cookies · Family recipe · sweet

Birthday Mega Torte and Lots of Flowers

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People, I’m 24. I remember turning 12 and reconsidering all the things I could do at that period in my mind back then – I also got ill right near my b-day, staying at home and going for some tortures with a quartz thing (like a tube) to heal those nasty white ‘holes’ in my mouth. I felt quite uneasy sitting with that thing in my mouth while other sick people were sitting round with the same or different stuff. That was veeeery impressive, you see, I still remember it=) But mostly I remember how I was using those moments – thinking about me, such a grown-up girl, who could neither cook nor even light that awful Soviet gas cooker with a match (if you saw it you’d be afraid too=).

Well, I’ve already doubled that age, here I am, cooking on a new gas stove with an automatic switch, haha, but I can assure you that apart from what I LIKE cooking, I can hardly make anything that I won’t like… It’s a bit like making presents – when you choose a present, you search for something that YOU personally would like to have.That’s why I’m no good cooking meat (hate it raw, brrr) and no one even TRIES asking me to cook fish or seafood=) So I’d better keep on my sweet and ‘yeasty’ things with occasional soups, pizzas and pies.

This b-day was my first after a two year absenteeism =) from home celebrations. I got flowers in the morning, freshly delivered by my Sister in person at my work place, then my Director gave a magic box with a flower ikebana in it, a very unusual thing, and I by some miracle managed to carry the both back home in a supermarket bag =) Then I got flowers from my Sis’s petit ami, then from my lovely Vika white roses (for the first time in my life I guess). I also received letters, arriving around my b-day, which are always for me a great gift in themselves.

My Mum (Melina, she did it! just as you ‘prophesied’!!!=), my wonderful Mum, you made a perfect cake for me! I love it, each time Mum makes it, it’s a hit. I won’t disclose the secret recipe which is a mixture of a cake called Xenia and chocolate glaze (which I will once tell you, it’s handy and just universal) from another cake called… Bird’s Milk=) And this time she also made – although very traditionally – twice the size, so it was huge! The taste of that honey-nutty-chocolate-sour cream wonder is something that comes from my childhood.

So that I don’t seem too mean not telling you that secret family recipe, I’m giving you a recipe of cookies or better sconies (as the author dubbed them), that I prepared from my behalf, so that I too participate in the cooking.

Chocolate chip, Cranberry & Walnut Sconies adapted just a bit  from www.passionateaboutbaking.com – will make chewy sugary kinda cookies of your favourite shape
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour – I added some whole wheat flour just to quieten that guiltiness for the rest of the ingredients=)
  • 1/3 cup vanilla sugar – I just added some vanilla to the sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup rolled oats – I used 6 grain cereal + oats
  • Zest of 1 orange – I chopped some orange peels that I froze
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk – I had to use more, that was as usual our famous prostokvasha
  • 1/8 cup coarse vanilla or demerara sugar, for sprinkling – I used coarse brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries –I mixed them with cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts – I had various nuts
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips – I chopped half a chocolate bar

Method (copying the original recipe)

Preheat the oven to 180 ‘C degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, 1/2 cup of vanilla sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse 15-20 times or until it looks like sandy pearls. Transfer the dough to a bowl and stir in the oats, cranberries, walnuts, chocolate chips and zest (I did it all by hand).

Stir in the buttermilk until just moistened. Bring the dough together with your hands. If the dough is still too crumbly, stir in more buttermilk a tiny splash at a time, but try to avoid over mixing (I had to use more liquid).

After bringing the dough together, gently divide into 2, and roll out. Cut shapes if you like, or pat it into a round. Cut into triangle shapes if you are patting the dough into a circle. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet with some room between each scone. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms are deeply golden. Cool completely on racks .

I found that some smaller cookie cutters just messed the whole thing up, so I was more lucky with medium size cutters, hearts, squares, stars etc.

* Photos courtesy of my Mum, Dad and me*

Thank you for everything.

G.

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