Hurricane Bake-Off

It's my first hurricane, and I am very excited. I have waited, and waited, and waited, and finally I get my reward. To commemorate this exciting event, I've been baking a lot. P and I have been eating up some left-overs, though I made another fried rice for breakfast today (truffle-infused rice I found in my fridge and cooked last night for this, ham, savoy cabbage, zucchini, tomato, palm heart, egg, mirepoix, lemon, salt, pepper, sesame and veggie oil, soy sauce, coconut vinegar and a touch of rice cooking wine).

So here's what I've done so far:

Chocolate Chip and Cherry Cookies - just use the Tollhouse recipe, but w/ milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet, and throw in several handfuls of dried, pitted cherries

Cranberry-Ginger Biscotti - you guys already know all about me making these, except this time I used crystalised ginger I made myself. Which is easy to do - make a simple 1:1 syrup, toss in slices of fresh peeled ginger, simmer or let steep for a few hours. Then roll in sugar dry at 175-200F overnight in the oven. The ginger retains its spiciness, which makes the biscotti more interesting to me, I've discovered - sweet, spicy and tart. Really good. Even P is eating them, and he's not big on biscotti.

Orange Saffron Butter Cookies - I was sent this recipe by when I took advantage of their ridiculously cheap, good quality saffron and vanilla beans. The recipe is as follows, for those who are curious. I am curious. They're in the oven now and I am excited!

Ingredients: 1 1/8 cup flour, 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), 1/4 gram saffron threads, crushed (1/2 teaspoon), 1/2 tablespoon orange ring, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 large egg yolks.

Instructions: Leave stick of butter out to soften. Place saffron threads in heavy frying pan on medium heat. Toast until brittle, then crush with the back of metal spoon on wax paper (ok, I used my mortar and pestle, but you do what you like). Butter should be spreadable by now. Work saffron and orange rind into butter. Blend in sugar, then egg yolks, one at a time (I just used a wooden spoon for this whole recipe, since it seemed more in keeping with the spirit of the recipe). Add flour to form soft ball of dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. When ready to bake, remove dough from refrigerator to soften slightly (ok - they mean this part, I discovered). Preheat oven to 325F. Pinch off bite size pieces of dough and place on ungreased cookie sheet. When sheet is full, press dough flat with back of a metal fork. Bake 10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cook on rack. Store in an airtight container.

And I also made the dough of my mother's jelly cookies. I seem to be stalling on rolling them out, though normally I don't mind this part. I'll do it tomorrow, and maybe make banana bread, too. I have three bananas in the freezer.

Anyway, I hope you all are having a great weekend. P and I are enjoying a weekend off with cookies, tv and fun!


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