Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thankful For

Any time that I get caught up in caring too much about things, physical things like clothes or furniture or even my garden, I try to remind myself that none of that, while enjoyable, is as important as the people in our lives, and the ones who used to be in our lives but have died. I'm thankful for all the memories I have of those who have been a big part of my life.  I've been pretty fortunate to have parents who lived into their 80s and 90s and I had a good relationship with each. I've had good friends who lived long lives, too, but are gone now, some of them only recently.

My sweet sister Beth left us just a year ago and is still intensely missed.

Max, our son, of course, died much too young and I miss him every day. When we miss that person who is gone, sometimes there is a food memory that keeps them close.

Janna, a niece by marriage and a wonderful woman also left us much too soon due to cancer. She was a terrific cook and baker and if she hadn't live in southern CA most of the time I knew her I think we might have been closer. She did give me her recipe for biscotti and I enjoy making them at this time of year. They make wonderful Christmas gifts!

My Mom was also a fantastic cook and baker. I cherish her crescent cookie recipe. She baked them almost every year and sent them around the country to her scattered children. In the photo at the top she is finishing the baked cookies with a shower of powdered sugar.

Both recipes rely on nuts, so these are not the recipes for family or friends with nut allergies, but for everyone else I suspect that they will be one of the most memorable treats they might receive for Christmas. The crescent cookies recipe can be found HERE. There are other Christmas cookies, too.

Janna's Almond Biscotti

1 cup whole almonds
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Toast the almonds 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree F. oven. Let cool.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs, adding eggs one at a time and beating well after each addition. Add almond extract with the last egg. Scrape sides and beater(s) as needed.
In another bowl stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and whole, toasted, nuts. Add this dry mixture to the egg mixture on low speed. Let mixer combine them until dough forms.

On a greased 12" x 15" baking sheet, use well-floured hands to pat dough into 2 flat loaves, about 3/4" thick.

Bake in 350 degree F. oven about 20 minutes, until browned at edges and springy to the touch. Let the loaves cool on the sheet until cool, then cut on the diagonal into long 1/2" slices.

Arrange slices on the baking sheet close together with a cut side down. Return baking sheet to oven and bake at 350 degrees F. until cookies are brown, 15-18 minutes longer.

Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely. Serve or store airtight. These can be frozen for 3-6 months, too.

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