Once upon a time, I didn’t like to cook or bake. I have always loved food, but my baking skills were non-existent and cooking went as far as chicken fried to stringy dryness in a pan mixed with pasta and topped with a ton of garlic. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I have a few friends who love to bake and who often told me how relaxing and cathartic they found it. Shout-out to Paula from Paula’s Plate, who made a few great dinners for me when we were at university together.
As much as I loved indulging in the spoils of their baking efforts, I couldn’t understand it. Baking seemed like too much work. Cooking anything that included more than a frying pan and a pot of boiling water was too complex. All that measuring and stirring…
Obviously, things have changed. Somewhere along the line – I’m not sure when it happened – I started to enjoy perusing through recipe books, testing out recipes, and making up my own. I’m woman enough to admit I was wrong and baking can indeed be a cathartic experience; an activity to help me unwind and de-stress with the added payoff of a tasty treat at the end.
Though I’m excited to be embarking on my new life in Angers, it is a stressful situation. And I needed something, after the hours I’ve spent walking around the city, to help me calm down and re-center my mind.
In a random notebook, I found a generic recipe for biscotti that I had jotted down and knew that this would be just the thing.
On Saturdays, just across the street from the Hôtel de Ville (town hall) is a massive open air market. I walked through it yesterday morning, looking at the produce, the lines of cheese producers, butchers, bakers, seafood stands and had a revelation: this is where all the strawberries, raspberries, and figs of Provence are going.
I had to scoop up a livre (500 grams) of strawberries. I couldn’t resist. These would be in my biscotti.
Along with pistachios and pistachio extract.
Church bells were ringing as I mixed the ingredients together. It was a sign and as the dough came together some of the stress that had been building faded away.
The scent of baking cookie permeated my small studio. Fresh, warm cookies are one of the most ultimate of comforting smells. I ate them for dessert with a handful of fresh strawberries on the side, relaxing in bed and feeling if not more confident, then a little calmer and comforted than before.
Do you have a comfort food you bake or cook when you need to relax?
- 30 g Butter
- 35 g Sugar
- 40 g Strawberries, washed, hulled, chopped
- 10 g Pistachios, unsalted, roughly chopped
- ½ flax seed egg*
- ½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
- ½ tsp Baking Powder Aluminum Free
- ½ tsp Pistachio Extract
- ⅛ tsp Salt
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the pistachios and strawberries and mix until incorporated. Then add the pistachio extract and egg and mix until well combined. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Or if you have a cold apartment, let it sit.
- On a lined cookie sheet make a small rectangle with your dough and bake for 15 minutes until the cookie has set and browned.
- Remove from oven, let cool. Then slice into eight even sections. Turn the sections on their side and bake again for another 5-7 minutes until crispy and cooked through.
- Let cool. Enjoy.