Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pretty (& Easy) Holiday Cookies

Music: Buena Vista Social Club, motion picture soundtrack**

Today's smoothie: baby spinach, cranberry relish, fresh cranberries, banana, avocado.

The South Oakland concert band played its holiday concert last Sunday and I had to bring a dozen cookies to share. I whipped these up in less than 30 minutes the morning of the performance. They are a wonderful, lightly spiced, holiday cookie that looks pretty and tastes delicious. Not heavy or too rich. Just right.

5-Spice Almond Cookies (from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan).

1 C + 2 tbsp barley flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 C unrefined sugar

2 tbsp almond slices

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp 5-spice powder

1/3 C pure maple syrup

3/4 tsp almond extract

1/4 canola oil

unrefined sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, sifting in soda & powder, & stir until well combined. In a smaller separate bowl, combine syrup, extract, & oil & stir until well mixed. Add wet mixture to dry, then stir well until just combined. Do not overmix. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form rounded balls of the dough with your fingers and slightly flatten on baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven & let cool for 1 minute on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

**My father came to the United States from Cuba during the revolution when he was eighteen. A few years later, he met my mother so he never returned as he & his family intended. But the influence of the culture prevailed over my life (very Catholic, not allowed to date, ethnic foods and dances, hanging out with other Latinos in the Detroit area, etc.). We also didn't move to Miami like most of the Cubans my father knew when he came here. I often wondered what my life would be like had we moved to Miami. I certainly would have learned the language, that's for sure. When this movie came out, my entire family went to see it at the Main Art Theater here in Royal Oak. And, when the performers began touring, we went to their concerts, a free one at the Detroit Festival of the Arts featuring Compay Segundo as well as a group performance at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. Whenever I hear this or any other Cuban music, I think of my family.

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