I know. I know what you’re thinking: this is out of control. This non-stop sugar/butter/egg/flour assault needs to stop. Our hips! Our abs! For the love of all that was once taut and perky, Deb, no more desserts! And I want you to know, I couldn’t agree more. I, too, strive for balance. I, too, swore those jeans were looser before Thanksgiving.
December, 2007 Archive
My obsession with Robert Linxe’s truffles started as a matter of coveting. My roommate at the time had more suitors than she could count on two hands and both feet, thus I didn’t even bother trying to keep up, but there was this one–and I never met him, but still called him my favorite–who insisted upon “borrowing” her for the afternoon of her birthday and at Metropolitan Museum presented her with two items: Kissing in Manhattan and a box of chocolate truffles from La Maison du Chocolat.
If there is one thing that Alex has shown me the light of over the course of our relationship–but fortunately, there are many, including ribs, pickles, bourbon and skiing–it’s the consummate beauty of a vacation that entails absolutely nothing. No water skiing, no scuba diving, no afternoon of shopping, no conga lines: just hours upon hours on the beach, tearing through one book at a time. Can you imagine how awful this must be after months of doing things and being ‘on’ and producing things of value for other people in exchange for earning a living? I’ll tell you, it’s a big adjustment.
I knew that there are a lot of would-be bakers out there that have looked at all of the cookie recipes I have posted this week and thought, “yeah, that’s great but it’s just never going to happen,” and I wanted to have a recipe that was just for you. The basic slice-and-bake icebox cookie that takes to a thousand variations is something that every cook–even the intimidated ones–should have in their repertoire, for several reasons.
If there is anything I am always on the prowl for–besides artichokes, cookie cutters and green anything–it is variations on classic recipes. It’s a sticky thing, of course, because the originals earned their prized state for being blissful the way they are. But I can’t help it–I see a twist, a curve, a departure, or in this case, once again, a grater and I can’t resist.
People often ask Alex and me if it is difficult living near a trendy NYC bakery, the kind with the mind-bogglingly long cupcake lines outside at what seems like all hours. It probably would be if I found their generic cupcakes, brownies and cheesecakes more tempting but come on, this is me and you just know I think I make these better in my tiny kitchen.
In my mind, there are few higher callings in the baking world than cookies, and simply no higher cookie callings than shortbread, so I cannot think of a better place to start my Week-O-Cookies. They are firm enough to pack in a tin but manage to taste soft. Bites seem to dissipate in your mouth, but not so quickly that you feel you were shorted. They get better with age–and really, who doesn’t want that? And while I will never, ever (ever) complain about a plain one made with some of that Danish butter with sea salt flecks, I’m continually impressed by the myriad of ways shortbread can be adapted and still be as delicious as the original.