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Entries in cookies (7)

Tuesday
Jan282014

French Sablé Cookies

French Butter Cookies

I don't think I actually have to explain what inspired me to make these.

The French word 'sablé' means 'sand', perhaps relating to these soft, delicate, crumbly texture biscuits and their golden colour.

Click here to see the recipe I used, which belongs to Dorie Greenspan, and was featured on the New York Times website

I made 2 batches of these cookies and I have 2 tips for you:

1. Slice your cookies rather thick - 1/2-inch or so. The first time, I cut them around 1/3-inch and they didn't seem nearly as good. You need thickness to hold up the buttery sandy crumble.

2. The recipe recommends beating an egg YOLK and brushing it around the edges of the cookies to make the sugar stick. I found the egg yolk was unpleasantly yellow, so the second time (pictured above) I used an egg  WHITE. I think it shows off the sparkle of the sugar much better.

Saturday
Jan042014

French Madeleines + A Book Review: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. by Rob Delaney

 

French Madeleines.

Soft airy little cakey cookies.

The perfect treat to devour during a snowstorm as I finish reading Rob Delaney's November book release Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. published by Random House of Canada.

Rob spent his junior year of college in Paris, and each of his short, dark, true stories in the book are titled in French, so I thought Madeleines would be the perfect accompagnement.

From the Random House website - 'Rob Delaney is a father, a husband, a comedian, a writer. He is the author of an endless stream of beautiful, insane jokes on Twitter. He is sober. He is sometimes brave. He speaks French. He loves women with abundant pubic hair and saggy naturals. He has bungee jumped off of the Manhattan Bridge. He enjoys antagonizing political figures. He listens to metal while he works out. He likes to fart. He broke into an abandoned mental hospital with his mother. He played Sir Lancelot in Camelot. He has battled depression. He is funny as s***. He cleans up well. He is friends with Margaret Atwood. He is lucky to be alive.'

The introduction of Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. nicely sums up the why and how I came to be reading a book written by a comedian I'd never heard of. 

It's all because of Twitter.

In my digitally-consumed life, Rob Delaney's book is the first real, actual book I've read (other than a cookbook), in it's entirety, cover to cover in over a year. It was this passage that sucked me in - kept me reading straight through to the end:

'At the time I signed up for Twitter, I was in debt and adding to it every month... Other comics were publicly expressing worry about giving up their material for free on Twitter... I figured, Fuck it. I'll give it away for free. I decided to show the people who were kind enough to become my Twitter followers that, whether or not they necessarily thought I was funny, I had a work ethic and liked to write jokes all day, every day' (p xiv)

I liked that passage because:

a) why wouldn't I want to take a break from my iPhone, iPad, iMac and Macbook screens to read a real-live-honest-to-goodness-paper-book written by a (hopefully) funny comedian?

b) I liked his attitude about sharing. As my own burgeoning career takes flight, I too am nervous of sharing what I've learned. Then I wake up and realize, the same as Rob, Fuck it. If you're worried about that then you have no business working as a 'creative' in the first place.

c) I love to swear.

Here's the thing. This book is DARK. Raging alcoholism, drugs, sex, depression, car crashes, near drownings, and stories of memories that made me feel awkward and embarassed while reading.

But goddam it's funny.

I am guilty of sometimes (maybe) using one! too!! many!!! exclamation!!!! points!!!!! in my social media channels. As if my life is so friggin' positive and exciting all of the time!!!!!!

Well guess what?

It ain't.

There are dark, serious, depressing things in my life too and sometimes, the only way to keep moving forward is to poke a little fun.

And that's what I liked most about Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. You open the book and enter Rob's world of comedy, brimming with exclamation points, CAPITAL LETTERS and enthusiasm, yet, the points being driven home in each story are laden with gravitas - heavy and intense.

It's refreshing in a world full of phony plastic bullshit.

'The second credit card company said, 'Fuck off. Pay it you weird drunk liar.' To which I replied, 'Can do!' (p93)

'For the first few days after he (Rob's son) was born I would look at his adorable, smooshed-up little face and think, 'You little cutie pie! You will attend my funeral!' (p175)

'(Regarding entering an abandoned mental hospital, with his mom and his uncle) My insurance agent mom and insurance agent uncle, who should have done a speedy risk analysis and assessed the likelihood of us getting kidnapped and turned into human beef jerky, said yes! So I had to say, 'Okay, terrific, because I really wanted to go in too!'

So go ahead. Bake yourself a batch of these delightful little French cookies, settle in with a blanket and a cup of tea and get ready to identify with Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. I guarantee you will find yourself giggling, snickering and possibly guffawing as you also wonder at the goddam miracle that we manage to make it through the seemingly insurmountable piles of bullshit life throws at us.

Tuesday
Mar122013

Lavender Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Earl Grey Buttercream

Ok, I need to be perfectly honest and upfront about two things.

1. Earl Grey Buttercream sounds good in theory, to me anyway, but I found it difficult to get the Twining's Earl Grey flavour, which I adore, to shine through without adding too much liquid to my buttercream. I used the Sweetapolita Whipped Vanilla Frosting recipe that I made last week for my Orange Cardamom Olive Oil Cupcakes and added 3 Tbsp of milk that I heated then steeped with two teabags worth of loose Earl Grey for 30 minutes. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

2. The cookies in my photos are the SECOND batch that I made using Kristin Rosenau's recipe for Lavender Lemon Shortbreads which can be found on her lovely blog Pastry Affair. The thing is, I preferred the taste and texture of the FIRST batch I made in which I modified Kristin's recipe slightly. And so, THAT is the recipe I'm going to post. I should also note, that I made both batches without lemon.

I used this gorgeous culinary-grade lavender from Seafoam Lavender that I bought at the Seaport Market last weekend with Kris (@AJCrowley).

Lavender Shortbread Cookies (adapted from Pastry Affair)

45g sugar (regular white sugar, NOT icing/powdered sugar)*

1 tsp dried lavender buds

125g flour

1 tsp vanilla powder**

pinch salt

113g butter, room temperature 

  • crush sugar and lavender buds together with a mortar and pestle until lavender is well ground
  • combine everything in food processor and pulse until dough ball forms
  • remove dough from processor and do THIS*** then put dough in fridge at least 1 hour and up to overnight
  • preheat oven to 350 - slice cookies 1/4 inch thick - bake 10 minutes or until edges just begin to turn golden - cool on sheet 

*I loved the version I made with regular white sugar. I found them to be a little more coarse and a little more sandy in texture, plus, I thought the taste of lavender and butter was more pronounced.

**I buy Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Powder at The Paderno Store in Bayer's Lake for $15. It's great because you use it measure for measure like liquid vanilla without adding extra liquid to your baked goods.

***The CHOW Tip is perfect for someone like me who sucks at making cutout cookies. I found it very helpful because the roundness of the paper-towel tube prevents your dough from forming a flat edge while chilling in the fridge.

 

Lavender Shortbread. Pretty + Easy = Win.

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