Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Clove Cookies

Do you ever base your next meal on the clearance items at the grocery store?

Now, before you get images of green bacon or fruit fly-infested peaches, come back to me and think of something spice-y. I found this on the end of an aisle at our neighborhood grocery store:
It retailed for $7, and my cheap self got it for $1. And they're cloves...the smell of Christmas filled our house five months ago, and I miss it!

A little background on cloves...
Cloves are derived from Syzygium aromaticum, the hand-picked and dried buds from the Myrtle family of pink and red flowering trees. The plant is cultivated in Madagascar, Tanzania and Brazil, among other places. (Oh, to be a little clove on the beach...) Clove oil is used to treat toothaches, and clove buds are said to be great moth repellents. The word clove is derived from "clou," the French word for nail. Parents on the Molucca Islands, where cloves were first grown, planted a clove tree every time a new child was born. It is said that this spice was Aphrodite's, the goddess of love's, favorite scent for defining sensuality. The plant and spice are tracked as top-selling spices in Europe all the way back to the eighth century. Even our ketchup and Worcestershire sauce would not taste the same without the clove's contribution. This spice has so much history! (from the Journal of Food & Nutrition)

So, clove cookies sounded like a good idea...
And they were, sorta. I used brown rice flour for the first time. If you hold a pinch of the flour in your hand, it is soft, finely textured, and seems a lot like pastry flour. Perfect for cookies, right?

Wrong! It could've been me, that's for sure, but the baked texture of this cookie was way too gritty for my liking. I think this flour should be used for crusts...yes, it would've been a perfect base for a pizza crust. But this recipe was still really good! I'd just make it this way...the better way...

Clove Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, wheat pastry flour, etc.)
1 t. organic ground cloves
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. baking soda
Dash of salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 "egg" (flax egg worked well)
2 TB brown sugar 
1 TB agave nectar (optional, for extra sweetness)
2 TB agave nectar or honey (for topping at the end)
In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to dry. Blend together until completely moistened; dough will be sticky, but shouldn't fall apart.

On a flat surface, roll dough out into a rectangle 1/8--1/4 inch thick, rolling between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper to prevent sticking. Remove top sheet of paper. Carefully slice cookies into two-inch squares or shapes with small/medium cookie cutters.

Bake at 350 for 9 minutes. Cookies will rise slightly and give a bit at the touch. While cookies are out of the oven and still warm, top with a bit of honey or agave nectar. Serve with a cup of tea or vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Christmas smells on a warm, rainy, humid May day...ahh, the comfort. As you enjoy these treats, reflect on the great blessings in your life and think of ways that you can help your neighbors who might need a friend today. The tornado-stricken places are certainly on my mind right now. We could all use a little cookie, some warm tea, and the little comforts of home. Happy night.



No comments:

Post a Comment