A Little Grit Can Be a Good Thing: Moroccan Semolina and Almond Cookies

I own Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan but had never thought about making her "Moroccan Semolina and Almond Cookies." Then I came across the recipe in The New York Times and realized that it would be a good way to use up some semolina flour I had left over after making Claire Saffitz's Blood Orange and Olive Oil Upside-Down Cake

The recipe is easy. You rub lemon zest into sugar until the sugar is damp and fragrant; add eggs and beat for several minutes; add canola oil, followed by vanilla; and incorporate semolina flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Orange blossom water is listed as an optional ingredient and I left it out because I don't like floral flavors in baked goods. I added a bit of almond extract instead. I have never regretted adding almond extract to something that already has almonds in it; I can't get enough almond flavor.

I used a #50 scoop to portion out the dough and got three dozen cookies from a batch. I rolled each cookie in powdered sugar before placing it on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pressing down in the center with my thumb to make a depression. This caused the edges of the cookies to crack, but the recipe says this is supposed to happen. My finished cookies look pretty close to those pictured in the cookbook, but not so much like those in the The New York Times photo.

These little cookies were delightful. I'm glad I added the almond extract, because the intense almond flavor was lovely, as was as the brightness from the lemon. The slightly crumbly, lightly gritty texture from the semolina gave these cookies a bit of character, in a good way. This recipe gives you a very nice return on very little effort.

Recipe: "Moroccan Semolina and Almond Cookies" from Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan, recipe available here from The New York Times.


Maria said…
Have you ever heard of or tried Migliaccio? Its a semolina-ricotta cake typically made during Carnevale and it seems like the perfect recipe to use up the leftover semolina!

Cooks Illustrated just published the recipe in their latest magazine!

Oh, I have never heard of this cake -- thanks for the tip!