Almond and Orange Blossom Croquants Cookies Recipe

From the department of Who Has Time To Make Edible Gifts In Advance Anyway comes this last-minute recipe, shared by French food writer Cécile Cau on her blog a couple of days ago. It is a recipe for croquants, which is the French word for a variety of crunchy cookies from the South of France, most often thin and involving almonds.

I read the recipe and was enchanted by its simplicity. Flour, sugar, eggs, almonds, and a splash of orange flower water: I had all these on hand, and since my desk is about four steps from my kitchen, the temptation was great to just drop whatever it is I was supposed to be doing and bake a batch.

I was enchanted by the simplicity of Cécile’s recipe. Flour, sugar, eggs, almonds, and a splash of orange flower water: I had all these on hand.

I halved the recipe, wanting to take it for a test drive before I committed three cups of almonds to it, and modified a few things: I used a combination of regular and light whole wheat flour, decreased the quantity of sugar, determined an amount of orange blossom water that seemed right to me (Cécile’s recipe didn’t provide a measurement), and added a bit of salt, both mixed into the dough and sprinkled on just before baking.

The result is a truly delicious, crisp, slender cookie, not too sweet, and subtly (but noticeably) flavored with orange blossom. It could be compared to biscotti or cantuccini, and indeed they are cousins, but these are two to three times thinner, which makes a significant — and in my opinion, desirable — difference in the final texture and eating experience.

So, will you give these a try? And do you have any last-minute edible gift ideas to share?

Almond and Orange Blossom Croquants Cookies Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Makes about 40 croquants.

Almond and Orange Blossom Croquants Cookies Recipe

Ingredients

  • 125 grams (4.4 oz, about 1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 125 grams (4.4 oz, about 1 cup) light whole wheat flour (in France, use farine semi-complète or T110)
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) unrefined blond cane sugar
  • 175 grams (6 oz, about 1 1/2 cup) whole almonds, unblanched
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, almonds, and salt. Add in the eggs and orange blossom water, and stir in with a fork or dough whisk.
  3. Add in enough cold water for the mixture to come together into a sticky, but not too loose, dough; I added 60 ml (1/4 cup), but the amount will depend on the particular flours you used.
  4. Pour the dough onto the prepared baking sheet to form 2 separate "loaves," roughly rectangular in shape, about 12 by 18 cm (5 by 7 inches) and 2 cm (3/4 inch) in thickness. Sprinkle with a good pinch of salt each.
  5. Insert into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, keeping an eye on the progress, until the loaves are set and golden brown.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer one loaf to a cutting board, and use a serrated bread knife to cut it into thin slices, about 8 mm or 1/3 inch, wearing an oven mitt on the hand that holds it still. It's important to slice the loaf while it's still hot; it will be too hard to slice once cool. Repeat with the other loaf.
  7. If you find that the slices aren't quite baked through in the center, place them back, flat side up, on the baking sheet and return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, until baked through.
  8. Let cool completely before serving or wrapping up.

Notes

Adapted from Cécile Cau's recipe.

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/cookies-small-cakes/almond-and-orange-blossom-croquants-cookies-recipe/

  • http://enchantedfig.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    This looks great Clotilde! Looking forward to trying. And hey! I’m testing out your sourdough starter feeding method…here it goes.

  • http://dishesanddishes.wordpress.com hännah @ dishesanddishes

    I love croquants but the closest I’ve come to making them is biscotti. These flavors looks so light and delicious…I just just imagine having a few with tea at my desk. Lovely!

  • Marie Leon

    Simply wonderful. I am enjoying a French inspired holiday season between your recipes and Chef Morgans. I love this one. here

    thanks

  • http://cooketteria.blogspot.com/ Cooketteria

    They look so delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  • http://www.thegirlieblog.com The Girlie Blogger

    Yum. I’d like to enjoy those with a rich cup of jo.

