cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Turtle Biscuits - A little lime, a little Love

Welcome to the Turtle Shop Birthday, ça veut dire one thing: what cake shall i bake. But not this time, this time I must abide by that scandalous yet evidently pertinent beast of a rule: cater to the crowd.

The big 0 - 6, the cake is already planned and in production, so what then, no cake--no cake for mallory to bake. Flo, the little darling of finess, the firecracker in pink shoes and round purple specs who fills my wednesdays and fridays with coloring books, park games, and singing lessons, is turning 6 and therefore something must be made. For this baker/chef/caterer wanna-be always makes known your importance in her world with flour, sugar, and an egg. Yeah that's right grandma, back off.

For this joyous fête of fêtes, a 3 hour long scherade of around 15 bubbling bouncing 6 year old FRENCH children jacked to the glucose saturation point on candies, cakes, and sweets of every make, another sticky goodness must be added, naturally. Finding a treat for a child is not a difficult task as some may think, but if a cookie must be made, it cannot be just any cookie, oh no it can not.

Carolyn Dodo, la pauvre. Flo's gallantly patient (do turtles have a choice?) pet turtle whose popularity is strewn in motif-decor throughout the appartment. Effigies of glass, chrystal, wood, clay, fabric and tin from every corner of the globe fill the cubbords, bookshelves, tables, and walls. Plain said, the girl loves turtles. A turtle cookie it is then. Step one: find a cookie cutter (noble quest!) Step two: head to the factory production line, we are manufacturing turtles.

What type of cookie is best for a turtle; green, yes, perhaps lime then. A summer working at an ice cream shop taught me that no matter how brilliant and decadent the choices, the vast majority of children will still choose the lemon sorbet or the vanilla icecream. Vanilla then perhaps as well, the magical parfume that agrees well with every fruit nut and sweet sensation imaginable. The terrible, yet wonderous truth with children is that taste matters little for them, the sex appeal is in the wrapping. While they will not eat something that tastes like a shoe, they prefer the simple gouts; a noodle with butter, no spice but some salt, apples and bananas, vanilla and lemons. For the vast majority of children, if it looks good, perhaps has a little rabbit as a mascot, is pink, and maybe glitters, then they will eat it.

The moral here to be made is that the simpler is always the better when it comes to childrens palats. Remember that these are the little humans that find pleasure in meat and fish formed into "nuggets" and that putrid condiment from hell...ketchup. For the wee Americans, a day without peanut butter and jelly is unthinkable (my american darlings C&R i mean you), and for children the world around, no matter how unpleasant the taste, a gummy bonbon in any color shape or form is always number one. But do not despair my little friends, you'll grow out of it. Why, just ask my mum and you will hear that I too went through a stage of a days diet consisting singularly of koolaid. C'est vrai.

Turtle sugar cookies, sablés to the French, simple white dough to allow for the most important part, the icing. Flour, vanilla, butter, sugar, an egg, a bit of lime, c'est tout. Be warned though when creating an arsenal of cutout cookies--it is very time consuming.

75 cookies, turtles and hearts, mais attendez--qu'est ce que c'est? What's that little poulet doing swimming with the turtles? I think he is lost; was looking for the cabbage patch and ended up in the turtle pond. Silly poulet, I'll help him out.

Cutout cookies are perfect for personalization at an event with a big crowd. M, Flo's mother, and I, the only two adults trapped in the appartment with 15 darling little 6 year old demons were surprisingly enough to maintain a basal level of order and peace. Lock and Load. I know these kids, I know their playground clicks and games, and I know their soft spots, but then again, they know mine. We'll see how many times i can twirl you, but wiat stop jumping on the couch!

M prepared two flourless chocolqte tortes, chouette! A gesture that made me feel almost part of the family, either that or a stroke of luck for this cake deprived child (me). Along with the cake and cookies was more sugar, juice, and waffles. The French ever so much love their waffles, a common snack treat wheather packaged or homemade.

