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, December 1, 2007

Bienvenue Décembre

Anisette Zest CookiesIt is already December, how did that happen. December is really just another synonym for Christmas, as the holiday season ceremoniously does indeed begin now and run until the new year. Paris, the city of lights is glittering with over 40 rues of holiday cheer, swathed with bitty twinkling light bulbs, wooden reindeer, and enough tinsel to shame even Dorothy's friend. Notre Dame has set out her grand Tannenbaum, and the Galleries Lafayette are buzzing to the point of saturation with hoards of anxious holiday shoppers. The man selling roasted chestnuts however, is quite calm--as is his cat fast asleep under the covers of its neat little bed.

As much as I too love the holidays and dream of beginning them as soon as possible, it is a struggle to say no. Year after year we must always start so early, it is torment on one's studies! It is tradition and comfort that draws, grabbing at the familiarity. I won't fashion a door size chain or brightly colored paper to count down the days until Reveillon, or wrap factious presents to friends and scratch at the advent calendar as I did when I was a little girl waiting and waiting for Santa to come. Instead it will suffice to walk the streets late into the night in search of the best lights, awaiting that first flake of Parisian snow that has yet to grace the ground. Regardless I have finished the shopping and today marks the shipment of your cards and gifts--if you are a recipient--and what else could I possibly do but bake Christmas cookies and listen to Michael and Diana's Christmas albums? Exactly.

If I could I would bake a Christmas cookie each day of December as an advent calendar. Thankfully for my studies I do not have the time nor the budget to accomplish such a grandmotherly feet. Well, my children will someday love such a notion (note: I don't have children, it's a hypothesis that someday-cross your fingers-I will) The first Christmas cookies of the season: anisette and orange spiced sugar cookies cut of course in none other than tree and candy cane forms. It seems anise seed is continually finding itself in my made-up recipes, a Salty Cod signature it is turning into. The key to these cookies was extended refrigeration prior to rolling, their shapes were maintained through baking better than any previous cookie I have yet attempted.

Anisette Zest Cookies: 3 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons anise seeds, 2 tablespoons orange zest (I used satsumas, i feel it was more pungent), 1 cup softened butter, 1 tablespoon anisette liquer (if no then use milk), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 egg.

Combine dry ingredients and set aside, beat together butter and sugar until creamy, add egg and anisette or milk. Add dry mixture, anise seeds, and zest. Divide into 3 compact balls and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Unroll dough one at a time and cut into desired shapes, press into a pan of sugar, and bake at 200c for around 10 minutes. Note: I have to use a toaster oven, a scotch glass as a rolling pin, and cook about 5 cookies at a time. So there we are.

Now I may not have tasted these as they are made from wheat flour, but their smell and feel was right, and the giant plate I placed on the foyer coffee table disappeared quite rapidly--so that is my signal. I wish, friend, that I could give these cookies to you, but alas the photos will have to suffice. December first--let the advent begin, and be warned for there are many more Christmas cookies yet to come.

A bientôt


Núria said...

Hola Mallory! I wish I could spend a December's weekend in Paris... Surely it looks wonderful!!!
I would also like a bite of these Xmas cookies!!!

Anonymous said...

never ever ever ever ever... list diana after buble... i'm rolling over in my grave.

your dad

Mallory Elise said...

Buble Buble. Dianer. Buble. Dianer. Frank Sinatra? Buble Dianer. I love them both. tee hee.

Unknown said...

A few years ago we made a giant star to hang on the side of our house.
Not some tacky wal-mart star.. this thing is the perfect definition of a star. It's tradition to light it December 1st. ...hey not a bad idea for a blog post!

It faces east too, I wouldn't be surprised if you could see it in Paris haha.