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Culinary Spotlight: Food Stories

Photo By Nolan Schmidt

This cookie has a story, as most foods do. This is especially true when you find yourself making something you haven’t made in a long time. These memories were stirred up by a recent request to make a Spanish cookie for an art exhibit. Immediately, this recipe came to mind though I hadn’t made it in years. A sweet, crunchy, slightly citrus almond cookie with the simplest of ingredients, shared with me by a friend from Spain.

I highly encourage everyone to meet people from other parts of the world or even other parts of the country. Learn about their culture, food and their story. Many foods have been introduced to me by my Spanish friend, Enrique. We met when he moved to Fargo to attend NDSU. He showed me how to make chorizo in a cupboard in my garage (I still consider this to be one of the bravest things I’ve ever done), cook my first (and currently only) octopus and we made these cookies at Square One before it officially opened.

Memories associated with this recipe brought me to a very grateful state of mind. Remembering all our friends helping as we ripped up carpet, tack strips, tore down walls, built new walls and painted Square One so my culinary incubator dreams could be a reality. It was tedious and hard work but our friends gladly showed up to help us out.

This showcases how making a specific food or dish can bring you back and make you think about things you may have not thought about in a while. When we made these cookies before opening, there was nothing inside the walk-in cooler – not even shelves. The concrete was freshly painted and I had made some very bold paint choices for the walls. Let’s just say my style has been refined since then. Though my memory may be quite awful at times, all these images came back to me quickly when I fired up the oven to make these crispy sweets again.

What is this cookie that has brought me to think about grateful and wonderful experiences? That’s a good question! It’s moscovitas. These cookies hail from Asturias, a region in northwest Spain. They are very well known there and I hope to someday travel to Spain to compare mine to the OG moscovitas. Once again, we are focusing on simple ingredients, prepared together to create something delicious. Food doesn’t need to be fussy to be delightful. Don’t get me wrong though, there are some mighty fussy foods that are well worth the effort!

Almonds. Cream. Sugar. Flour. Orange Zest. Chocolate. That’s all you need! The following recipe is by weight, which is the most accurate way to bake and increases your success rate. I hope you pull an old recipe from your book and make something you haven’t in a while.

Moscovitas

• Prep Time: 15 minutes
• Bake Time: 12-15 minutes
• Yield: 16-20 cookies

Ingredients:

• 100 grams Whole Almonds, raw

• 100 grams Sugar

• 100 grams Cream

• Zest of 1 Orange

• 20 grams All-Purpose Flour

• 125 grams Chocolate (dark or milk, your preference)

Directions

  • In a 350-degree oven, toast almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer for 8-10 minutes until fragrant and starting to brown, shake the pan at about 5 minutes to stir the almonds. While the almonds are toasting measure out 20 grams of flour in a small bowl. In a separate microwave-safe bowl, measure out 125 grams of chocolate. If you are using a chocolate bar, cut/shave it into thin strips using a knife to help it melt more easily.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  • Place toasted almonds in a food processor and process until the pieces are similar in size to dried rice. Be sure not to over blend as it will become almond butter!
  • Reduce heat to 325F.
  • Weigh your sugar and cream into a saucepan. Add the zest of an entire orange, being careful not to grate into the white pith portion of the orange peel. We only want the flavorful, thin outer layer.
  • Stir cream, sugar and zest together. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring often.
  • Once the mixture has reached a full boil, remove from heat and stir in the flour. Whisk well. Add the processed almonds and stir thoroughly.
  • Using a 1-½ teaspoon cookie scoop place level scoops of batter about 4” apart on the lined baking sheets. These cookies do spread a lot and become very thin so you want to make sure they don’t run into each other while baking. You could also use a heaping 1 teaspoon measuring spoon instead of the cookie scoop.
  • Place cookies in 325F oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the bake time.  Once you see the edges turn a deep golden brown color, remove from oven and let cool completely.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, melt your chocolate either in a double boiler or at 50% power in the microwave in 45-60 second intervals, stirring between nuking sessions.
  • Flip the cooled cookies over and spread a thin layer of melted chocolate across the bottom of each cookie. A silicone brush works really well here but you could also use the back of a soup spoon or small offset spatula. Eat any remaining chocolate with a spoon. Once the chocolate has set, store in an airtight container or eat them all immediately because they are mighty addictive.

Casey Steele

Written by Casey Steele

Casey Steele helped found Square One with a vision to offer professional commercial kitchen space to up-and-coming food businesses. Casey teaches several classes at Square One while managing the facility, making her quite the foodie pro.

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