I'm kind of afraid to say it too loud, but I think fall might finally be here. As I'm typing this, it's down to 61ºF, and it's supposed to be down into the 50s tonight. Tomorrow might only be in the high 70s! Those of you who live farther north will probably think I'm crazy, since almost 80º is still pretty warm, but for Texas, it's a definite improvement. I was able to take the girls to the park this morning and it was actually pleasant. I got to sit in the shade and read, and they ran themselves ragged climbing all over the playscape. A win for all of us. =)
I can't say that all my recent fall-inspired baking is responsible, but I figure it hasn't hurt. =) So I thought I'd share another recipe that I made recently. I was very excited to receive my copy of Dorie Greenspan's new book, Around My French Table. But even before I got it, Dorie published one of the recipes on her blog, and I knew it would be one of the first I made. It was a recipe for Speculoos, crisp brown sugar & spice cookies. It wasn't the very first (I made some hummus and vanilla ice cream before it), but it was close.
I decided that these cookies would be one of the items I'd send to Kayte, my Secret Baker recipient. (Secret Baker is a monthly activity where a bunch of us send baked goodies to each other, with the sender being unknown to the recipient until they get the package.) I figured she'd enjoy them, since she's not a chocolate person. The cookies were easy to mix up--cream butter and brown sugar, beat in an egg, then add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, spices). But for the shaping, I deviated from the recipe. I really wasn't in the mood to roll out dough and cut out cookies. First I thought of doing slice-and-bake, but for some unknown reason, I really hate doing that. So I went in a different direction. After chilling the dough for a few hours, I scooped out the dough (with my #100 disher) and rolled it into balls that were about 3/4" in size. I dipped a glass in granulated sugar (so it wouldn't stick) and used it to flatten the cookies. I baked them for 12 minutes, and ended up with about 50 cookies.
The verdict? Mmm, these are good! My cookies ended up with crisp edges and just a slight chewiness in the centers. They did get a bit softer after a day or two, but that's not surprising with the high humidity we've had. I used Vietnamese cinnamon, so the cookies had a strong spice flavor. Everyone here liked them, though I've probably eaten the most. I shipped a couple dozen of them off to Kayte--she said she wasn't sure she was going to tell anyone else about them so she could keep them for herself. I will definitely be making these again, sometime when I have more patience so I can roll/cut them out the way I was supposed to.
If you'd like to try these for yourself, you can find the recipe here on Dorie's blog. It has a correction from what is in the book; apparently the egg got left out of the recipe in the book. Even though you can find the recipe online, I highly recommend getting a copy of Around My French Table. I can't wait to make more of the recipes. And if you like cooking and baking along with others and comparing notes, be sure to check out the new French Fridays with Dorie group. We'll be baking through the book, one recipe per week. Everyone is welcome!