Friday, December 16, 2011

Rummy Eggnog Cookies

The cookie baking season is upon is. Between the parties, cookie swaps and giving of homemade gifts, the opportunities to show off one’s cookie baking skills are ample. My own favorite Christmas

recipes include jam-filled Linzer cookies, snowy almond crescents, chocolate sandwiched butter cookies, and classic vanilla and chocolate checkerboard squares. And then there are my Rummy

Eggnog Cookies, which I consider to be the quintessential holiday treat. Nothing says the holidays like boozy eggnog, after all. These nutmeg-infused squares of shortbread are sandwiched together

with a creamy filling spike with dark rum (though they are equally delish flavored with brandy, Cognac or bourbon). They are a stellar addition to any cookie tray or assortment, and may just become a holiday tradition of your very own.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pecan Raisin Bread

In my younger days, when I had more time, I baked bread quite a bit. I love the process – the slightly sour smell of the yeast, the physical mixing and kneading of the dough, waiting for the dough to puff up, and finally, finally, that beautiful, fragrant golden brown 

loaf of crusty fresh-baked bread. These days, I don’t bake bread very often; I consider it a treat, a small luxury that time allows. I have many bread books that I love and use, but my newest favorite is How To Make Bread (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2011) by Emmanuel 

Hadjandreou. I’ve mentioned Hadjandreou on this blog before, when I shared his recipe for Pains aux Raisins. I like his method of repetitive short-duration kneading followed by a 10-minute rest. It’s doable, but still gives you the flavor development that’s so 

crucial to good bread. This time I made Hadjandreou’s Pecan Raisin Bread, which contains a small amount of whole wheat flour along with chopped pecans and golden raisins. A little crushed fennel seed would also be a welcome addition, I think. The bread is delicious, with a beautiful crust and slightly sweet and nutty flavor. I soon realized that the small loaf the recipe yields was just not enough. It can easily be doubled, though, so I suggest you make yourself two small loaves. It’s also great toasted, slathered with European butter and a little spoonful of fig preserves.