Still with the biscuits. I made a lot of biscuits last weekend. Can you tell? I’m also still swimming in brownie mix, which is completely awesome, though I’m glad I chose the route of sanity with regard to mixing up all the random bits of chocolate and using them as choc chips, and instead grouped them in ways likely to result in pleasing, rather than alarming, flavour combinations.
But I digress. I had more macadamia nut crumbs leftover after making my super-awesome strawberry gum biscuits, and this inspired me to go looking in my pantry for other bushfood ingredients to play with. I couldn’t find the lemon myrtle which I am positive is lurking somewhere, but I did find dried quandongs and also a mixed bush-fruits jam from Outback Spirit (they don’t seem to make it anymore, alas, but you can get Rosella Jam here). Good enough!
The dried quandongs looked a little unpromising at first, being very hard and dry and woody in texture, so I reconstituted them with water and found them pleasingly tangy. Also, when blended, they were moist enough to obviate the need for egg in the biscuits, yay, vegan biscuits!
The biscuits came out a lovely pink colour, but alas, lacking in the expected tang. Instead, they tasted mostly like a macadamia-based jam thumbprint – which is certainly not a bad thing to taste like, but is nonetheless a little disappointing if quandong was what you were after. I’d recommend adding some quandong essence if you have it, or maybe some lemon or finger-lime zest to the dough. (Finger lime zest would be better, from a bushfood standpoint, but you’d probably need a few of them to do the job…)
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25 g dried quandongs (mine came from Footeside Farm)
1/2 cup water or lemon juice
100g macadamia nuts
zest of 1 lemon
100 g almond meal
30g maple syrup
about 6 tsp rosella jam, or other bushfood jam
Now what will you do with it?
Preheat the oven to 165°C and line a baking tray with paper.
Start by reconstituting your quandongs, by putting them into a small saucepan with the water or lemon juice (or a mix of both) and bringing to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes or so, then leave to soak with the lid on until they are soft.
Meanwhile, process the macadamia nuts to coarse crumbs. This will not take long at all – stop if they start trying to release their oils. Which they will. Macadamias are giving like that. Put into a bowl with the lemon zest and almond meal.
Drain the quandongs and process until they are finely chopped and a brilliant hot pink colour. You may need to add a little of the maple syrup to help them, though I actually found this only made them cranky.
Knead the quandongs and maple syrup into the nut mixture – the quandongs will soften further into the mixture as you knead, and you’ll get a more overall-pink dough. Add a little more maple syrup if the biscuit dough won’t come together – don’t worry, these biscuits are hardly sweet at all, a little more syrup will not harm them.
Roll the biscuit dough into small balls – you will get about 12 from this recipe – and press a thumbprint into the middle.
Drop half a teaspoon or so of jam into each thumbprint.
Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, or until they are holding together and a little golden underneath.
Cool on the tray for five minutes, as they are a bit fragile at this stage, then transfer to the cooling rack.
These biscuits are gluten-free and vegan! Obviously, they are not nut-free, and I couldn’t tell you about whether they are low in fructose, because nobody is willing to give me a straight answer on the fructose content of quandongs!
This would probably work with other reconstituted dried fruit, too. Apricot might be nice. You could also swap the nuts around, of course. Or the jam. I have some blood lime marmalade that might make a good tangy alternative filling, come to think of it, but I think I’ll save that for when I manage to locate my lemon myrtle…