Sunday, December 19, 2010

And here's one we've already... Oh, wait...

Well, I finished My Jól baking this afternoon. I'm actually a day early--I've been known to start baking at 9:00 p.m. the evening before the equinox or solstice--But I do feel rather like I've just been hit by a large pastry truck.

This year's offerings include the classic Skor™ Cookies that we regularly make here at Astrejurhof. They turned out exceedingly well this year. I attribute this to the fact that I made the balls of dough a bit smaller than usual, which kept the cookies from melting into one another and also allowed them to crisp up very consistently.

I had originally intended to make standard shortbread, but ended up completely winging it. The result: Various festive shapes flavoured with candied orange peel. Any resemblance to shortbread is purely coincidental, but they taste pretty good.

Armed with My trusty Purity Cookbook, I attempted their version of Sugar Cookies. They're not quite the same as the ones I made when I was a young Goddess, but they're not bad and do remind Me a little of the recipe I used way back when.

I also made two types of macaroons based very loosely on our brownie recipe:
  • Melt ½ cup of unsalted butter in a saucepan on low heat.
  • Add 1 cup sugar and stir well.
  • For chocolate macaroons, also add ¾ cup of cocoa and another ½ cup of sugar to offset the bitterness of the cocoa.
  • Add 1 teaspoon vanilla for chocolate macaroons. For almond macaroons, add ½ teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond extract.
  • Add 2 eggs and beat until combined.
  • Chocolate macaroons: Add 1½ cups uncooked shredded unsweetened coconut, fine or medium.
  • Almond macaroons: Toast 2 cups of coconut on parchment paper on a cookie sheet at 300℉-325℉ for 10 minutes, stirring once at the 5-minute mark. Add the toasted coconut along with sufficient uncooked coconut to thicken up the batter. (I used about another 1¼ cups to get the consistency I wanted.)
  • Drop spoonfuls onto ungreased parchment paper, no more than 12 macaroons to a cookie sheet, and bake at 325℉ for 17-20 minutes.
  • To unrack the macaroons, let them cool on the pan for a few minutes--At least till the outer edges feel firm. Invert a cooling rack on top of the cookies, then hold the cookie sheet and the rack in both hands and flip the whole assembly over. Lift away the cookie sheet; peel off and discard the parchment paper.
Gleðileg Jól and best of the season to all!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Memories of a Northbound Bus

The date was December 8, 1980; the time, about 10:30 p.m. I was riding over Winnipeg's Midtown Bridge en route to an overnight shift at an all-night restaurant.

Then one of the passengers near the front of the bus mentioned that John Lennon had been shot. My life changed in that moment; the moment itself, burned indelibly into memory even after thirty years.

I will continue to grieve and to remember.

And to Yoko, Cynthia, Sean, Julian, and all others who loved John, may love endure.