L. Amygdalus communis, var. dulcis, prunus amygdalus dulcis, Eng. sweet almonds. Almond flowers blooming in January or February look like a blanket of fragrant snow covering the countryside as if there they were the result of last night’s storm. Almonds brought a rise in cultural traditions throughout the world. Romans gave sugared coated almonds to their friends and important dignitaries. During weddings, they were thrown at newly weds as a symbol of fertility. An old European tradition is to give sugar coated almonds wrapped in fine nets to wedding guests signifying fortune, happiness, romance, fertility, nutrition and health. Sweet almonds are used in food and medicine, for the richness of the oil content and nutritional value. During the Middle Ages, sweet almonds were used as today, but also to make almond milk especially in countries where more grain products were eaten than dairy, such as Spain as opposed to England. [Anón/Huici.1966:38:34:65:48:66:48 etc; ES: Grieve. “Almonds.” 1995; ES: Two. Feb 16, 05:Cxij:68:Cxv:68:Cxx:69 etc and Nola. 1989:xvi-3:xvii-2:xxi-1 etc]
SUN-DRIED *QÂHIRIYA (ALMOND CANDY) ADAPTED FROM HUICI'S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN AL-ANDALUS #437 LA QÂHIRIYA SOLAR, p 241
1 tsp spikenard
1 tsp cloves
1 tbsp rosewater
¼ c wheat starch dissolved in 1 c rosewater
Chop almonds in food blender. (If being traditional and using a mortar, it should be stone or wooden.) Add sugar, spikenard and cloves >ground and dissolved in rosewate, camphor oil. Chop all in blender or mortar until smooth. Roll out and cut into shapes like donuts or other. Let stand to thicken.
Dissolve wheat starch in rosewater. Dip candies in wheat starch. After drying, if this coating is not thick enough repeat the processes. It could take as many as three dippings. Remove and let dry in the sun and serve. If sun is lacking place in oven on the lowest possible setting. This takes from 4-6 hours.
Ironically this sweet is named after al-Qahir bi’llahi (meaning"Victorious by the will of God"), Caliph in Bagdad >from 932-934. He became a total tyrant who even tortured his predecessor’s mother, who was his half brother, and this brother's children. He lashed out against supporters and enemies taking their money and even buried his nephew, the chosen successor, alive in a wall. (Walls were one meter thick.) His enemies took advantage of his being drunk on wine one night (the Umayyad Dynasty permitted consumption of alcoholic drinks), blinded him and imprisoned him for 11 years. He was released to beg on the streets wearing rags and wooden sandals never to eat a Qāhiriya again.