  • adsum-iam

    Oh, thanks for this recipe, Clotilde – I’ll certainly try it though have just made a batch of biscotti so we’ll work our way through those first! My last-minute gift is butter fudge, made to my grandmother’s recipe. It’s a perfect ‘storecupboard’ gift too as I always keep the ingredients (butter, sugar and a tin of condensed milk) in the house. Golden brown, melt-in-the-mouth … lovely.

    Thanks so much for your friendly site and wonderful recipes – checking Chocolate & Zucchini has become part of my pre-work routine every morning, and though I’ve only contributed a few comments I always feel I’m among friends. Compliments of the season to you!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thank you, that means a lot to me. Happy holidays!

  • Cecília Magrané Vila

    They can also be compared with our Catalan CARQUINYOLIS. Delicious with any sweet wine, muscat or whatever.
    Great blogg!! Thank you so much
    My Christmas gift this year has been your natural deodorant.
    My best wishes for the New Year from Barcelona.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I didn’t know about carquinyolis, but will look those up, thank you. Happy holidays to you, too!

  • http://www.joeinvegas.blogspot.com/ joeinvegas

    I just like the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies using the recipe on the chip bag (at least in the US, I can post it) with walnuts and dried cranberries in addition to the chocolate chips.

  • http://delishhh.com Delishhh

    Great gift! I ended up making Rugelach for everyone!

  • Rachel

    These look great – I’m a sucker for anything with orange blossom water!

    My edible Christmas gift to my boyfriend this year was Basler brunsli (recipe from Beau a la louche – thanks for indirectly leading me to it). Delicious and they made the journey from California to London unscathed, since they don’t contain any butter.

  • http://lemontarteinparis.blogspot.com Lemon

    Your biscotti look great. I am a big fan of croquants, but never had some with orange blossom, what a good idea, they must be delicious.

  • http://www.thisdesignercooks.blogspot.com Stephanie

    These look wonderful. I still have a few people to give edible gifts to this year and these may have to be the next edible gift recipe I try. The last one, was a fruitcake made with Cointreau and dried tart cherries.

  • http://www.storiesfromemona.com Maya

    Merry Christmas to you, Clotilde!
    Lovely biscotti recipe!

  • sillygirl

    I thought I would get them a little browner at the second time in the oven – well they are pretty – but pretty hard to chew! They still taste good and maybe there was an unconscious reason I did it – too hard for my husband but just right for me!!!

  • http://www.diytravelexpert.com Kathleen C Baker

    Looks like it will go perfectly with a cup of tea. Often bought something similar at a bakery, but never tried making it myself – so far.

  • http://idigcooking.com/ crystal

    Hi Clotilde,
    Its really looking mouth watering..I can’t stop myself to try it…I’ll make these yummy biscotti for my little angles on this New Year eve!!!
    Wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!

  • http://www.realepicurean.com/ Scott at Real Epicurean

    Yes! Almond and orange is a great favour combination.

  • Brewnette

    Where would I find Orange Blossom Water?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You will find orange blossom water (a.k.a. orange flower water) at Middle-Eastern markets, or at gourmet grocery stores.

  • Katie

    I made several of the Honey Spice Loaf from the C&Z cookbook. It was fun and my apartment smelled like Christmas spice! Everyone was very happy with their present! Thank you for the recipe.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Delighted to hear it, Katie, thanks for reporting back!

  • http://www.theinsatiablefoodmachine.com Adam Hegsted

    Those look insanely delicious. Easy and will be so good with my espresso. Great site by the way.

  • Dory

    These look great! I am not fond of U.S. style cookies– too rich and too sweet. I think I would like these.

    Talking about rich– I made chocolate truffles for my family members, as all except me are slender without trying and have no need to cut back on sugar and cream. I used regular chocolate and dairy cream for most people, and vegan chocolate and rich coconut milk (the part from the top of the can) for my sister who is vegan. I was surprised and pleased with the results– especially since I ate only one of each kind.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Those vegan truffles sound so intriguing, Dory! Do you have a recipe you could point us to?

