almond cookies

23 Mar

It’s spring break!  Yay!  I realized that I still have all these grandiose plans of cooking through Mourad Lahlou’s New Moroccan.  Lahlou’s Aziza remains one of my most favorite restaurants in the city.  I celebrated my 25th birthday at Aziza a couple of years ago and experienced their tasting menu.  Each dish was absolutely amazing.  It was expensive but so worth it.  I still haven’t been back since, so I’m really excited to know that I can try to recreate his dishes at home.

I’m working through his book, cheating, starting first at the back with the desserts.  I’m still deciding whether I really want to roast and grind my own spices.  I totally agree with his take that spice is a verb, it’s really what you do with it, and most importantly, one should really toast and grind spices as needed.  Store spices whole and untoasted.  However, I don’t have the money to buy all the spices to make my own el ras hanout from scratch (his mix has 24 different ingredients!) and a spice grinder.  I know this thought is sacrilegious to Lahlou, but maybe I’ll just use store bought and already ground spices.  But I really like the idea and challenge of making my own spices from scratch.  Maybe I don’t have to make my own el ras hanout, since a basteeya and kefta doesn’t need it.

In any case, keep checking back and see my cooking adventures with Lahlou this spring break.  I’ll write a review of his book as I cook my way through it.  Here’s the second second recipe I tried, I’ll post the first one later.

Almond Cookies
Adpated from Mourad Lahlou’s New Moroccan

1 tablespoon egg white
1/2 tespoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces almond paste
3/4 cup skin-on whole almonds
3 tablespoons sugar (original recipe calls for 3 1/2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of kosher salt
powdered sugar

Preheat oven at 325 degrees.

Combine egg white with the extracts and set aside.

Combine the almond paste, almonds, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until finely ground.  Add the egg white mixture and process until everything comes together.  I used a blender and processed everything little by little since I don’t have a food processor.  It worked fine.

Form dough into round balls by scantly filling a tablespoon. Roll dough into powdered sugar.  Bake for about 14 minutes, middle rack, don’t forget to rotate the pan halfway.  He says 12.  But mine actually took longer so just keep checking until the cookies are cracked and they have some color.  Weirdly, I baked another one of his cookie recipe and the cooking time was also off. Perhaps, I also need to invest in an oven thermometer.

These cookies are really good but also rich.  They are great with tea or just a piece to end a meal.  My mom and aunt loved them!

P.S.  My spice grinder is now on its way, we are on for a spring break of culinary adventures!

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