The last couple weeks have been hard to pinpoint. The weather has been calm and I have not been myself. I have been dreaming; I am a dreamer by nature. I have been quiet. I have been reading. I have been baking and perfecting. I have been alone and I have been cuddled in Nolan's arms on an air mattress in Philadelphia.
I have been discouraged. I had lost my sense of adventure when it comes to baking. I took a few months off and avoided the kitchen. I think I forgot about the fun it can be. I think I forgot how much it's become a part of me now. I think I forgot how the small motes of flour, when they hit the light, can be one of the most beautiful moments in my otherwise boring day.
I tell myself to relax and I don't take my own advice. I've told myself to wake up early and I ignore the alarm clock and the small dog paws that run on my back. I used to fill the tub up to my chin and then I'd let it drain a minute later. It gave me something to do. Any form of procrastination, if I didn't have to bake.
But I realize the tender stupidity of that reaction. I've missed the stuck pages of a cookbook and the sink overflowing with whisks and egg shells. I've missed the dogs queuing for their taste. I've missed the purpose baking has given me.
And I thought about all this while I made these cookies. I forgot to take more pictures. I was eager to eat them outside, breaking one into thirds and parceling it into treats. And slowly, happily, I am realizing that that's the moment I missed these last five months: being able to share, to stop, to breathe, to create a moment in time I am most proud of.
Inspired by Mary Berry's bakewell tart, I've adapted it into a cookie form!
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/4 cup AP flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
2. Add egg and vanilla and mix together
3. Sift together dry ingredients and gently stir into your butter mixture
4. Turn out onto a floured work surface and pat into a disc. Wrap and chill for 1 hour
5. Preheat oven to 400*F
6. Roll out and cut dough into desired shapes (about 3/4 inch thickness worked best for me)
7. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, or until edges are just browned
To Decorate: Mix together 2 egg whites and 3 cups confectioner's sugar. Stir with a fork vigorously until you have a stiff glue of icing. Divide, 1/3 in a small bowl and the remaining 2/3 can stay in mixing bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon raspberry jam until just runny. Whisk into the smaller apportionment of icing until it forms ribbons when lifting your fork up. Add just a tad bit of water to the undyed white icing.
Transfer both to piping bags. The white bag can have pretty much any larger tip, while the raspberry one should have a fine tip. Fill cookie with the white icing, filling in the gaps of icing with a toothpick and dragging royal icing out. Run 4 parallel lines over top of the flooded white and drag up and down to create feathers of pink. Repeat with remaining cookies.