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The Cottage January/Imbolc 2002


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What could this Crone be grinding in her mortar and pestle?

Happy Candelmas...Want to take a peek? Celebrating this Sabbath will be interesting and sweet. Let's take a look at the menu shall we?

Honey Almonds

Servings: 25 pieces
Prep time: 15 min.
Cooking time: 10 min.
Ingredients for Batter #1
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons pure honey
4 tablespoons corn oil
11/2 cups unsalted slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons of rose water
4 tablespoons unsalted chopped pistachios for decoration

Ingredients for Batter #2*
1/2 cup unsalted melted butter
1/2 teaspoon saffron dissolved in
1/2 cup rose water
2/3 cup unsalted slivered almonds
8 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons pure honey
4 tablespoons unsalted slivered pistachios for decoration

Honey Almonds
(Sohan asal)
Batter #1: In a heavy saucepan over high heat, melt the sugar, honey, and oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the slivered almonds to the mixture. Stir from time to time, for about 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is firm and golden.
Add the saffron-rose water mixture and cook for another 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is a golden brown color. Be careful: it should not be dark brown.
Place a bowl of ice water next to the stove. Drop a spoonful of the hot almond mixture in the water: If it hardens quickly, the mixture is ready. Reduce the heat to very low.
Spread a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture on wax paper, leaving a 1-inch space between each. Immediately garnish with the chopped pistachios.
Allow the almonds to cool, then remove them from the paper.
Arrange on a serving platter. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil to keep the honey almonds crisp or keep in an airtight container or cookie jar.
Variation using Batter #2: In a heavy saucepan, place 1/2 cup of butter, 1/2 teaspoon saffron dissolved in 1/2 cup rose water, 2/3 cup slivered almonds, 8 tablespoons sugar, and 3 tablespoons honey. Boil over high heat for about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the mixture is golden brown. Proceed with step 4 in batter #1 instructions.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti


Prep Time: 30 min.
Start to Finish: 2 Hrs. 15 min.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Dutch Processed Cocoa or HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced almonds
CHOCOLATE GLAZE (recipe follows)
WHITE GLAZE (recipe follows)
Additional sliced almonds (optional)


1. Heat oven to 350F.

2. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and almond extract; beat until smooth. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; blend into butter mixture, beating until smooth. (Dough will be thick.) Using wooden spoon, work almonds into dough.

3. Divide dough in half. With lightly floured hands, shape each half into rectangular log about 2 inches in diameter and 11 inches long; place on large ungreased cookie sheet, at least 2 inches apart.

4. Bake 30 minutes or until logs are set. Remove from oven; cool on cookie sheet 15 minutes. Using serrated knife and sawing motion, cut logs into 1/2-inch diagonal slices. Discard end pieces. Arrange slices, cut sides down, close together on cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 9 minutes. Turn each slice over; bake an additional 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven; cool on cookie sheet on wire rack. Dip end of each biscotti in CHOCOLATE GLAZE or drizzle glaze over entire cookie. Drizzle WHITE GLAZE over chocolate glaze. Garnish with additional almonds, if desired. About 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE: In small microwave-safe bowl, place 1 cup HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and 1 tablespoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine or oil). Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until smooth when stirred. About 1 cup glaze.

WHITE GLAZE: In small microwave-safe bowl, place 1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Premier White Chips and 1 teaspoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine or oil). Microwave at HIGH (100%) 30 to 45 seconds or until smooth when stirred. About 1/4 cup glaze.

Poppyseed Bundt Cake

Yield: 1 servings
1 c Butter (or margarine)
1 1/2 c Sugar
2 1/2 c Flour (sift
-before measuring)
1 ts Baking soda
2 ts Baking powder
1 c Buttermilk
2 oz Poppy seeds
-(about 1/4 cup)
1 ts Almond extract
-(or vanilla extract)
4 Eggs (separated)
1/4 c Brown sugar
1 ts Cinnamon

Soak poppyseed in the buttermilk for 15 minutes.
Cream together butter and sugar. Add yolks to creamed mixture. Add almond extract or vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk mixture, a little at a time.
Beat egg whites very stiff as for angel food. Fold egg whites into mixture. Pour half of this batter mixture into well-greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle with a mixture of about 1/4 cup brown sugar and about 1 t cinnamon. Pour in remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour. Cool and invert onto serving dish, then remove Bundt pan.

