Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tea and Honey Crisps

ABJ voted for the Tea and Honey Crisps, after I reminded her. Think I am going to amp up the Earl Grey Tea by a tsp this year. Here they are pictured in a glorious wreath. You have to pick these off the cookie sheet when they are red-hot and still soft and work lightening-fast so you can twirl them around a wooden spoon handle. Once cool, you just get a bunch of tasty flat sticks, so get a partner and put the phone on mute. Only in Gourmet Magazine RIP.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Cookies

ABJ and SJ have weighed in and voted for the fried rosettes (SJ will have to moderate the frying discussion), pizzelles and the snowflake cookies. After I got their comments I went looking for the recipies and found that the snowflake recipe I used is really one for Swedish Papparkakor, which is why they are cardamom flavored (eat your heart out Martha, yours don't taste nearly as good). The frosting was inspired by Martha Stewart and I located some of the pictures. Just getting these delicate little guys out of the cookie cutter and onto the baking sheet is an art and the decorating takes at least an afternoon of pure dedication. The piping is never as straight as these are! The last time ABJ and I made these, which was around the time my father died 10 years ago, I think we gave up in exhaustion and left a dozen or so undecorated.
The last time we made Pizzelles was at Windy Hill so ABJ was younger than 11. I found a recipe that describes how long you cook them - they go pretty fast but you have to have a watch with a second hand because you can only cook them for 30-40 seconds. If you don't get them out fast enough they are ruined. Lots of discards until we got the coordination just right.
I found another candidate in the Dec 2006 issue of Gourmet magazine, which is no more :(
This is for the delicate and subtle Tea and Honey Crisps, made with Earl Grey tea leaves. Another recipe that requires two people working very fast to get the hot strips of cookie off the cookie sheet and hand twisted into just the right shape before they set.

Friday, December 11, 2009


The weather has gotten very cold here (high of 29 today) so my thoughts are turning to Christmas baking. I just finished reading the history of the Dutch in New York betweek 1609 and 1664, and solved the mystery of why we Americans say cookie, while our British cousins say biscuit. Apparently cookie is derived from the 17th century Dutch koekje, which was a small cake. This became common use in the American colonies.In any case, ABJ has requested that we also make a gingerbread house (or red barn) so that is on the agenda. I have solved the mystery of why the one we made 4 years ago didn't turn a nice rich purple - they no longer make light molasses (which the recipe calls for) so we used dark - we will just substitute Karo Syrup and the color should be fine.
We should also make Snowballs because they melt in your mouth and are really easy to make. I have already stocked up on about 8 lbs of butter for the cookie fest.
Also under consideration are:
- Cream Cheese foldovers - I already got the cream cheese on sale
- Rosettes - lovely delicate fried cookies that Nana used to make - ABJ and I always end up arguing about getting the frying just right, but maybe SJ's presence will encourage us to tone down the intensity of our discussion this year. A favorite of APJ.
- Spritz Cookies
- Orange Pistachio Cranberry refrigerator cookies that we made in 2007 and were a huge hit.
- Pizelles? ABJ and I made these when she was about 8 and found it requires teamwork and lightening coordination to get these out of the griddle in time. They are a project in themselves.
- Swedish snowflakes - Another huge project - lots and lots of delicate cardomom scented cookies that require individual painting in blue and white with glitter snow and silver dragees. They look awesome and professional.
When Uncle Paul was here for pea soup and biscuits yesterday, he wistfully said that he isn't very good at cookie making, even with the recipes I gave him, so I told him we would include him in the project. Could get a bit crowded.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Just got the January Harper's Bazaar and the horoscopes are soooo good for ABJ and me. Please God let them be true!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Birthdays

An unexpected soft wet snow with huge flakes started falling at 10 AM on Saturday but it didn't stop the family from making it to our house for my husband's and granddaughter's birthday celebration. Friday evening I made the birthday train from my railway mold and lots of candies, icings, and tiny marshmellows. It was sort of like decorating a lot of little gingerbread houses and would have been a great group project for a child's party, which I will have to remember for ABJ's children. I had firm plans for the engine, cabose, coal car and the two cars loaded with raspberry jellies, but my creativity was feeling strained by about 8PM. I wished ABJ were here because we would have been finished by then plus she always has such creative ideas. I do think the marshmellow "snow" was inspired - a last minute idea as I contemplated what I was going to do with all the leftover marshmellows once I had built the smoke.
In any case, it was a great hit with the birthday girl, and my brother (always a train-lover) took a picture with his new iphone (his newest toy).

There were exactly nine cars, so each person got to pick out his own car, starting with the birthday girl. She picked the one with the red raspberry jellies. In case you don't know NJB, her expression is one of extreme happiness. My brother tried to get the car with the dark purple jellies, but his wife made such sad noises that he generously gave it up to her :).

My grandson took the one with the little chocolate mint candy cane logs.
Happy birthday HB and NJB!!!