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Tea and Almost Pepperkakor

I got a recipe for these spicy biscuits off scanner_darkly a few weeks ago. It was something of a treat to myself at the end of the year. I love the way the dough makes my hands smell, and the way the baking biscuits let out this rich aroma of ginger and cloves. I ended up milling my own cloves, since we didn't have powdered cloves in the house. The smell of freshly pounded cloves in the mortar was itself especially pleasurable. It's a distinct sort of perfume cloves and anise share, which isn't by nature what one would instinctively call sweet. In fact, it is slightly sour, with a bite akin to disinfectant. Cloves and anise are the cornerstone of spiced syrups for me, masala syrup for example. The first batch I made lacked molasses, substituted with a mix of honey and maple syrup. In a further deviation from what I wrote down, I slurried the butter and sugar rather than creamed it, substituted half the butter for olive oil and refrigerated the dough hoping for the best. All of this, I can assure you, followed by apologies for messing up someone else's ethnic food.

This batch of biscuits came out delightfully thin and crisp. I found that in my oven, approximated to a temperature converted from fahrenheit to celsius, would, at the given cooking time, result in a chewy but probably undercooked bicsuit. Adding 5 minutes of cooking time, they seemed properly cooked, but may have ended up crispier than originally intended. They were, unfortunately, miserable at holding any shape worth speaking of. A little sweet, but within a range I liked. I couldn't stop eating my test cookies.

The second batch was made purely with butter and actual molasses. Unlike my previous batch of dough, this batch looked firm enough to shape properly, although I wondered at the start if I might've made the dough a bit too firm. Molasses implied a much chewier biscuit, and I baked the first tray to the original cooking time to see if I wound up with gingerbread. The dough still felt peculiarly undercooked. I'm not sure why I keep thinking this, though virtually every other pepperkakor recipe I looked up since then has a similar if not lower cooking time. Adding a tiny amount of cooking time resulted in a dough that tasted more cooked, but a texture that was semi-crunchy-chewy. It's a peculiar texture, but not inedible, although still remarkably different, I believe, from the original. I rubbed some brown sugar into half of the new biscuits, resulting in crinkly sugar toppings. It tasted great. I can't stop eating them either.

I'm already plotting coffee-masala variants. Being that I can't leave things well alone, I might try for a purely crispy biscuit again. Gingerbread's a delight, and chewy cookies are well and good, but give me a biscuit that breaks clean, with crumbs of shrapnel, and I'll be happy as a bee.

I slept far before countdown last night, and woke up earlier than most of my neighbourhood this morning. It was a cold, soft sort of few hours after dawn. I stared out of my window because I knew that, in a matter of time, the places outside would be blazing, and that horrible smell of clay and dust I detest so much would make itself apparent. This year started out quiet. I half-expected it to be completely worthless by the ending months. It hasn't. In fact, it has redeemed itself incredibly well. I suspect, by mid-next year, I might know if it could get better. I have been gifted with strong friends, and I am grateful for their walls at my back. Thank you for helping me survive mental things. Maybe you know who you are. But I do love all of you dearly, even if I am terrible at reciprocating how I feel myself.

My only two emails overnight had me feeling good. Work-wise, things are looking up. It's been doing that the past three months or so, and I'm glad to see the momentum might carry into the coming year. I worked through Christmas, and will be working right through the first week of the New Year. Work takes my mind off things. I am grateful for that too. I've found I still love languages, and the languages I work with, well into this year ahead. I kind of wished I'd write more too. But languages -- I seem to have an affinity with their needs to be retold and refolded.

I need to specially thank countlibras for the delightful letters and thoughtful gifts over the last year -- it was extremely sweet of you, petal, and such music! The gift of Blankey Jet City and Ajico will follow me for a long while; eekers, dear heart, thank you for the hamster cards -- you may be the one friend who remembers how much yoghurt drops cheer a hamstery soul, and you're a delight for it; mokie, without you I would go utterly insane, I'm sure of it -- thank you for the discourses and picking to death of where my writing falters; markfinnCabbit, at some point, I will think of something worthy of the books, but no hamster should be without Creation of the Gods and by golly, I'll find something of equivalent cheer! scanner_darkly, a smile towards you, just because.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 2nd, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
aww... *blush*

Jan. 2nd, 2008 02:29 am (UTC)
Jan. 2nd, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
Let's have more music and fun in 2008! :)

(and if I didn't have to work tomorrow, I'd be very tempted to bake - you write such pornish food posts!)
Jan. 2nd, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
Aww. You're very kind, you know that? I'm nearly out of my bizarrely mistextured pepperkakor. Sibling won't stop eating them either, though he complained at length about the peculiar inconsistency of their nature. My next project is nectarine crumble!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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