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Orange Routes & Honey Cinnamon Cookies

It’s a strange old time we’re living in at the moment but it’s important to keep busy and keep healthy. I’m fortunate to live in a very rural part of the Algarve, in Southern Portugal. I live in a historic municipality called Silves, wedged between the Algarve’s famously beautiful coastline and a mountain range.

Silves is known as the Orange Capital of Portugal, due to the sheer amount of citrus groves covering the region’s landscape. I live on the outskirts of the main city, near a large dam, and I’m surrounded by orange groves. This is a triple bonus; the scent of orange blossom in the air is phenomenal; I have fresh oranges pretty much on tap, and this is fantastic walking territory for me and my dogs.

La Rota de Laranja. Photo courtesy of Carrie-Marie Bratley.

Silves council not so long ago created the Rota da Laranja (Orange Route) which uses road signs to steer visitors to the county through its most scenic, grove-carpeted areas, many of which happen to be around where I live. The route also takes tourists to local orange producers and other points of interest inherent to orange farming.

So, inspired by my surroundings and house-bound (like much of the rest of the world), recently I’ve been spending my time orange-picking on my land, making fresh orange juice to give myself a vitamin C boost, and taking the dogs for long walks in the stunning countryside for our daily exercise. Fresh air and fruit go a long way towards feeling healthy and happy; with the exception of a handful of neighbors, goats and horses, you don’t get much more self-isolated than this!

Photo courtesy of Carrie-Marie Bratley.

But we all need a little treat every now and then, so I decided to do a spot of baking and make some traditional Portuguese honey and cinnamon cookies; they are so delicious. These are often made for Easter or Christmas and are really easy to make. Besides that, I’ve been spending my time finishing off my next upcoming travel guide to the Azores (available in December—check it out here!). I’m so excited to be working on a detailed exploration of this stunning mid-Atlantic archipelago, halfway between Portugal and the US.

Keep safe and we’ll soon be exploring the world again. Until then, indulge in some gorgeous cookies and armchair travel.

Traditional Portuguese Honey and Cinnamon Cookies:

6 servings
Prep time: 10 min
Bake time: 10 min

Ingredients:
120 g butter
150 g sugar
1 egg
225 g flour
1 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Lemon zest

Preparation:
Mix the butter with the sugar.
Add the egg and mix again.
Add the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, honey and cinnamon.
Blend until the dough is homogeneous. Make a ball and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Heat the oven to 180ºc and line 2 trays with parchment paper. On a floured surface, stretch the dough with the roller until it is 2 millimeters (about a quarter of a centimeter) thick.
Cut the cookies with a cutter and place them on the tray. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes until they are golden brown.
When you remove from the oven, sprinkle with sugar immediately. Allow to cool on a rack and then store in a dry place.