something in the thumb print space – maybe some marzipan or good quality jam or maybe even something savory – goat cheese and black pepper. I’m just saying, the sky is the limit on flavorings. I made on adaptation to this recipe and that is the addition of orange extract instead of orange flower water – the aroma as it baked in the oven was wonderful.  Orange flower water works wonderfully well, but I don’t want you running out for a bottle of this just for this cookie! 

Don’t forget to make them small. I used a heaping teaspoonful to make the balls. This makes about 35 – 45 cookies depending on the size of the cookie. It doesn’t spread but does puff up nicely As always – enjoy!

294g semolina flour
200g almond flour (this is just ground almonds)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
150g sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup vegetable (the book recommends flavorless oil such as canola) oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange flower water – I had it but opted for orange extract instead
Icing sugar for dredging

Preheat the oven to 350f
Combine the semolina, almond, baking powder, salt – whisk to combine
In your stand mixer, add the sugar and zest of 1 lemon – using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar
Add the eggs and using the paddle attachment, beat for 3 minutes at medium speed
Pour the oil slowly down the side of the bowl, leaving the mixer on the same speed – careful or you will splash everywhere – beat for an additional 3 minutes
Add the vanilla and orange extracts – beat
Add the flour in 2 batches – the dough will be sticky and thick – but perfect for rolling into balls
Pour about ¼ cup of icing sugar into a medium sized bowl – this will be used to dredge the dough balls
Using a teaspoon, scoop the dough and using the palms of your hand, make balls
Drop about 6 – 10 balls into the bowl with the icing sugar – the actual number depends on the size of the bowl you are using and the size of the balls you are making
Roll the balls in the icing sugar and place on a cookie sheet
Place your thumb in the center of the ball and press down until cracks appear on the sides of the cookie – repeat for all cookies
Bake for 14 – 16 minutes rotating pans half way through – I typically rotate cookie sheets at the 8 minute mark and it seems to work in my oven – know your oven (KYO) 🙂
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before storing