On certain lousy days, there are two very specific things I like to do. Make a huge mug of coffee and laugh with FRIENDS back to back or put on an apron and surrender myself to flour. As I sift, mix and blend flavors, I build up this expectation that when the hot oven starts spreading the fresh baking aroma, it would change the crappy-me to happy-me. The kitchen is definitely a mess by then, but the effort works most of the time, unless of course what comes out of the oven looks worse than my state of mind. In that case, I switch off the light, don’t bother to clean up for the moment and go back to watching two more episodes of FRIENDS and call it a day.
Thankfully, a good baking day arrives more often than awful days and luckily; baking to me is not only therapeutic but also entertaining.
I have had several baking disasters in the past and most of the times it would be while baking cookies. I haven’t burnt cookies yet but very often, the end result would turn out to be hard as a rock that could knock someone down with one straight hit. Not that I have tried, but I am pretty sure it might do that. And every time that happened, I would be disappointed thinking about the wastage of food and energy. Looking at a brighter side, there was learning at every step and eventually my techniques improved. These days, we relish more and fear less of our teeth getting chipped.
Shortbread biscuits, butter cookies or butter biscuits as I like to call them, are filled with fresh rosemary and fennel seeds, a flavor composition that worked wonderfully. These are not the kind of biscuits that you dip in soup, but a mix of sweet and savory that goes perfect with tea or coffee. The fennel seeds added a sweet aroma and the pungent rosemary avoided the cookies from getting overly sweet. It was crumbly and melted in our mouths.
I played my favorite guessing game with Arvind after he ate the first one. He goes “fennel plus that herb” and even before I could ask him which one, he took out a couple marshmallows, toasted it on the stovetop using a fork and made a sandwich with the biscuits.
Huh! That was fun. I guess good butter biscuits always help the child inside us wake up and play around. Later at night, we sat with more of these biscuits and a huge mug of hot chocolate. Successful baking and delightful treat, it was a beautiful day!