Sláinte: A Winter's Tale
A Los Angeles resident pines for winters and the warm comfort of a good book.
Christmas Ginger Cookies
1 beaten egg
3⁄4 cup sugar
3⁄4 cup shortening
1⁄3 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar in a bowl
In a large bowl, stir together egg, sugar, shortening and molasses. Beat well to combine. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger and salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, and stir until completely combined. Refrigerate dough for 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a teaspoon as a scoop, shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in granulated sugar and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet 3 inches apart. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until cookies have acquired cracks across their tops. Remove cookie sheets from oven, and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks until they are completely cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes approximately 50 cookies. Note: Keep dough refrigerated between batches.
Irish Almond Tea Cakes
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 1⁄2 cups almond meal
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄3 cup flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 1⁄2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 stick plus 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plump dried currants
1 1⁄2 tablespoons dark rum
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter as many mini-muffin pans as you have (recipe makes 48 teacakes) or line tins with paper mini-muffin cups.
With a whisk, beat the egg whites in a bowl just to break them up. Add the almonds, sugar, flour, salt, nutmeg, and corn syrup and stir until batter is smooth.
Melt butter in a small saucepan until it just comes to a boil. Add the hot butter to the batter and whisk it in gently but thoroughly. Stir in the currants and rum. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of batter into each mini-muffin cup.
Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point, until the cakes are puffed and golden – a knife inserted into the center should come away clean. Remove tins from the oven and let the cakes rest in the tins for about 2 minutes, then turn them out onto racks to cool to room temperature. Cakes will keep in a covered container for 4-5 days. Wrapped airtight in plastic wrap they can be frozen for up to 2 months.
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