I am constantly on the search for simplicity, both in life and in the kitchen.
This could come from living in a big city. Navigating the urban jungle on a daily basis requires you to carve out simple moments, if only for the reason to maintain your insanity. Life is about finding a balance between the two; a little craziness here, a little simplicity here.
When I think about it, some of my favorite moments of living in Paris are also the smallest and simplest. The way the light hits the buildings while biking home in the late afternoon. The interaction with my favorite producer at the market, when she tells me to skip the regular arugula and go for the wild, more funky one instead.
My view out over the courtyard from my bedroom window, where I get glimpses into other windows and into people’s lives. The man across the courtyard who always has his window wide open, and sits at a white table reading the newspaper. The lady to the left that is often hanging out the window smoking a cigarette. Because of the angle, most of the time all I see is her slender hand holding her cigarette, the ashes falling four stories to the ground below.
I have been embracing these simple moments and embracing them hard, as if grasping on to them somehow provides more clarity in my own, often frantic, life.
And just like a big city has had me craving simplicity in life, it has also seeped into my cooking. Because a big city means a small apartment, and a small apartment means an even smaller kitchen. Easy recipes that require only a few ingredients and a few steps are golden.
These cookies came about because I wanted something a little sweet, but healthy enough to serve as a post-run snack if need be. There’s no flour in sight, they’re simply full of ground almonds.
Most recently I made them in my mother’s kitchen, spending some time away from Paris life and coming home for a visit. Here the house is nestled into the country. The neighbors I see through the window are birds and trees. It’s basically the exact opposite of my life on the other side of the Atlantic. And I love soaking it all in. Especially when these cookies are involved.
They’re healthy enough that you can feel good having them with tea for breakfast, or taking them along on a hike for a trail snack. Or serve them with a little ice cream and drizzle it all with olive oil. This is the base recipe, but I have made them with citrus zest (yes, please) and another time I added cardamom (apricot and cardamom together is amazing). I’ve added those two as options, but feel free to play around.
Almond Apricot Cookies
Makes: 12 cookies
1 cup (5 ounces, 142 grams) raw almonds
1/4 cup (about 40 grams) dried apricots, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 to 2 tablespoons citrus zest, either lemon or orange
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a food processor, grind the almonds until they are almost finely ground. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also chop them, just make sure you chop them down pretty small.
In a bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add in the honey, olive oil and water and work together until the dough is sticky. If you’re not able to form the dough into balls, you can add a little more water.
With your hands, form the dough into 12 small balls and place them on a greased baking sheet, or silicone baking mat.
Flatten the cookies and form them so that they look like small patties.
Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let them cool before removing them from the baking pan.
Store in an airtight container.