Archives for posts with tag: cookies

My heart is going to explode with happiness.  Food52 just released an infographic (by Jordan Sondler), map, and list with some of the world’s best cookie recipes.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about cookie recipes in preparation for holiday gifts, and now I’m overwhelmed with the urge to retire early and spend the rest of my life baking these iconic desserts.  Who needs a PhD?  But cookies – oh cookies.

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Even better, you can pin your own recipes to a Google Maps archive they’ve started here.

As an American Studies digital humanities/food studies scholar I love this project.  The project and subsequent digital discussion speak to the ways that national identity is wrapped up in food.  By baking and eating these cookies you can play food tourist at home and consume other national identities.

And all too often many Americans forget how typically American food traditions are not the norm elsewhere.  Sascha, a graduate student in Purdue’s American Studies program from Germany, was astounded when attending the first professional development workshop on campus where he tasted a gooey, buttery, M&M-speckled grocery store cookie.  “THEY’RE SO SOFT.  HAVE YOU TRIED THESE COOKIES?  COOKIES DO NOT TASTE LIKE THIS IN GERMANY.”  Is it the vegetable shortening Americans add?  Or the rainbow of chocolately morsels that makes their taste and texture so delicious?  I have no idea.  Needless to say, he’s requested cookies or candy at almost every event since.

Here’s a list of 46 recipes Food 52 posted on their site.  Where am I going to begin my baking???  Maybe #9 – because who doesn’t want to bake with Tequila!?

Here’s to celebrating a little differently this year.

  1. Nanaimo Bars (Vancouver, Canada)
  2. Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas Cookies (Pennsylvania, U.S.)
  3. Rainbow Cookies (New York, U.S.)
  4. Potato Chip Cookies (Saratoga Springs, U.S.)
  5. Benne Wafers (South Carolina, U.S.)
  6. Prune & Chocolate Rugelach (New York, U.S.)
  7. Black & White Cookies (New York, U.S.)
  8. Bizcochitos (New Mexico, U.S.)
  9. Mexican Wedding Cakes (Mexico)
  10. Brigadeiros (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  11. Alfajores (Argentina)
  12. Serinakaker (Norway)
  13. Swedish Rye Cookies (Sweden)
  14. Polish Apricot-Filled Cookies (Poland)
  15. Pfeffernuse (Germany)
  16. Austrian Vanilla Crescents (Vanillekipferl) (Austria)
  17. Vanilice (Serbia)
  18. Koulourakia (Greek Sesame Twist Cookies) (Greece)
  19. Pain d’Amande (France)
  20. Brandy Snaps (U.K.)
  21. Maltese Lemon Christmas Cookies (Malta)
  22. Spanish Butter Wafers (Spain)
  23. Tehina Shortbread (Israel)
  24. Samsa (Almond-Orange Triangles) (Northern Africa (Morocco, Tunisia & Algeria))
  25. Chin Chin (Nigeria)
  26. Nigerian Coconut Cookie Crisps (Nigeria)
  27. Halawa (Halva) Truffles (Egypt)
  28. Mbatata (Sweet Potato Cookies) (Malawi)
  29. Chocolate Pepper Cookies (South Africa)
  30. Basler Leckerli (Waldshut-Tiengen, Southern Germany)
  31. Elisenlebkuchen (Nuremberg, Germany)
  32. Buccellati (Sicilian Christmas Cookies) (Sicily, Italy)
  33. Ukrainian Curd Cheese Cookies (Ukraine)
  34. Rice Cookies with Cardamom and Rose Water (Kermanshah, Iran)
  35. Springerles (Germany)
  36. Dorie Greenspan’s Stained Glass Cookies (Paris, France)
  37. Struffoli (Italian Honey Ball Cookies) (Southern Italy)
  38. Alice Medrich’s Buckwheat Thumbprint Cookies with Cherry Preserves (Russia)
  39. Chickpea Flour (Besan) Laddu (India)
  40. Coconut Milk Fudge (India)
  41. Chinese Peanut Cookies (China)
  42. Matcha Butter Cookies (Japan)
  43. Polvorón (Philippines)
  44. Tangerine Pies “Kuey Tarts” (Singapore)
  45. Mint Slices (Australia)
  46. Mango Melting Moments (Australia)

 

Tell me how your global cookie baking experiences have gone this winter!

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@RiseandRender’s photo of their thumbprint cookies – a little flatter and crispier than mine but probably equally as delicious.  Check out their photos of making Ina Garten’s recipe.  World, expect cookie Xmas gifts.

 

This Thanksgiving was probably unlike yours – calm and quiet with almost zero hustle and bustle in the kitchen.  I spent the day making Thumbprint cookies with raspberry/cloudberry jam centers for men at The Sleeping Room (the local men’s shelter in Muncie, IN), before serving them dinner.  The menu: from-the-box stuffing, from-the-can green beans, 2 cans cranberry sauce, a dismantled homemade turkey, Sara Lee pumpkin pie, and cookies (my only genuine contribution).  When we arrived Betty, the mom in a mother-daughter 2-person team of shelter managers, was sorting through the day’s food donations from Feed My Sheep.  What seemed like a bounty to Betty left us confused.  Opening the bags we found the offal of pantry discards: 4 jello snack packs.  A can of black beans.  A package of expired cheesy rice.  A can of kidney beans.  A can of tuna.  A jar of toffee-flavored coffee sweetener.  How do you make breakfast and dinner for 10 men every day with these pantry remnants?  “We are so blessed,” said Betty.  Thankfully the holiday cheer drives a flood of donations, while the rest of the year the shelves dry up.

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A snapshot of The Sleeping Room – 10 beds in a studio apartment.  The small kitchen and dining room is just behind the camera on the other side of these beds, while the bathroom with shower is down a small hallway.  Upon entering you relinquish all pocket contents and bags in exchange for a clean set of pajamas to be worn after your shower and dinner.

 

The hour spent there was quick but meaningful.  We returned to spend the evening enjoying the warm weather by our backyard campfire deep in thought over the experiences of our country’s homeless.  What is it like to survive on the streets?  How does involuntary urban camping change your daily habits: when/where to go to the bathroom, what counts as entertainment or dead weight, and what types of behaviors (like sitting on a curb or carrying a book bag) while completely normal for many attract unwanted suspicion and attention?  How long can you survive being homeless?

Most of all, it made us think how completely insufficient this tiny studio apartment-turned shelter for 10 men was to quell the needs of the local homeless.  Elizabeth, a Chicago-area women who recently Airbnb-ed our spare room for a night, told us about her work advocating for Chicago’s homeless population of 140,000.  An estimated 14,000-15,000 men, women, and children each day sleep on the streets of Chicago, yet the city provides only 140 beds for the homeless.  With the high price of real estate in the city, and more and more middle- and upper-middle class professionals paying high rents to gentrify previously poor neighborhoods, there’s no economic incentive to convert Chicago property into shelters.

Homelessness should not be balanced on the backs of people like Betty and Elizabeth alone.  How is homeless everyone’s problem?  And how can the solution be the result of everyone’s work?  So grab a cookie and let’s discuss.

Thumbprint Cookies

 

This is a snapshot of Martha Stewart’s recipe for Thumbprint Cookies, (although I used salted butter and added salt to balance out the sweetness from the raspberry/cloudberry jam).  Eat no less than 3 per day.