Recette: 300g flour ~ 120 g powdered sugar ~ 125g butter ~ 1 egg ~ vanilla & lime zest.

Preparation: mix, and refigerate for at least an hour, roll out dough SMALL portions at a time and leave the rest in the refrigerator, roll them thin, bake ~ 15 min depending on oven, cool completely before icing. The icing: powdered sugar, vanilla, and lime juice. That's it. The coloring? Anything you have--dyes, natural flavors, or in my case, colored sprinkles.

Were the turtles a success? For the most part yes, particularly the eyeballs. Verse. Flo gasped and gave me a giggle, sign enough I had done well. The #1 turtle consumer, however, was C, Flo's 8 year old brother who in the following days managed to finish off the bucket of turtles handfuls at a time. Good boy.

The rule of the game: presentation. Come on, it shows you care, and as we eat first with our eyes and second with our tongues, food's first lesson like the potty or à dire "mama" is first and foremost in its look. Children are not so far removed from us we the garnish reveling glossy eyed patrons of well plated steaks and sauce covered cakes often times think, though taste, as a virtue, is aquired. Enjoyed in yesteryear were the fish nuggets; blue popsicles in tubes, and flavorless gumballs, but remember, everyonce in a while, it is ok to eat and enjoy a pink marshmallow, or perhaps just a little loving cookie.

A bientôt


Ryan said...

That's my kinda cookie. What a hit!

PS. My new blog url is

Mallory Elise said...

thank you ryan, as always you are a prized reader! i'll fix your blog link on the page.

Mónica said...

So beautiful these cookies. I´m sure they were a enormous success.
Is funny your blog´s name is salty cod, i´m portuguese you see, and we, portuguese people love salty cod, you can find some recipes in my blog in case you are interested.

Núria said...

Hola Mallory! Love the little turtles!!! So cute♥

I tried to leave comments earlier this week but couldn't do it. Nice to be able to do so now :D

Anonymous said...

Ton oncle "Puff" has a small issue with the loosely used "turtle" rather than the actual "tortoise". But any tortoise story certainly gets Pufflette attention. Tell Flo, Carolyn DODO would enjoy meeting "Prince Charming and Holly",
photos available upon request.

We love you,
Ferndale Puffs.

Mallory Elise said...

jajajaja! i've decided to be slightly spanish now so thats how i laugh---you Frendale puffs caught me in my charlatan lack of knowledge in the realm of shelled-reptiles, domage! But Flo would go CRAZY to see Prince Charming, she's small enough she could probably take him for a ride.

Love back at yous--et bietôt! vraiment bientôt!

eleonora said...

Coucou Elise..comme tu écris en français chez Béa...j'aimerai faire les petites grenouilles ou les coeurs..Comment on fait....!!!!!je ne sais pas lire l'anglais...merci d'avance de ta gentillesse

Anonymous said...

I am going to make you Guinness cookies when you get home (koolaid flavored of course)Oh your sister g was amused by your turtle/tortoise knowledge.


eleonora said...

Coucou Elise..merci de ta gentillesse et mille excuses pour les tortues que je prends pour des grenouilles..mais c'était je pense la fatigue...j'ai bien pris note du tout avec plaisir et à l'occasion je fais en faire..promis je te le dirai..Passe un bon dimanche en famille et à bientôt.

Leonardo said...

WAO those cookies are so gorgeus! Too cute!!
Where did you buy the turtle shape to prepare them?
Tell me if it is possible to find it on the internet!
I am searching luck yet!

Mallory Elise said...

Hi Leo, hmmm i dunno if you'll be back to get this response--you should leave a profile name with an address where i could send you an answer!!

lets see, i got the little turtle from a small cooking store on rue de rennes in paris. erm, i bet you could find it online, im sure there are cookie cutter mega stores. wish you were my neighbor, you could just borrow mine!

Anonymous said...

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