Well, enough of this little dream-journal confessional. Let’s talk about cookies! We bought a bunch of adorable tiny bananas, thinking that the boys would like them. They rarely ever finish a regular-sized banana, so this seemed like a good solution. Sadly, the tiny bananas were greeted with indifference. So we had quite a few rapidly ripening bananas to dispose of. I wanted to make something different from banana bread or banana cake, for a change, and I had the idea of combining the bananas with almonds, sugar and eggs, to make a banana frangipane. Fun to say, and good to eat!! I also wanted to remake the coconut shortbread layer of the cherry chocolate cookies I’d made the other week, because I had a nagging doubt that I’d gotten a measurement wrong. So we have a layer of shortbread, a layer of good blueberry preserves, (I used bonne maman, ironically!) and a layer of banana frangipane. It turned out nice! Soft, flavorful, but not too strongly banana-y – more of a haunting fruity sweetness that goes beautifully with the almond flavor. The cookies are like a newton, maybe, in texture. Newtonian. But without the seediness.
Here’s Tom Waits with Innocent When You Dream.
These cookies were very easy to make, and they seem quite fancy, cause of the chocolate and cherry combination, which always tastes like a celebration. Basically, they’re a coconut shortbread covered with a thin layer of cherry preserves, and topped with a chocolate ganache. Like a version of millionaire’s shortbread, I guess! I put a bit of sherry into the shortbread to make them taste extra Christmassy.
I know I’ve been posting a lot of Jimmy Smith, lately, but he’s just killing me! His songs are so warm, and pleasing, but completely unexpected in parts, till he brings it all home again. Here’s We Three Kings. I love how grand and big band-y it is, before it breaks into this ridiculously joyous and swinging tune.
Malcolm likes fruity candy. Many days he asks for a dollar to go buy some fruity candy at the store down the block. But as nice as it seems for him to come home from a long day of school, when it’s cold and wet outside, and buy a box of candy, and cuddle on the couch with the puppy and watch a movie – nice as that seems, I can’t let him do it every day! So I bought him some dried tart cherries. They’re very nice! Chewy, fruity, lovely and sweet/tart. He ate half the bag, and then I put the rest in these bars, along with some apples and some chocolate chips. I added ground walnuts to the batter for a change of pace, and they made the bars lovely and dense, with a mysterious walnut flavor. I made these like brownies, which is a fairly lazy and easy way to make something. Melt some stuff in a pot, stir some other stuff in, and spread it in a pan. And that’s that!!
What? Cherries and chocolate and coconut and nuts? And oats? Is this possible? Indeed it is, and its delicious, too. My boys like granola bars, and believe that they’re a healthy snack. I believe that granola bars are just cookies disguised as a healthy snack. And they remind me of the English version of flapjacks, which I love a lot. I have no problem with my boys eating cookies, or other sweet snacks, but if they’re going to eat something unhealthy, I’m going to make it for them myself, dammit! For some reason I feel better knowing that they’re getting actual butter and sugar rather than processed blizz blazz. It might seem silly, but there it is! Plus these have oats and nuts and fruit, so there’s some good with the bad. Obviously, you can throw anything you like in there! Don’t not make them because you don’t have all of these specific ingredients! I had fewer chocolate chips than I thought, so I threw some mini M&Ms left over from Isaac’s birthday into the mix.
I think of oats and chocolate as being ultimately comforting. And I’ve always wanted to make a playlist of empathetic songs. Songs like the magnificent It Hurts Me Too, by Elmore James. So I’ve compiled such a list, and I love it, so far. Some of the songs might be more sympathetic than empathetic – it’s a fairly liquid shift from one to the other, isn’t it? But they’re all supportive and comforting. Can you think of any songs to add to the list?