Awinat mchicha (Moroccan almond jam biscuits)

    1 hour 15 min

    "Awinat mchicha", which literally means "Cat's eye", are Moroccan almond biscuits with a hole in the centre filled with jam of your choice. Personally, I like to use apricot jam so the biscuits look more like a "cat's eye", but my children prefer more strawberry jam.

    3 people made this

    Serves: 20 

    • 250g plain flour
    • 100g ground blanched almonds or ground sesame seeds
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 pinch ground cardamom
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
    • 100g unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 tablespoon clarified butter
    • 180g caster sugar
    • 6 egg yolks
    • 60ml sunflower oil
    • 60ml fresh orange juice
    • 2 to 3 drops almond extract
    • 1 orange, zested
    • For the icing
    • 1 egg white, slightly beaten
    • 1/2 tablespoon icing sugar
    • For the coating
    • 100g whole unpeeled almonds, toasted and chopped, or toasted sesame seeds
    • For the filling
    • jam of your choice

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Extra time:30min chilling  ›  Ready in:1hr15min 

    1. Mix all flour, almonds, salt, baking powder, cardamom and fennel seeds together in a bowl.
    2. In another bowl cream butter, clarified butter and sugar until well blended, smooth and fluffy.
    3. Add the the egg yolks one at a time while continuing to whisk, then add the oil and juice, and whisk for about 5 to 8 minutes.
    4. Add in almond extract, orange zest and the dry ingredients gradually until just incorporated, don't over mix
    5. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    6. Preheat oven at 180 C / 160 C fan / Gas 4.
    7. Divide the dough into very small equal pieces, then roll each piece into a ball.
    8. For the icing mix the egg white with the icing sugar until smooth. Roll the balls in that mixture, then in the chopped almonds.
    9. Place the balls onto a baking tray, spacing them about 1 cm apart. Then, use your fingertip or an instrument of similar size to make a deep dent in the centre of each ball.
    10. Bake until lightly coloured, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, use the same instrument as before (to make a well in the centre of each ball, but don't use your finger, they are quite hot now), then gently push through the centre of each biscuit to widen the hole.
    11. Bake until slightly golden, another 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool before removing them from tray. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely.
    12. Heat jam (in microwave or in a bain-marie or otherwise) until liquified, then spoon a few drops into each hole. Allow the jam to set before storing the biscuits.

    See it on my blog

    Find the recipe on Moroccan Cuisine Marocaine

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