1) This post is dedicated to my dad, who toiled away at this video with me for the better part of the day on Saturday. Believe it or not, I shot the frames for this video in June but was met with many a Photoshop obstacle (considering the fact that I was trying to edit 450 photos into one stop-motion video, I should have seen this coming).
2) Not to make that overused, cliché statement about this year flying by, but in all honesty–these past few months have dragged and sped past all at once. I’ve had an ever-growing to-do list full of tasks from every possible facet of my life, and in trying to keep up I’ve been bad about sitting down to reflect and collect my thoughts. Ironic, considering the fact that it is that process of crashing on the couch, opening up WordPress, and spilling my mind onto the page that can help to calm me in such a hectic time as this.
That notion of reflection may have been my favorite thing about writing the so often-dreaded personal statement; that is, the college essay in which the only task is to somehow convey some aspect of yourself, of your story, in 650 words or less. And while that writing process was, for me, filled with scrapped drafts, last-minute meetings with my college counselor, and juuust a little bit of frustration, it was ultimately a time for self-reflection. And in that, I’m undoubtedly glad to have undergone the process. Thinking up things that are important to me came easily–I’m lucky enough to get the chance to explore realms that I’m interested in and passionate about, and I was quickly able to sort out what it was I wanted to highlight in my essay. But it was the why–why I am passionate about the things that I do, and how I got there–that proved to be the true challenge in all this. Because in such a fast-paced environment as high school in the city, I often get so caught up in the doing that I lose track of the reasons behind my actions and choices. And so I came to appreciate this one task that not only encouraged a bit of self-reflection, but required it.
Once I finished my statement, the doing picked up again. But I’m making a mental note, as I sit here and let my thoughts pour out onto my keyboard, to remember how much of a release I get from this process of reflection through writing. And, in keeping with that, I hope to use this blog as my outlet more often as the year progresses; because as much as I can give excuses of looming deadlines and term papers, my love of this blog, of baking and photography and writing, and of sharing all of that with you (whoever you are), is too important to me to forget about.
I’m especially excited to share these with you. I’ve been on an almondy marzipany kick for a while now, and I wanted to put those flavors that I love into something that wasn’t a multi-layer cake or a cookie that requires filling and rolling and perfectly cut circles. Instead, I paired almond with cardamom and strawberry jam in these thumbprint cookies. The result is simple in form and complex in flavor, satisfying any craving for those almond notes.
Before we jump into the recipe, I wanted to share a few other things I’ve been loving since we last spoke:
- Podcasts! Spilled Milk and Radio Cherry Bombe are my two favorite food-centric ones right now–the former has me laughing out loud on my way to the subway in the morning, and the latter fascinates and inspires me with stories from some of my favorite women in food.
- Books! I’m reading Americanah now and am loving it. Cookbook-wise, I’m getting ready to start up my fall pie-baking game again with the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, and I just picked up the Cherry Bombe Cookbook this past weekend.
- Food and drink! I’ve been eating my weight in delicata squash (sliced and roasted until it’s caramelized and crisp) while the season is still going strong, and I’ve been drinking chai tea like a maniac.
Almond Cardamom Thumbprint Cookies
adapted from Food52
Makes about 3 dozen small cookies
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and finely chopped
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Strawberry jam or preserves, for filling
- Line two baking sheets with parchment.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for three minutes or until very pale.
- Add the egg and salt and beat until combined.
- Beat in the cardamom, almond extract, vanilla, and almonds, then stir in the flour and almond meal until just combined. Chill for 15 minutes.
- Use a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon to scoop the dough. Roll each piece with your hands, then use your thumb to make an indent. Space the cookies an inch apart on the prepared baking sheets and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, use your finger or a small spoon to deepen the indent, then fill with a small scoop of jam. Bake another 8 minutes, or until the cookies are beginning to brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Maureen flemingNovember 14, 2017 at 7:40 am
Loved this post. My oldest was also going through the college process too. I think this weekend we may make the cookies. Love ❤️ your posts and sharing of wonderful recipes. Happy holidays to you!
AlainaNovember 14, 2017 at 11:03 am
Thank you so much for the kind comment! If you do make the cookies let me know how they turn out. Happy holidays to you too 🙂
AnnNovember 14, 2017 at 8:17 am
I look forward to your writing as much as the actual recipes that you post-the combination is wonderful
AlainaNovember 14, 2017 at 11:03 am
Thank you so much 🙂
AnnNovember 15, 2017 at 10:08 pm
Congratulations on another great recipe, Alaina, and on the self-reflection process of finding your passions and interests (which I think started in kindergarten!).