If at first you don’t succeed…

I was in full test kitchen cookie baking mode the other day, which is something I haven’t done in ages.  Back when I had my gourmet baking mix company, I was experimenting all the time.  I’ve been so busy taking courses, building my own websites, and doing everything else it takes to start a new enterprise, that there hasn’t been much time left over for baking cookies. 

While my business card no longer reads, “Baking Queen,” I still love dreaming up new recipes and playing in the kitchen, so it was fun being back in my element. But with that demon sugar banned from my diet, I was going to have to get super creative.  I think one of the toughest things about diets is that you have to give up sweets.  When you detox, you can’t have gluten, or butter, or sugar.  Thankfully, you are allowed to have honey, nuts, and eggs, so I’ve done a lot of experimenting to create alternative sweet treats you can still have – in moderation.

These cookies started out as chocolate orange almond biscotti.  Sounds yummy, right?  The problem was, I was working with not one, but two ingredients that burn really easily, crumbly almond flour, and no sugar to caramelize and stick everything together.  Add the fact that I accidentally went way overboard with the salt and my experiment was a complete disaster!

My Hazelnut Cocoa Nib Cookies, on the other hand, had already turned out perfect.  I could have just left it at that, but I have too much of a persistent streak to give up that easily!  As I sat with a cup of tea and a lovely cookie in hand, I was struck by a flash of inspiration.  I ditched the cocoa powder and increased the amount of orange peel. 

Biscotti are a pain in the butt to make even under the best of circumstances, so I chose to make regular cookies.  While they tasted nice, they weren’t much to look at, so it was back to the drawing board for me.  In the end, I decided to try baking them in a square tin so I could pat the dough down evenly.  And so these jaffa orange almond squares were born.  Drizzled with some 85% chocolate from Tanzania, they looked and tasted amazing!

This delicious dessert is gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar free.

As with the hazelnut cookies, baking these is a cinch.  If you like the taste of almond paste and marzipan, you will love these!

Jaffa Orange Almond Squares

Makes 1 8×8” square pan


  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) runny honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup (150 g) almond flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Grated zest of 1 orange


  1. Preheat your oven to 350/160 and grease an 8 x 8” square pan with coconut oil.
  2. Add the egg, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl, and stir or whisk until well combined.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, chopped almonds, baking soda, salt, and orange zest and stir until well mixed.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well combined, it will be like a wet dough.
  5. Add the dough to your baking pan and press evenly to fill the whole pan.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.


Melt a bit of 85% or higher chocolate and drizzle over the top before cutting.

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