Tuesday, December 8, 2009

'Tis the Season

It has started, Christmas baking that is. I start in on it before I do any decorations, before any seasonal shopping in fact. To other people, the kitchen has an almost permanent aroma of spice, but then again I am totally engrossed in my projects and notice little else. A few years ago, I responded to a job posting for a retail tea outlet who wanted a recipe developer to create and supply a few kinds of cookies to them. I stepped up to bat, produced a few prototypes and the rest is history. I would get orders for hundreds at a time, stay up all night and deliver in the morning not looking so bright-eyed nor bushy-tailed. It was actually a great learning experience, forcing me to create systems for productivity while maintaining the artisan appeal of the cookies. I made lemon sencha shortbread, roibos biscotti and the perennial favorite - chai snaps. The latter are an addictive, crunchy cookie who's flavour stems from a mixture of freshly ground spices. Perfect for any excuse or occasion, I produce them year round. They are popular with my kids, their friends, their teachers, neighbours, friends and private clients who put in orders at this time of year for the very same reasons. I plan to do more baking, bûche de noël and macarons are very popular and I also like paneforte - the "strong bread" from Siena, Italy. The translated name does not sound too tempting however, the version I make has chocolate, honey, toasted nuts, dried fruit and spice and should only be consumed in wafer thin slices. So many things to bake, so little time, so - get cracking! My chai snaps, and photo by

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