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.
The last time I had Amaretti cookies was about 5 years ago. I walked in to a local Italian bakery, and was all giggly and excited for the selection of cookies. “I’m going to have this one, and two of those ones, and 3 of the amaretti plz!!”. Because somehow in the back of my mind, it registered that amaretti = almonds, almonds = marzipan, and marzipan = 💖, obviously. Will I ever get over my marzipan obsession??
Anyway, the lady smiled and nodded, and after a few seconds of calculation handed me a nice brown paper bag and said “that will be $21”.
If it was any other person, I’m sure they would’ve paid and left with their dignity intact. Not me though. I handed her the nice brown paper bag back and asked for a single amaretti cookie. Don’t know about you guys, but I cannot allow myself to spend $21 on 6 cookies. Like, seriously, what are you making them with? gold?!
So, I left the store with a single cookie (she didn’t give me a paper bag for that one), and never came back. The cookie was delicious, and I’ve been dreaming of finding a sensible substitution ever since. That, I mean, until I found this recipe. Because it’s every bit as good, and much less expensive.
Recipe: Amaretti Cookies
Chewy Amaretti Cookies by Kitchen Sanctuary