16 February 2011

An Afternoon of Tea, Cookies and Proust: Recipes for Roasted Spelt Flour Pecan Sable Cookies and Orange Cinnamon Ginger Tisane

When I came across Chocolate and Zucchini's recipe for Squeeze Cookies, a roasted flour sable with fun shapes made by squeezing the dough in your hand, I had to try them. The roasted flour creates such a simple twist on a classic -- something interesting, different, but not too unusual or difficult to produce. That's my kind of recipe.

The recipe uses egg yolks, and I have several from yesterday's experiments with coconut macaroons. My husband loves when leftovers are used up, so this, in a sense, is an additional gift.

I prefer to use whole grains wherever possible, so tried pecan meal and spelt flour instead of all-purpose. Make pecan meal by grounding pecans in a food processor until fine and sandy in consistency, then add it to the flour for the last five minutes of roasting.

The cookies emerged fragrant of toasted pecans. The buttery sable falls apart easily, practically begging for tea. The hand-squeezed shape emphasizes the cookie's delicateness and resembles a madeleine, reminding me of the second volume of In Search of Lost Time that's been sitting on my shelf.

The cookie is also rich and flavorful at first, then dissolves and disappears as soon as it touches your tongue. Like the elusive nature of memory Proust experiences with his tea-soaked madeleine, this cookie is powerful, but is hard to pin down.

Inspired by the cookie's madeleine-shape and Canelle et Vanille's recent description of a lovely Sunday afternoon of tea and cookies, I savored my test cookie with Proust and a tisane of orange, cinnamon and ginger.

Tisane of Orange Cinnamon and Ginger Recipe
Combine 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon unsweetened ginger juice and the zest of one small orange in a teapot or bowl. Pour two cups boiling water over this mixture. Cover and steep to desired strength; strain and enjoy.

Do you have a favorite cookie and tea combination? Anything that draws you back in time like Proust's famous tea-soaked madeleine? Or any favorite lines from Proust? I like this one:

But when you believe in the reality of things, using an artificial means to see them better is not quite the same as feeling closer to them.

--- Marcel, on viewing La Berma through opera glasses, page 21 in Proust's In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower: In Search of Lost Time, Volume 2.

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