Several years ago I was at an event for students and the host had planned an ice breaker. I was just standing around, making sure everything was going okay when someone handed me a small pencil and a sticky note. I heard the host say “write down your Epitaph – write down how you would like to be remembered at the end of your life.” Wow, kinda morbid, was my first thought, especially since the event was for a bunch of college students who all had bright futures. Then I looked at my sticky note and I knew exactly what to write.
“The quintessential author of books on pastry and vegetarian cooking.”
There. That was it. I did not have to think about it, or edit it or second guess it. I knew. I suddenly had a great appreciation for this ice breaker. In fact, I thought it was one of the best games I had ever played. That sticky note is still pinned up just behind my computer at work (where I do not currently write cookbooks.) I think at the time I had just started working on Baking Pure and Simple, my first cookbook which will be ready for publication sometime in the next two weeks. I has taken 4 years, or 34 years, however you want to look at it, to write this book. Yesterday I saw the final proof from the on-line publisher and by next week I will hold a proof in my hands.
So, I guess this is not what you were expecting when you came to read my baking blog today, but it is what you get. Baking inspires me, it is the gift I have to give to the rest of the world. What inspires you? Who are you? At the end of your life how will you be remembered? Whether or not I actually become the quintessential author of books on pastry and vegetarian cooking doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am going for it.
So, now, just so you won’t be disappointed I am also going to give you a recipe. I love these simple Cinnamon Stars. They are in the lower front corner of the photo, next to the Lemon Bars with Coconut Crust (patience… patience….)
Most of the members of the Holiday Cookie Marathon are in this photo. From the Cinnamon Stars moving clockwise we have: Honey Almond Shortbreads, Cornflake Wreaths, Ginger Molasses Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Viennese Cookies, Rum Balls, Basler Brunsi, Orange Almond Macaroons, Lemon Bars with Coconut Crust and Thumbprint Cookies in the center. I will keep the holiday cookie recipes coming over the next few weeks.
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, then milk and combine. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix until just combined. Chill for 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out approximately 3⁄8-inch thickness. Cut with star shaped cookie cutters. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.