* A light, delicate cake -- I got this recipe from my mom. I'm not sure where she got it.
* When folding in egg whites, be gentle. Lift and turn the batter instead of using a stirring motion. Don't worry if a little bit of egg white remains unmixed; the egg whites will collapse if you mix it too much.
* I have tried both vanilla and almond extracts with this recipe, and prefer the former.
Difficulty: easy to moderate (folding the beaten egg whites into the batter takes some skill). : Time: 30 minutes preparation, 1 hour cooking, 1 hour cooling.
Precision: Measure carefully.


Lamb Tagine

Traditional Moroccan lamb with excellent citrus fruit flavours. A real taste treat.

3 lbs leg of lamb, boned and cut into 1" dice.
2 onions
6 cloves of garlic
2 pints of lamb stock
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
2 red chillies, finely chopped
4 ozs sultanas
6 ozs dried apricots
Zest and juice of one orange
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey.
Vegetable oil
Brown the onions and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the lamb and sear all over. Place the contents of the pan into an ovenproof dish, with the stock and ginger. Cook very slowly for two hours.

Add the apricots, sultanas and orange juice and zest, honey and cinnamon and cook for a further 20 minutes. Season to taste and serve with couscous and green leaves.

Wild Rice with Mushrooms and Almonds

1 cup uncooked wild rice
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons snipped chives or chopped green onion
8 ounce can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
3 cups chicken broth

Preparation Tips:
Wash and drain rice. Melt butter in large skillet. Add rice, almonds, chives and mushrooms; cook and stir until almonds are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Pour rice mixture into ungreased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Heat chicken broth to boiling; stir into rice mixture. Cover tightly; bake about 1 1/2 hours or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender and fluffy. 6 to 8 servings.

Sunflower Bread

1/2 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
5 cups unbleached white bread flour
1/4 cup bulgar wheat, coarsely ground, soaked in 1/4 cup water for 10 minutes
1/2 cup barley flakes
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons shortening
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon tumeric
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1 package dry yeast

Start by mixing 1/8 cup of water with the bulgar wheat in a cup. As long as it soaks for maybe 5 minutes before you add it to the mix, it won't be crunchy in the final product.
Mix 2 cups flour, and all the rest of the dry ingredients including the yeast. Then mix in the shortening, honey, bulgar wheat, and water until a batter is formed. Mix in the rest of the flour, 1 cup at a time. It should form a ball and be only slightly tacky. Knead for 10 minutes.

Form a ball, place into a buttered bowl, roll around in the bowl until coated with the butter (actually I spray Pam in), cover, and let rise until doubled in size.
Punch down, and depending on the size of the loaf pans, form into 2 large or 3 smaller loaves. Let rise uncovered until doubled in size again.

Bake at 300F for 45 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped.
A wonderful variation is to add 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds in addition to the sunflower seeds. It changes the character of the bread, but it tastes great, too.

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Rusks (Beskuit)- Great with coffee

2 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups whole wheat bread flour (coarsely ground if possible)
1/3 cup sugar
tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
cup melted butter
2 eggs
cup buttermilk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp pure almond extract


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the dry ingredients.
2. Combine all the wet ingredients, pour them into the dry ingredients, and stir until you have a soft dough, similar to biscuit dough.
3. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll or pat it to about a inch thickness.
4. Cut the dough into rectangles about 2 by 4 inches. Bake the rusks about 2 inches apart on buttered baking sheet for about 25 minutes until the tops are crisping and browning a little.
5. Now, eat a few "soft" rusks warm from the oven. Delicious when dipped in fresh Honey or flavored Honey.

Loosely pile the rusks on a baking sheet and keep them in a 200 degree oven all day or all night (about 12 hours) to dry.
6. The finished rusks should be very dry and hard. Cool and store in an airtight container. Rusks will keep for weeks.

Honey Almond recipe: from Najmieh Batmanglij's New Food of Life