Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Roses for Rose

I made these for my friends T&J’s new baby, Rose, yesterday. She was born four weeks ago today, and I felt ashamed that I hadn’t managed to finish the little thing I was working on for her, so I made some flowery linzer biscuits to take round in the meantime. I’d bought a linzer cookie cutter a while ago, and while it’s not really a rose, I thought it was close enough to be appropriate.

I used the recipe from the King Arthur flour company’s test kitchen. I don’t think that this is a brand we have over here, but I keep reading about it on American blogs, and I like the idea of recipes coming through a test kitchen. I halved it and it worked out fine; if it needed quite a bit of extra flour it was probably because too much egg plopped itself into the mixture when I was trying to spoon in just a half. I hate the way raw eggs are so stringy, which is a shame because I really like cooked eggs. I suppose at least that makes the ‘eeeuw’ bit worthwhile.

Linzer cookies are (as The Scientist described them) like posh Jammy Dodgers. The top layer has a shape cut out in the middle (in this case a rosie flower), so you can see the jam spread on the bottom layer. I used home-made blackberry jam because I wanted it to look good and crimsony. They are based on a Linzertorte, which is a jam-layered cake, and apparently the oldest in the world, according to wikipedia. I am vexed by the ambiguity of this statement. Is it the oldest recipe written down? The oldest to be recorded as being eaten? As a historian I feel unsatisfied, though intrigued – perhaps it features in court records in an early version of a custard pie attack? Or in some young gentleman’s account of a grand tour? Perhaps it was made by medieval monks, or as a celebration for a patron saint. It has strengthened my desire to go to Austria so that I can find out (you can do it by train – I’ve checked!)

Unfortunately the biscuits got a little jogged about in my bag (cycling really doesn’t combine well with baked goods), but I’m pretty sure that Rose appreciated the thought. I’ve been having lunch with her mum quite regularly recently, so it was really nice to see the two of them at last! She was very lovely – alert when I first arrived, and then looking very serious as she slept. Her other little gift will be arriving soon, I promise!


LisaRene said...

This is the best way to bake cookies - make them and give them away as a gift. If I make a batch for Wilson and myself, well... I eat them! I have absolutely no will power! I made a batch yesterday and am embarrassed to say how many have been eaten :(

Your cookies turned out perfectly and it was very special of you to use homemade blackberry jam. Shaping them as "rose" cookies makes them all the more thoughtful.

Ilana said...

great photograph! very professional :)