cookies

Recipes

Canadian Maple-Date Cookies Recipe

By Lindsay Hunt | January 5, 2011

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

This week, I traveled to the winter woods of Canada.  A recipe entitled “Canadian Maple-Date Cookies” intrigued me and called to my taste buds.  Despite a nagging feeling that dates are not native to that country, nor common in their baked goods, I decided to make them anyway.

 

While measuring the ingredients, I remembered my first project for my college sculpture class.  As a studio art major, I was required to take Sculpture 1, which I dreaded intensely.  The first project was to make a cardboard sculpture, using only hot glue and scissors for help.  The professor instructed the class to choose one word and make a sculpture of the idea of that word.

It was October in New England and the leaves were aflame in gorgeous reds and oranges, so I chose “fall” as my word.  I set to work, feeling daunted by sculpture, my experience was in 2-dimensional arts: photography and painting, I was unsure how to begin making a 3-dimensional piece of art, let alone one that embodied an idea of a word.

During many painstaking hours, I crafted a “trunk” out of the corrugated interior of the cardboard, and cut out leaf-shapes to glue in a cascading shape off the body of the sculpture.  After staying up all night to finish the piece, I had a stroke of genius.  I used the glue gun to imitate sap coming out of the tree.  My masterpiece was complete.

During the critique the next day, the class gathered around my sculpture.  I gave my word: “fall.”  Critiques were not too harsh: it was perhaps too literal, my classmates said, but it was crafted well.  At the end of the critique, I added, “You didn’t notice the sap coming out for the maple syrup!” and waited for a cheer of admiration for my artistic brilliance.

There was only silence.  My professor walked back over to the sculpture.  She peered in between the leaf cutouts and into the trunk.  ”Sap doesn’t come out of the trees in fall! It comes out in the late winter!”

My face burned. I am from California, I had no idea that sap comes from the tree in winter! To save my sculpture from additional derision, I offered that because it was my idea of fall, and in my mind, maple trees did release sap in fall, then it was okay.

“No,” she said, “Awful.” And moved on.

Now, perhaps some Canadians will reject this recipe, maintaining that it has no place in the pantheon of that country’s baked goods.  However, similarly to my sculpture of “fall,” these cookies embody my idea of Canada.  Hearty from the whole wheat flour, sweet from the maple syrup that flows in abundance in Canada, and savory from the toasted pecans, which make me think of roasting nuts on the fire during the long winter.

Yes, it’s only an idea, but that might be as good as an authentic recipe from that country.  And I’d like to think if I had a Canadian friend sitting with me right now, I could share a cookie and they would think of home.

From Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

Recipes

Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookie Sandwiches) Recipe

By Lindsay Hunt | December 29, 2010

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Though I’ve never visited Argentina, I feel like I have.  My high-school roommate, Montana, is half-Argentine and my best friend from college, Arielle, has an intense love for that South American country, and moved to Buenos Aires post-graduation. They tempt me with descriptions of a cosmopolitan city: the Paris of South America.  It has amazing food, grass-fed beef, and a fantastic night life.  I day dream about a trip there frequently.

 

In high-school, Montana introduced me to the ubiquitous Argentine treat: alfajores.  After winter break, she returned with two packages of the cookies, and I fell in love with the cookies, one alfajor at a time.  Two shortbread-like cookies sandwich layer of caramel filling.  Dipped in a thin layer of milk chocolate, the cookies transcended their mass-produced origins.

Then, in college, Arielle introduced me to the ingredient that filled the alfajores: dulce de leche.  Dulce de leche means milk caramel, and is made from sweetened condensed milk.  I made my own to fill the cookies, which wasn’t hard.  Reduce the milk in the top pot of a double boiler for 2 to 3 hours, or until thickened and light golden and caramel-colored.  Dulce de leche can also be found at many specialty food markets and grocery stores.

Alfajores originated in Spain, during the period of al-Andalus, when Spain was largely Arab.  Colonists brought the confection to countries in South and Latin America.  In Spain, the sweet is called alaja and comes in a cylinder form.  It contains honey, almonds, breadcrumbs and spices.

Due to an initial lack of resources in the time of colonization, the Argentinian version is primarily made of cornstarch, flour and butter, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth confection.  This recipe is from Saveur Magazine‘s recent issue.  It does not call for a coating of melted chocolate, but I couldn’t resist.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Recipes

Espresso-Chocolate Cookies Recipe

By Lindsay Hunt | December 20, 2010

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

There’s a fine line between sharing and hoarding baked goods that I love.  Usually I can tip-toe with elegance on the delicate line of “want to share because its so delicious” and “don’t want to share because I want it all” with my generosity intact.  A batch of Espresso-Chocolate cookies challenged the core of my generosity, which is an inconvenience during the season of giving.

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By Marcus Samuelsson

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Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. MarcusSamuelsson.com strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More

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