Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Winter's Treat

The dearth of life outside my window and the shallow flood of light that hits the city streets all aides and abets my seasonal disorder – no fresh foods. Though like a squirrel I have secured away enough of summer’s bounty to keep me from starving. Okay, starving might be a bit of an exaggeration because the southern hemisphere is shipping in plenty of flavorless products.

I have been using the tomatoes I collected in stews; corn has found its way in rice pilafs and the various pickles I put up has been giving my salads a crunchy punch. Then there are the seasoned salts and sugars I made last year that are proving to be daily hits of pleasure. I have lavender salt, lemon verbena salt and rosemary salt that are adding a depth of flavor I would otherwise be deprived of this time of year.

Now, I readily admit to not really having a sweet tooth but during the winter I must confess I crave sweet, and probably consume my annual intact during the cold months. And this year, I have a fun collection of sugars: rose, lilac, orange blossom, lemon verbena and husk tomato. I have added these sugars to cakes, bread puddings and cookies giving my sugar need an intensity that turns those winter blues a tad more vibrant.

White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies – yields approx 36
6 ounces unsalted butter – at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 whole eggs
2-teaspoons vanilla extract
1-cup all purpose flour
1-cup pastry flour
2-teaspoons baking powder
1/4-teaspoon salt
8 ounces white chocolate – shaved
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

In a standing mixer or using a hand-held beater whip the butter and sugar together until it is pale and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time, incorporating the egg before adding the next one. Mix in the vanilla.

Sift the flours, baking powder and salt together. Mix the sifted flour mixture into the butter to just combine. Then mix the white chocolate and macadamia nuts. Refrigerate the dough for an hour.

Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a parchment lined baking tray place a heaping teaspoon worth of the dough keeping at least two inches between the cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack, and allow them to cool completely.

**If, like me, you have put up fragrant sugars replace the sugars in the recipe with one.**

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