Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kwarezimal (qua-re-zee-mull)

I don't suffer from sweet tooth but I have to admit that I've got a particular weakness for kwarezimal. They're my favourite cookie. The cookies in my photo do not look that appealing but I can vouch that they're really really good.

This sweet is usually made during Lent and contains no fat or eggs. The word 'kwarezimal' refers to quaresima - the forty days of Lent. In fact, the kwarezimal's popularity among the Maltese originates from the fact that it contains no fat or eggs, and hence does not interfere with fasting regulations. Although recipes vary, it is traditionally made up of almonds, flour, honey and spices.

(The ones I made were just plain ones because I had no crushed almonds in the pantry. )

Here's my mother's recipe

220g almonds
(Lightly toast or roast the almonds. Grind coarsely)
220g flour
330g sugar
1tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch mixed spice
orange flower water
1 grated rind of lemon + juice,
1 grated rind of orange +juice
and grated rind of tangerine
1 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder

First, mix the dry ingredients, then add the citrus juices and a little orange blossom water. If the dough looks a little dry add more blossom water or just natural water to make a stiff dough. Knead lightly until well amalgamated and shape into ovals, approximately 17.5 cm long, 5 cm wide and 2 cm thick. Place on greased and floured baking trays and bake at 190'C/375'F/gas 5 for about 20 minutes.

The most important factor in baking kwarezimal is that you do not overcook or let them get too hard whilst in the oven. This is because once they are out of the oven they will harden more due to the almonds.


Sue said...

Zen, I used to love these cookies when I lived in MaltA. Thanks for the recipe , maybe I might try them.
Happy weekend!

Loree said...

I love kwarezimal but I can never be bothered to make any. So I just buy some :)

Rosanne Dingli said...

Oh my goodness - you have just whizzed me back a quarter of a century! I LOVE kwarezimal. I even wrote a short story about it. I must resurrect it and post it on my blog. It really is a divine sweet. We used to buy it from street vendors and eat it on the way home - sticky and chewy, or crunchy and dark. Mmmm...

Joey said...

Yum! They look and sound so good! Thank you for the recipe.


Doreen said...

Sorry it took me so long to post but I was recently thinking of you and went looking for your blog so here I am and hope you had a lovely Easter and especially with your little one : )


P.S. Thanks for this great recipe.

Joey said...


Just a note to tell you that I've missed your writing...