Spiced orange and walnut biscuits

It’s actually ridiculous how many things I’ve made out of oranges and walnuts over the past few weeks. If you’ve been following, you’ll know that I’m house-sitting on a farmlet on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and attempting to eat only homegrown, local, seasonal produce. So, being winter, there is a lot of citrus gracing the fruit bowl, and having a home-grown supply of walnuts is keeping us happy in the nut department.

Luckily, this month’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is themed “Nuts about sweets”. Winning. I have nuts. I would have been in trouble if it was apples or something. I mean, I’m resorting to mandarines in my porridge…

Due to my current restrictions on processed and packaged food, anything resembling butter or margarine was out, and sugar is kept to a minimum. This poses a small challenge when making desserts, but as a result, these vegan tasties have an almost cake-like texture, which is wonderfully offset by the crunchiness of the walnuts.

These are good have-with-coffee-or-tea biscuits, which is exactly what I’ve been doing all week. And because they’re actually pretty healthy (or not too unhealthy), you don’t have to feel bad if you have several tea breaks each day!

Spiced orange and walnut biscuits

3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup wholemeal flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup raw sugar (add a tad more if you want them sweeter)
applesauce (1/2 apple + 1 tablespoon water, whizzed together in food processor)
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 fresh orange juice
zest of one orange
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon cardamon seeds, ground
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, cardamon and cinnamon in a large bowl to combine. Add oil and applesauce and rub together with fingertips to achieve a breadcrumb consistency. Stir through walnuts.

In a smaller bowl, whisk sugar, milk, orange juice and zest until well combined, then add to dry ingredients. Stir until well combined, then place dessert-spoon sized portions on prepared baking tray and flatten slightly into biscuit-shaped discs. Bake for around 15 minutes or until golden.

This post is part of the July Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, hosted by Nic from Dining with a Stud. To check out what other sweet treats are being created with nuts, click the icon below and scroll down.

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Lemon chickpea slice

Abundance! What a brilliant word. But when it comes to citrus, you really have to get a little bit creative. Oranges are great because you can just eat or juice them. Lemons and limes are a tad more tricky – pickled limes, preserved lemons, marmalade? Tick. And there are still bags of fruit coming off the trees.

Desserts.

Lemon and lime sweets generally use very few fruit, which will hardly make a dent in the abundance of your heaving lemon tree. But any use is better than none, right? Especially a tasty one.

This is a variation on a recipe I posted a while ago for choc-berry chickpea slice. That one was vegan – this one is dairy-free and uses eggs. I must say that this version is rather lovely. It has a much lighter consistency, rather than the more fudgey chia-egg version. Not to say I don’t love a fudgey slice, but the eggs really do make a difference to the texture. Lighter is better when it comes to lemon I think. It also has no oil! Why did I even include that in the first place?! (And it still excites me that you’re getting a little dose of legume in your dessert!)

Lemon chickpea slice

1 cup chickpeas, cooked and drained
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup raw sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180C and line a square or rectangular baking tin (the type for making brownies, or square cakes) – about 20 x 20 or 30 cm.

Whizz the chickpeas in a food processor until the texture resembles something between breadcrumbs and flour. This will be easier if the chickpeas are well-drained.
Place the chickpeas in a large bowl with the flour and baking powder, and whisk to mix together and remove any lumps.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Add to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Pour the mixture into prepared baking pan and bake for 40 minutes until the top is golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool, then remove from pan and ice with lemon icing by combining approx 1 cup icing sugar with a dash of lemon juice (or dilute with non-dairy milk if you want a more subtle lemon flavour).

When icing has set, cut into slices of your desired shape and size.

Eat.