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13 October 2019

First things first - this is chocolate orange by any other name. If you can't find candied kumquats (or face making your own), then use regular candied peel or even just orange zest. And you can swap out the cacao nibs for chopped dark chocolate.

Phew! I feel like I needed to start with that - I've been staring at the title of this post in my drafts for days and feeling worried about how complicated and fancy it sounds. Because in reality, these cookies are very simple to make. So don't get too caught up in the detail and substitute ingredients as you need. They will still be delicious.

I bought these candied kumquats in Paris at the Sunday market on Boulevard Beaumarchais in Bastille. Back in July, my Mum and I went for a whistle-stop weekend (we had just over 24 hours on French soil), and were staying just around the corner. It's an amazingly resourced market selling everything from mounds of speckled apricots to 100% cotton Bretons for €10. I picked these up for a couple euros, and really regret not stocking up on more of the incredible array of candied fruits on sale.

Kumquats have an enigmatic flavour, somewhere between an orange and a mandarin, and are much more sour. Their skin, unlike most citrus fruit, is soft enough to eat raw - and is where so much of that incredible flavour lies. The candied version have all the perfume of the fresh, and are sweet enough to lift baked goods which maintaining that classic citrus kick. Just like orange and lime, they work beautifully with chocolate.

100g unsalted butter
150g golden caster sugar
50g molasses sugar / dark brown sugar
1 egg
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp fine salt
50g cacao nibs
100g candied kumquats

Heat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with paper. Place the softened butter and the sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until pale and fluffy, then add the egg and beat until completely incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Roughly chop 50g of the kumquats, then add to the cookie dough along with the cacao nibs and gently combine.

Use an ice cream scoop (or two spoons if you don't have one) to scoop the cookies onto the trays. Each cookie should have about 2 large tsps of dough. They will spread in the oven so just place 3 to 4 cookies on each tray. Top each with a halved kumquat.

Bake in the oven for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies have spread, risen and sunk again, and are just golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to firm up fully. Repeat this process until all the dough has been used up.

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