Monday, April 04, 2005

Good as Gold

I said I was going to fire up the oven this weekend, and I meant it. Between 6:30 and 11 AM on Saturday, I was a baking fiend.

First up, pain aux noix, a delightful white-wheat yeast bread with walnuts scattered through the dough. I like the way the bits of walnuts add variety and crunch to an otherwise soft, tender crumb, and I like that it has a neutral flavor that works well with butter and jam in the morning and guacamole, cucumbers, and tomatoes in the afternoon. (Doggone, that was good.)

Next, I made the dough for chocolate-hazelnut zebras, a rich and almost gooey cookie rolled in powdered sugar. (Sacrifices to the Tech Gods were long overdue.) The dough has to be chilled for a few hours, so I didn't actually bake them until that afternoon, but they were well worth the wait.

The crowning glory of Saturday's baking, however, was the creation of golden, buttery rich but ephemerally light lime-ginger squares. A variation on my lemon-date square recipe, this wonder has lime rind in both the shortbread base and the egg filling, a pinch of ground ginger in the base, and mini diced crystallized ginger (just a hint!) in the filling. With a light dusting of powdered sugar on top, they fool you into thinking they're just run-of-the-mill lemon squares, but one bite in, and you sink into the mellower fullness of the lime flavor, enhanced ever so subtly by the ginger.

Now, I wasn't going to eat all of these cookies by myself, so I spent Saturday late afternoon packing up containers to share with other people. The Tech Gods deserved one, as did the lovely Phoenix. As I was planning to meet the incomparably sassy Spicyflower and her delightful beau at my favorite coffee house Sunday morning, of course I must pack plenty for them to share (or not share, since I made sure there were equal amounts for the two of them; a good thing, as they were both very pleased with both cookies). And let's not forget that those fine young gentlemen at my favorite coffee house (My Favorite Barista, The Bean Guy, and The Green Man) were also very deserving of treats yet again... though The Green Man, who opened on Sunday, declared that he might not actually share the lime-ginger squares with the others, he was so enamored of them.

It's good to be back in the baking groove. It's good to know I haven't lost my touch. It's good to get glowing compliments from appreciative fans.

Best of all, it's good to make other people happy with my baking.


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