I haven’t been painting lately, and Loreto hasn’t been playing his instruments that much. The blog is keeping us busy. We try to balance things out but it is difficult at times when you have a new project on the go. I miss my brushes and watercolors, though, I have to reserve some time for it. It seems that after I bake and take pictures, edit and upload them on the website, if I want to take a break I grab a book and read instead. Reading has always been my all-time favorites. If I like what I’m reading, I get lost in the book, I lose the notion of time and space. Usually it is my burning eyes that take me back to reality. And if I don’t like what I’m reading (usually I can tell from the very first pages if it’s not “pulling me in”) I just can’t go on. I close it and move on to another one. Only during University time (which seems ages ago) and literature exams I had to read a book till the very end even if I did not like it in the least. Nothing and nobody can force me now.
As for painting, I get overwhelmed, sometimes, by the setting up before and the cleaning after. It reminds me of the baking stages: preparing and measuring all the ingredients before and cleaning all the bowls, cups, whatever I needed for the recipe after. I thoroughly enjoy the artistic process of painting. And I definitely enjoy the creative course of baking. Maybe I just need a sous-chef and a sous-peintre 😉 .
Today it hasn’t been that bad with these adorable creations of mine. These cute as a button Shortbread Cookies have been relatively easy to prepare. The shortbread pastry is fast, more so because it is imperative not to warm up the cold butter. You have to work the dough fast and with cold hands in order to have a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth cookie. The icing sugar and the egg yolk (you won’t need the white) contribute to the light, delicate, powdery texture of the shortbread cookies. I don’t hide that I like to play with different kind of flours, gluten-free and non, and lately I’ve been putting a part of amaranth flour in my baking, but usually no more than 30% of the total. I don’t want to list here all the benefits of this “grain”, I’m just a baker not a nutritionist, but I hope I have tickled your curiosity to want to know more and start adding it to your diet.
Melting the chocolate in a bain-marie, or water bath, is a process I enjoy doing. The aroma that emanates from the bowl is intense and the smoothness of the chocolate reminds me of the texture of my colors on the palette. Today I imagined the cookies as my blank canvas, then I played with the melted chocolate and the different toppings. I used sprinkles for color, toasted slivered almonds for crunch and candied cherries for the confectionary style. The overall look made me smile, it’s cheerful and…cute. One can say that it’s like eye candy. I can see them in a french patisserie, old brown stone buiding, rod iron chairs and tables outfront, people delicately savoring the cookies in a nice cappuccino bath.
When you bite into them, the first flavor that hits your senses is the shortbread, that buttery smooth texture dissipating in your mouth like icecream on a hot day. Then, the richness of the chocolate takes over your mouth like Napoleon in the battlefield. In the end, pleasers of crunchy almonds, sweet sparkles and gooey cherry goodness, leaving you completely and utterly satisfied. You might not just stop at one.
The song to accompany my inspiration is: “Love Sweet Love” by Johnny Reid.
If you liked this recipe, you might also like my Pasticcini di Pasta frolla.
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