About this recipe:These "3winat Mchicha", which literally means "Cat's Eye" are little Moroccan almond round cookies of deliciousness, with a little hole in the centre filled with jam of your choice. Personally, I like to use apricot jam so the cookies look more like a "cat's eye", but my children prefer more strawberry jam, but any flavour works.
-100 gr ground blanched almond or use ground sesame seeds instead
-100 gr soft butter, unsalted
-60 ml sunflower oil
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder, about 2.5 ml
-6 egg yolks
-180 gr caster sugar
-2-3 drops almond extract
-Zest of 1 orange, medium
-60 ml fresh orange juice
-Pinch of ground green cardamom pods
-1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
For Icing : -1 egg white, slightly beaten then add 1/2 tablespoon of icing sugar and mix well.
For Coating : -Some whole almonds with skin, toasted and roughly chopped or toasted sesame seeds (About 100 gr)
For Filling : Jam of your choice
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Mix all dry ingredients together, including spices.
Cream butter, oudi and sugar until well blended, having a smooth and fluffy mixture
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
-Add in almond extract, orange zest and the dry ingredients GRADUALLY until just incorporated, don't over mix
Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven at 160°C fan / or 180°C / or 356°F / or gas mark 4.
Divide the dough into very small equal pieces, then roll each piece into a ball
Roll the balls in egg white mixture, then in almonds or sesame seeds to coat.
Place the balls onto the baking sheet, spacing about 1 cm apart. Then, use your finger or an instrument of similar size to make a well in the center of each ball.
Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, then remove from the oven, use the same instrument as before (to make a well in the center of each ball, but don't use your finger, they are quite hot now), then gently push through the center of each cookie to widen the hole.
Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until they become slightly golden. Allow to cool before removing them from tray. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely.
Heat jam (in microwave or in a bain-marie or others) until liquefied, then spoon a few drops into each hole. Allow the jam to cool before storing the cookies.