Suzi's Blog

Seth’s Brandy Delights from Cookie Time

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Cookies. They are among the first foods we eat and they fit into a special niche in our lives. Cookies are not dessert. They don’t count for that. And they are small so basically calorie free. There is a gracious, guilt free feeling about cookies.

Uh, there should be. Once upon a time, you could go to the neighborhood bakery and find fresh cookies in abundance. All you had to do is follow your nose.

Nowadays, the bakeries are one. The bakery counter at your supermarket carry only two kinds of cookies. There are the hard ones, hard as rock, colored in different pastels, but with one common factor: they remind you of cardboard.

At the other extreme, there are the gooey ones. My local supermarket, really a lovely place in Kingston, sells brownies that are 4 inches on a side. A half inch thick with another 2 inches of frosting. Complete with embedded chips and marshmallows. Lifting one to your mouth is good for your biceps. Taking a taste is a diabetic risk. Yes, I will admit: things can be too sweet, too gooey.

What I wanted the other day was a simple cookie. One where you could taste the butter. Have a soft bite into a cookie sized for humans, not super heroes. I turned, as I often do, to Cookie Time by Marilyn Miller Wasbotten.

These Seth’s Brandy Delights are soft balls of dough with a simple, clear, pure flavor. There is some brandy here, but only enough to tint the taste that you feel. It’s what cookie was meant to me, used to be, and can be with just a few minutes in the kitchen.

The original recipe below calls for walnuts, but I used slivered almonds for a slightly less nutty tone. Because they remind me of Mexican wedding cake cookies, I did roll these in powdered sugar before baking. Not too sweet!

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Seth’s Brandy Delights

Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cp confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 ¼ cup flour
  • ¾ cup walnuts
  • Confectioner’s sugar for rolling [optional] 

Preparation:

Cream the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and brandy. Blend in the flour and nuts. Shape the dout into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet

Bake at 375⁰F for 10 to 13 minutes. The cookies will flatten a bit and be about 2 inches in diameter.

 

Source: Cookie Time by Marily Miller Wasbotten

Photo Credits: Canon T2i, 18-55MM Macro lens, F/8, 1/50th second, ISO 3200

 

Sangria Using Cabernet Franc

 

Sangria. Wine purists think of it as a four-letter word. How could one possible contaminate wine, they say. Unless, of course, it’s not “proper” wine. If you want to make sangria with some cheap red from some Mediterranean country on the verge of bankruptcy, well, that’s your business. Thus sayeth the wine snobs.

I’ve always loved sangria. For this long, long week with a holiday in the middle of it, you are sure to be spending time with friends and family. On a hot day, nothing can surpass sangria with a bevy of accompanying tapas.

Sadly, sangria has, it is true, become a point of contention in my marriage.

“Too damn much sugar,” Suzen said last weekend. “Just look at that undissolved stuff at the bottom of the pitcher.”

I looked, I nodded, and I have repented. The recipe below has some sugar, but not too much.

What Suzen and I have learned is that sangria can be great. Truly great. And like any great food, you need to begin with really fine ingredients. So, the last sangria we made used a wonderful Italian wine made with Cabernet Franc grapes. Here’s all the info for the wine:

Cab Franc

Colli Berici

Denominazione Di Origine Controllata [DOC]

Cabernet Franc

2008

Estate Bottled by Azienda Marcato s.s.

www.marcatovini.it

This is a fine wine by itself. Used in a sangria, you create a flavor powerhouse. The recipe below is, of course, flexible. You can mix and match fruits, but we found this particular combination of wine, fruit, brandy and sugar to be excellent. That map at the top shows the three vineyard locations for Azienda Marcato. The Po valley may be foggy and dark, but the grapes love it.

 

Cab Franc Sangria     

Yield: 1 ½ cups

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup brandy
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 bottle of Cab Franc Colli Berici
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and slivered
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds

Preparation:

In a glass pitcher, pour in the brandy and add the sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and form a viscous liquid. Add the wine and stir to mix thoroughly.Add the fruit, and stir to mix. Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2hours before serving.

Source: Brian O’Rourke