      • lalf

        I do. It’s one I quite like, especially because it’s from pantry staples, is quick to make and is a fairly guiltless pleasure — though I am bound to confess that it doesn’t hold a candle to your larabars, Clotilde! Here’s the link.

  • http://www.parisagora.net Tania Ziert Baiao

    Feliz 2012!

  • http://theshadypine.blogspot.com/ Anna

    These definitely remind me of making biscotti which I haven’t made in such a long time. Thanks for sharing this recipe….I can’t wait to try it and see how it compares with a regular biscotti.

  • Bearing gifts to eat…

    As I often make biscotti, these will be a delicious change as will the use of light whole wheat flour. For food gifts anytime, these are perfect especially for almond lovers. Thank you for all your contributions to my cooking world and warm wishes for a good 2012

  • Mari gold

    Not sure what the blond unrefined sugar is, can’t wait to try these out. Many thanks for your recipes.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Unrefined cane sugar is cane sugar that has been minimally processed so it retains more flavor and nutrients than white (completely refined) sugar. Unrefined sugar comes in different colors/grades, and the one I use in practically all of my baking is one that’s blond/golden (rather than dark brown). I feel the flavor is present, but mild enough not to overshadow the other ingredients in a baking recipe. You can buy it at natural foods stores, but if you can’t find it or aren’t interested, white sugar will work too (that’s what the original recipe called for).

  • Eileen

    I would like to make your cookies today but do not have orange blossom water. Can I substitute tangerine essence as I do have about 10 tangerines sitting in the fridge. Would you recommend grating the skin or using the fresh juice or both? thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m not sure what you mean by tangerine “essence,” but you can certainly replace the orange blossom water by the same volume of tangerine juice, and add the zest of one or two tangerines (if they’re organic). Let us know how it turns out!

  • http://easyguac.com/ Jane

    hmmm, yummy…
    i wanna try the mixture of orange and cashew…
    hope it’s gonna be rock!

  • http://cmfoodand.blogspot.com Calogero

    I like almonds and oranges. Thanks a lot.

  • melissa in texas

    There is a biscuit that I adore that is very similar – it has raisins and black pepper in addition to the almonds. The addition of the pepper makes it perfect with cheese.

  • thomas

    I use just the egg whites (3 eggs, 3 oz almonds, 3oz flour, 3oz sugar), and slice these thinner than the recipe: as thinly as possible, which works out to be perhaps 3-4mm. Rose water sprinkled on them after they are dried is also good.

    I suspect these were invented to cope with a cooking disaster: with the egg-white recipe the intermediate slab of cake is dense, rubbery and unappetizing, but the final product is wonderful.

  • lalf

    These are just lovely, Clotilde! The first time, I made your recipe as directed. The second time, I tried a combination of almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Both were a definite hit with half-French husband. But the hazelnuts are so good in these that I may try my variation again, with 2 Tbs of Maggie Beer’s lovely “Seville Vino Cotto” syrup in place of the orange blossom water — which I cook with frequently, but it is rather delicate here, almost invisible. We are delighted with your less-sugar, no-fat, part-whole-wheat-flour version!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s lovely to hear, thanks so much for reporting back and sharing your versions!

  • michele

    I regularly make biscotti, particularly because they are easy to freeze after the first bake, then do the second bake straight from the freezer fresh for gifts. My ongoing struggle, however, is how to slice the biscotti without crumbling, especially when using whole nuts. How are you getting such a clean, thin slice with whole almonds?!!! I use a serrated knife, I have tried slicing warm, cooled, slightly underbaked… I have given up on the whole nuts altoghether, even though I prefer the look of the cookies. Ideas?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m sorry you’ve found it a challenge to slice biscotti, Michele. I use a serrated bread knife and find it quite easy to slice cleanly through the still-warm “loaf”. My only suggestion would be that perhaps you need a sharper serrated knife? They can get dull after a while and then they do more harm than good.

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