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About this recipe: Kwarezimal, or Lenten cookies in English, are low-fat cookies that were traditionally prepared by Maltese people to eat when they were fasting during Lent. Surprisingly, they could indeed eat these delicious cookies :) . . . even if they were fasting! Still popular to this day as a dessert or tea time snack, this is surprisingly healthy. The only honey which resembles the exquisite Malta honey is Greek Hymettus, from the mountain of that name. It is now extremely difficult to obtain the real Malta honey (which is flavoured with wild thyme).

NCE Malta Island, Malta

Serves: 12 

  • For the kwarezimal
  • 50g margarine or butter
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tablespoons orange flower water
  • 400g ground almonds
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 150g candied peel
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • For decorating
  • 1 teaspoon Malta honey
  • 30g chopped nuts, such as pistachios, almonds or other nuts

Prep:30min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Extra time:10min cooling  ›  Ready in:1hr 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line baking trays with baking parchment. Heat and melt the margarine in a saucepan.
  2. Sift together the self-raising flour and the wholemeal flour in a bowl. Add the bran from the wholemeal flour back to the flours mixture.
  3. Add the margarine and orange flower water to the mixture and stir well.
  4. Next, add all the remaining kwarezimal ingredients to the flour mixture.
  5. Knead into a stiff dough. Form the dough into shapes (approximately 14cm long, 7cm wide and 2cm thick). Place on the prepared baking trays.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until slightly golden brown, some 20 minutes.
  7. While still hot, spread with Malta honey and press on chopped, unsalted pistachio nuts or chopped roasted almonds or hazel nuts.
  8. When cold, kwarezimal is cut into oblong shapes and served with tea or coffee.

Other ideas

Kwarezimal recipe is perhaps one of the healthiest recipes for cookies you’ll find.

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We did the recipe and we loved it! 5 Star! - 26 Apr 2016

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