April Seasonal Ingredient- VEGAN Watercress & Almond Biscuits

It’s time for another seasonal ingredient experiment and I won't lie to you…this recipe was a bit of a fail but I know these ingredients work together so if anyone has any ideas on how to improve this then please let me know! I decided to go with watercress as my main ingredient for this month, I’ve loved a classic egg and watercress sandwich since I was little, but I know there's so much more we can do with this simple ingredient, so I decided to start by using it in a sweet recipe of watercress and almond cookies, I looked at a few ideas and saw that almond and watercress seem to be a pretty solid pairing, so why not add a bit of sugar and make them into cookies?! Hmm…seems it wasn’t quite as simple as I first thought, but I tried my best and as I said before if anyone knows if this does work as a sweet recipe then please tell me how I can do better. For now, let’s have a look at how I made them. 

Makes 30 small cookies 

130g Soft Brown Sugar 
50g Caster Sugar 
1 Lemon, zest and juice
130g Ground Almonds 
40g Fresh Watercress 
1/2 tsp Baking Powder 
1/2 tsp Sea Salt 
Whole Almonds, for the topping 

First off, we want to preheat the oven to 170C/ 150 Fan/ Gas Mark 3 and put the sugars and lemon zest into a food processor/chopper/blender and whizz together for a couple of minutes until you have a fully combined and tightly packed lemon sugar. 

Now, add the lemon sugar, lemon juice, ground almonds, baking powder and sea salt into a mixing bowl and mix together until all the ingredients have combined, it will look a bit dry but we’re going to add the watercress in soon and that’ll make it a bit wetter. 

Put your watercress into the food processor and whizz until it has a finely chopped/paste consistency. 

Add your watercress into the cookie mix and whisk until you have a thick and slightly sticky cookie mixture. It shouldn’t be dry but it should be thick enough to shape with your hands. 

Now, get a greased baking tray (or use a baking mat) and shape your cookies into little balls before placing them on the tray with an inch gap between them so they have plenty of room to spread out! 

Bake the cookies for 15-20 mins until they take on a deep golden colour and are no longer spongy. Take them out of the oven and immediately press a whole almond onto the top of each cookie, do this VERY gently as we don’t want to smash the cookies! 
Leave them to cool for around 10 mins and then you’re all done! 

I think these really look the part, they have a lovely colour and the almond on top looks really cute but as we know in baking, it's 20% looks and 80% taste and unfortunately, these didn't really have the taste. I amended the amount of sea salt from the original recipe as before they had a sickly sweet taste from the watercress, so I added another 1/4 tsp of sea salt and it did help to balance out the flavours but not enough to be a truly great bake. I think these are a big improvement from my kale brownies which my boyfriend said “taste like a bin”, these don’t taste like a bin but they were a bit dry and tacky so I might attempt these again and add in some oil to loosen the mixture and see if they bake any better. 
Baking and cooking is all about experimenting and seeing which flavours work and which don’t, I think these flavours do work but potentially not in this format, maybe as I keep baking and get some knowledge I’ll be able to make them work someday, for now, this was just a fun recipe that didn't quite work out, but never mind, my savoury seasonal ingredient recipe coming out tomorrow is a real cracker! 

H x