These popular Moroccan cookies are made by folding almond paste flavored with orange flower water and cinnamon within warqa dough. The pastries are fried and then soaked briefly in honey. Almond Briouats are commonly served at both special occasions and casual tea times.
The measures below yield a traditionally large batch. You may want to reduce the recipe by half if you're cooking alone.
Yield: Approximately 100 small briouats or 50 large
Prep Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
- ----- For the Filling------
- 1 kg (2 lb. 3 oz.) almonds
- 400 g (1 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon mastic or gum arabic powder
- 125 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) orange flower water
- ----- For Folding the Briouats ------
- 1 kg warqa
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 or 2 egg yolks
- ----- For Cooking the Briouats ------
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 1.25 kg (45 oz.) honey
- 1 to 2 tablespoons orange flower water
Blanch and peel the almonds. Leave to dry thoroughly before proceeding.
Fry half of the blanched almonds. (Leave the other 1/2 kg of almonds raw.) To fry the almonds, heat about 1/4" of vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Fry the almonds in batches, stirring constantly, until light to medium golden brown. Each batch should take 5 minutes or longer, providing the oil isn't too hot. Don't allow the almonds to get any darker, as they'll continue to color once removed from the oil. Transfer the almonds to a strainer or tray lined with paper towels and leave to cool.
Grind the almonds with the sugar. In a food processor, grind the fried almonds with about half of the sugar until they turn to paste. Turn out the almond paste into a bowl or onto a large tray, and repeat the grinding with the blanched almonds and remaining sugar.
Mix the almond paste filling. Combine the ground almonds and sugar with the cinnamon, salt, gum arabic powder, butter and orange flower water. Use your hands to mix and knead the paste thoroughly.
Shape the almond paste into balls. Roll all of the almond paste into equal-sized balls. For the small 5 cm briouats shown above, the balls were made cherry-sized. You can make them larger if you want a larger pastry.
Fold the briouats. Enclose each ball of almond paste in a strip of warqa dough. For cherry-sized balls, use approximately a 5 cm wide strip of dough.
Spread the center of the strip with a little melted butter and place the almond paste filling near the bottom. Wrap up the bottom of the dough to enclose the filling, and shape the triangle by folding the filling – up to the right and then left – until you reach the end of the dough. Each time you fold, you'll be flipping the bottom corner of the triangle up to the opposite edge of the dough. Trim the excess dough to make a neat flap, dab a little egg yolk on the flap to help seal and tuck it into the fold.
Fry the briouats and soak them in honey. Heat 1/4" to 1/2" of oil in a deep frying pan. At the same time, heat 1 kg of honey mixed with 1 tablespoon of orange flower water in a second pot. Remove the honey from the heat when it is quite hot and becomes lightly foamy on top.
Fry the briouat in batches in the hot oil, stirring gently and turning over several times, until light golden brown. On average, this should take from 5 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the fried pastries directly from the oil to the hot honey.
Soak the first batch of pastries in the hot honey while you fry the second batch of briouats. Occasionally submerge the briouats by pushing down on them gently. When the next batch of briouats is almost ready to be removed from the oil, transfer the ones which have been soaking in honey to a strainer.
As you work with the remaining batches of briouats the volume of honey will decrease as it's absorbed by the pastries. You'll find that instead of submerging the pastries, you'll need to turn them over several times to ensure that they're getting coated with honey. If the honey eventually seems to cool and thicken, heat it again to thin it. You can also add more honey to the pot if you find it easier to work that way.
Cool and store the briouats.
After the briouats have drained for a few minutes, transfer them to a platter or tray to finish cooling. Leave them for an hour or longer to cool thoroughly before storing.
The briouats can be kept in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for a month, or in the freezer for several months. If storing in the freezer, place a sheet of plastic wrap between layers to make it easy to remove only as many cookies as you need.