Sunday, April 24, 2016

Eggless orange almond cookies

My little niece, who is nearly 6 years old, has been allergic to eggs since she was a baby. If she eats anything with even a trace of eggs, within about 15 minutes of ingesting it, she gets very uneasy and then invariably throws up. Once she's evacuated the contents of her little tummy, she's right back to normal, bouncy and happy while people around her deal with the aftermath. 

Obviously an allergy to eggs, while not as terrible as various other food-related allergies that children can have, does mean that she has to be very careful when she eats away from home - especially when it's a kiddie birthday party and there are tempting cakes and cookies on offer. Also because no party-organising parent really wants to have to deal with a kid who's having an allergic reaction that could escalate to life-endangering! However, touch wood, my niece is not fatally allergic to eggs, so her allergy is probably one of the easier types of problems to deal with. After all, it's easy enough to make egg-free food, especially cakes, cookies and ice creams. This holds true especially for home bakers. 

I made these orange almond cookies last week as a trial, to see how they would turn out prior to making them for my sister to take back for my niece when she returns to Seattle next week. The cookies turned out incredibly crisp and orangey and really tasty, and they disappeared really rather quickly. So I'm making a double batch today, because there would be a one-man mutiny if I didn't keep a few cookies back for home consumption. And here's the recipe so YOU can make it too. 

Oh by the way, I've taken to weighing out my ingredients for baking - I have the most basic of Salter kitchen scales that can weigh up to 500gms or 1/2 kilo. What's more, it can be tucked away neatly in its weighing bowl with its own plastic lid. Don't ask what's the big deal here, if you're the kind that weighs things automatically - until now I've not been the sort of person who bothered with all that "fussiness" (as I considered it). I'm not yet 100% on the side of weighing every single time...but I'm far more likely to do it than not. I consider myself to be the new improved version of me. 

Recipe for: Eggless orange almond cookies


115 gms unsalted butter, softened
100 gms caster or granulated) sugar (I've tried it with both and it doesn't seem to have made any difference to the end result)
155 gms plain flour
1 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp pure orange oil (optional)
3-4 drops of orange food colouring (optional)
Zest of one orange
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/2 tsp cardamom seed powder if you prefer)
1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds


1. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. By hand will do - I used a wooden spoon.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the sliced/slivered almonds and mix together until fully incorporated. Place the almonds on a plate. 

3. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour for it to firm up. Line a flat baking sheet with a Silpat mat or with nonstick baking paper. 

4. Break off pieces of dough (about the size of a large marble), roll them into a ball and press them into the almonds. 

5. Place the cookie dough balls on the lined tray (almond side up) and flatten each one slightly. (You may need to wash and dry your hands every so often to stop the dough sticking as it starts to warm up). Leave 2 inches space between cookies as they will spread. Put the remaining dough back in the fridge if you can't use it all in one batch. 

6. Bake the cookies in a 180C oven for 9-12 minutes (or until the edges turn golden brown). Leave the cookies on the sheet for a minute, then transfer carefully with a spatula on to wire cooling racks. They will crisp up as they cool.