20 April 2015

A pleasant surprise

“You wander from room to room
Hunting for the diamond necklace
That is already around your neck!”


There is an unpleasant feeling to wandering. But when you land where you land, oh what relief. 

I have been lately keeping track of the subtle differences between purposefully trying something new and shying away from new. I'm not talking about your keepers. We all need a rolodex of keepers. The muffins you know, the non-guesswork roast salmon you crave weekly, meatballs, the walk in the same park, coffees from the usual place that gets the frothed milk ratio just so... It is good to be in tune with where you're going. And then there are inevitable moments when you're drawing blank. This is perhaps the perfect time to pick something random, not on the usual drawing board. 

Having purposely forgotten to restock all-purpose flour twice this week, when something needed to be baked, I settled on these all-rye sables on the drawing board. Perfuming the creaming butter and sugar with a little orange and almond, and beating in the last of the dark rye flour in my freezer, I hoped for the best. I was pleasantly surprised. These cookies, not shortbread per se and not a chewey drop cookie either, have a pleasant, sandy snap. I'd classify them as "thins" or even sables; they're too tender to be crisps, and the egg makes the dough a bit more pliable than your typical shortbread sable. How about just thins? Nicely tan ones at that. And boy, they're good. 

A few notes: Anyone looking for a great asparagus recipe? Yes, you are because it's finally in season. See my new favorite way of cooking the stalks on this month's ShopRite Blog.

Anyone looking for a different art exhibit in NY? (who isn't...) Check out these mesmerizing, traditional ancient masks at the Rubin (the above photo is a Beggar mask of traditional Noh theater)

Rye Orange Almond Snaps

Adapted from Epicuious via  Liana Krissoff's Whole Grains for a New Generation

Notes: I scaled down this recipe by about 4. You'll still get a lot of cookies if you do too. I kept an eye on them toward the end but pulled them when they looked just to be browning but not overly so. The additions here were mine. Feel free not to roll in almonds or use almond extract.

2 1/2 cups/ 230 grams  Dark Rye Flour

3/4 cups granulated sugar

2 sticks/ 225 grams unsalted butter

1 egg

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp orange zest

1/2 tsp almond extract

A handful toasted crushed almonds and 2 Tablespoons sanding sugar for finishing

-In a mixer, cream butter and sugar til fluffy, add zest, extract, salt and egg and incorporate fully. Scrape down sides, then gradually add flour, mixing on stir/ low until just combined.

-Dump dough onto plastic wrap, form into a 2 inch cylinder and chill an hour (min)

-Preheat oven to 350 and spread sugar and almonds if using, onto parchment. Carefully roll the cylinder to coat the sides evenly, pressing a little if necessary. 

-Slice into 1/8 inch thick rounds and space 1 inch apart on parchment lined sheets. Sprinkle a little almond sugar on top if desired. Bake about 16 minutes, or until the edges are turning golden. 

-Cool on a rack completely. Store airtight. 

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