Where did time go exactly? Sorry about that! I think it´s safe to say I´m not one of those responsible bloggers who update regularly… I guess that, even if I struggle with it, I should keep the responsible part of my personality focused on work-related matters, this is a hobby, so I fight against the sense of duty whenever it comes up. The minute I make this another one of my duties, it turns into work, and I so don´t want that!
So I guess that was my way of saying sorry, but also try to explain the lack of posting, and my utter inability to see if I´m going to go back to more regular blogging or persist in this intermittent fashion of mine. I have tons of recipes to post though, so I will probably post some without much commentary on my part in an effort to catch up.
In the meantime, bear with me as I try to find my rhythm. I love having you visit, comment, and talking to each other, so just add this to your blog feed reader to prevent unfruitful visits to the blog.
Ok, now, on to the recipe, and a book recommendation while we are at it. If you haven´t got a book called Home Baking, the artful mix of flour and tradition around the world, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, I´d say you should definitely consider getting it. For me, the photos alone make it worth your while because it´s a bit of a mix between a cookbook and a travel book, and what better way to travel than through your stomach, really (and considering the state of my wallet and the world economy right now, I would suspect we all get creative with the day dreaming and the stomach-traveling, because the real type of travel might have to wait a while!).
In the book, you can find both sweet and savory recipes, many of which are on my to-make list, but the one that went straight into the top of my list was a recipe for Persian cardamom cookies using rice flour.
The fact that it was made entirely out of rice flour was intriguing, and anything with cardamom is high on any of my lists. And I have to say they didn´t disappoint. They are perfectly crumbly, and obviously a different kind of crumbly than cookies with wheat flour, but great nonetheless. And if someone is crazy enough not to like cardamom, I see this working as a template to try with different spice combinations. And if you know anyone who has celiac disease and has to live gluten-free, I figure this would be a great way to make their day and open up their baking repertoire in the process.
Persian cardamom cookies (from Home Baking, by J. Alford and N. Duguid)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup confectioners´ sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (seeds from about 5 green cardamom pods)
2 cups rice flour, plus a little extra for kneading
Pinch of salt
About 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios (here I used 1 whole pistachio per cookie because I was looking for a simpler looking cookie)
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with paddles (or your regular mixer, I used my hand-held mixer and it was perfectly fine), beat together the butter and sugar until pale. Add the egg yolk and cardamom and mix in. Mix together the flour and salt, then add 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix in. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. The dough will be a little stuff for the mixer, so turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes, until well-blended, smooth, and soft.
2. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or as long as 12 hours.
3. Place two racks just above and below the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or wax paper (or use your silpat mat if you have one).
4. Knead the chilled dough briefly, then divide it into 4 equal pieces. Cover and refrigerate 3 pieces while you work with the remaining piece. Cut off a generous teaspoon of dough and roll it under your palm to make a ball, then place on one of the prepared sheets and flatten it slightly. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving about 1 inch between cookies. Use a thimble or a fork to press a pattern into cookies and sprinkle some chopped pistachio on each (here I got in an anarchistic mood and pressed them a little flatter with my hands and just placed one pistachio in the center of each cookie.)
5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly brown on the bottom; switch the positions of the baking sheets and rotate them after 10 minutes. Like all shortbread-style cookies, these are fragile right after baking; use a wide spatula to transfer them carefully to a wire rack to cool (and I suggest waiting two minutes before even attempting that). Once cooled, store in an airtight tin.