Kwarezimal is a sweet eaten in lent. Lent, for Christians, is a period of fasting and may try as much as possible to stay back from the good things. Eating sweets is a pleasure so many try to fast from taking sweets during lent. Kwarezimal used to be made from natural ingredients that are not the normal contents for a cookies. The result at the end is a delicious sweet cookie, nevertheless. So you can say it is a cheat.

However, over the years, fasting became less strict and reading the ingredients of several Kwarezimal recipes, I do frown, as they include normal contents that make up cookies. However, doing some research this year, I did find a good recipe without sugar and the final result was so yummy. It is found on the website of the Maltese Ministry of health, included in the recipes corner encouraging healthy eating.

Here is the recipe:

Fleur Bugeja – Nutritionist PHC
Makes approximately 10
Kwarezimal is a traditional Maltese sweet, usually baked during Lent. Its origins date back to the
Knights of Malta. The word kwarezimal refers to quaresima, the forty days of Lent. Kwarezimal does
not contain any fat or eggs, as in medieval Europe animal products were to be avoided during times
of penance. However, sugar was not avoided during Lent, as it was considered a type of spice.
In this modified recipe, no flour and sugar are used. Dates are used as an alternative source of
sweetness, while oats and ground almonds replace the flour.
500g ground almonds
100g oatmeal (ground oats)
1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 tablespoons orange blossom water
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
8 dates, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
Zest of 1 orange, grated
Zest of 2 mandarins, grated
Juice of 1 orange
Crushed roasted almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a food processor.
  3. In a bain marie, add the sunflower oil and the chopped dates. Cook until the dates soften and melt.
  4. Add the dates to the food processor together with the wet ingredients. Add the water little by little
    until a dough ball is formed.
  5. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  6. Form the kwarezimal cakes by making rectangular shapes and flatten them on the tray.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  8. While still hot, brush on honey and sprinkle with chopped nuts.
    Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor/health care professional if you suffer from certain
    medical conditions or you are on any medications before consuming certain foods.
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