Feb 11 2013
Baking to Focus
I'm selective about the recipes I share on this site. They're not meant to be an accurate reflection of everything Justin and I cook in this house, but rather a way to show what's inspired me lately, whether this inspiration stems from a specific ingredient or a life event related to a certain recipe.
Clicking through the past five recipes I've posted, my winter inspiration seems readily apparent: comfort food made with a purpose. Lately, I've found great comfort in baking. In the winter, I enjoy baking for more than the final – hopefully memorable – result. After hours of sitting at a desk or transitioning from activity to activity, I use baking as a way to center and calm myself.
A few mornings ago, I woke up feeling jumbled and found myself unable to direct my energy fruitfully. I spent 10 minutes making lists of what I wanted to accomplish, and then another 10 minutes moving things around on that list. I had a feeling that an entire morning was about to disappear, lost in the haze of obsessive list-making. I put an end to this procrastination by opening up one of my favorite baking cookbooks, the Nordic Bakery Cookbook. I paged through until I found a way to direct my flitting thoughts into something productive.
For several reasons, these jam sandwich cookies proved to be the antidote to my untamed energy. For one, I didn't have to leave the house to shop for extra ingredients: after deciding to bake these cookies, I gathered everything I needed in two minutes, including a jar of my favorite strawberry jam that I preserved this summer. What's more, the cookies were ready to be eaten a mere 30 minutes after my initial decision to bake them.
Once the cookies were out of the oven and thickly spread with the strawberry jam, I carried a few cookies back to the table with me, finally feeling centered enough to focus on the day's tasks. Sometimes the key to (my) productivity is a half-hour baking break, punctuated by a sweet reward.
Spoon Biscuits with Strawberry JamRecipe Adapted from Nordic Bakery Cookbook
- 200 grams unsalted butter
- 130 grams caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 220 grams all-purpose flour
- Jam of Choice (any berry jam works well here)
- 1 teaspoon icing sugar (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan or double boiler over low heat, then bring to a boil gently, stirring with a spoon. Remove from the heat when the butter foams and let it settle before pouring it into a mixing bowl.
- Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.
- In another bowl, mix together the baking powder and flour. Gently tip this mixture into the butter mixture, and mix well until combined.
- Put 1 teaspoon of dough onto a prepared baking sheet (lined with parchment paper). Use a second teaspoon to help you form a neat round. Leave some space between each round, as they spread when they bake.
- Bake the biscuits in the oven for 10-14 minutes, until just turning golden.
- Leave to cool a little, before transferring the biscuits to a wire rack to cool. Spoon a tablespoon of jam onto the flat side of a biscuit and sandwich with another biscuit. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Enjoy!