At work, I think of baking. Different cakes with wonderful names: Chiffon, Genoise, Dacquoise. They dance in my mind as the hours pass.
I like baking, even though I’m not particularity good at it. Too impatient to work one pastry to perfection, I jump from one recipe to another. From salted caramel brownies with amber pools of caramel to charred pizza dough, from eclairs that explode with cream when you bite into them to three layered rosemary steeped cakes.
When I bake, I never think of much. And if you’re anything like me, not thinking of much is a blessing. I am tired of consuming fears, of existential crises, of the passing of time. When I bake, time ceases to exist. There are simply actions: melt, mix, fold. Bake on 350f until a toothpick comes out clean. These stabilities ground me, so I bake.
I made a cake for a coworker a when he was missing home. It was a Tottenham Cake. The sponge fell flat and chewy, and the beautiful pink icing cracked. I felt shame presenting it to him.
He wolfed down the four squares I brought before saying a word. “It tastes just like home”, he finally said.
And when I think about that, I cry. We are small, and we are insignificant. But god, what power do we have.
- Instead of a cake, I now make this Tottenham Cake into a loaf. It slices beautifully and makes a great breakfast, or an afternoon snack.
- In order to cream the butter and sugar successfully, the butter MUST be in room temperature. Same goes for the eggs.
- Start creaming the butter only (no sugar), until light and fluffy, using the beater attachment (not whisk).
- Once fluffy, begin adding the sugar – making sure to stop every now and then to scrape the sides.
- When adding the eggs, add them one by one (seriously).
- Recipe adapted from here.
I have a confession: I have a small (totally under-control… right?), girl crush on molly yeh. I mean how can you not love her? she’s so pretty AND she lives on a farm you guys, a farm. How cool is that? the coolest. I’ve been craving soft sugar cookies for a long time. But I was worried of making them and getting dry, sad cookies. When I saw molly’s recipe – I just knew I had to make them. Those cookies do not look sad at all. They look like the happiest, prettiest sugar cookies ever.
This is my version of the recipe, I omitted the mahlab (didn’t have any, but it sounds delicious!), reduced the sugar, and upped the almond extract – because almond-anything is the best.
The original recipe also includes frosting, which works (I tried it), but I actually prefer these sugar cookies without it. It makes the cookies look super pretty, but doesn’t add much flavor to them, and with all my love to sugar – if it doesn’t add to the dish, I’d rather not have it. Let’s keep our excess sugar for hot cocoas and creme brulees.
You can see in the recipe I’m using a Buttery Sweet Dough emulsion. This thing elevates any baked goods from “nice” to “wow, can I have the recipe?”. Seriously, it’s that good. I use it in these sugar cookies, my strawberry bread, crepes, and so much more. I highly recommended getting one, it lasts forever and is so fun to bake with:
Lorann Oils Bakery Emulsions Natural and Artificial Flavor, 4-Ounce, Buttery Sweet Dough
One last idea: If you want to make these cookies as the perfect friend for tea, you might want to zest some lemon, add dried lavender, and some loose early grey leaves 😀