bereft of highlander: cookies can help with that, right?

I have reached the end of era. An era that actually ended over thirteen years ago, as boldly proclaimed by the VHS box sets that line one of the walls of my home. You guessed it – five or six years after beginning on this journey, I have finally finished the epic hit syndicated television show, Highlander: The Series.

I feel moderately sad about this. While the show had taken a turn for the uninspired after killing off not one, not two, but three integral characters (that would be Tessa, Charlie and Richie, in that order), I thought the 6th season was actually quite innovative, and as uplifting as a show about immortals with swords can be. Reading a bit into history, it seems that critics were unanimously against season 6. Not me, Duncan MacLeod. I’m with you to the end. Which we’ve now reached together. Sob.

To calm my fretted nerves and saddened soul at having lost a friend as dear as the “new” Highlander episode, I look at these cookies. All feels right with the world again.

I decided to take a page out of Brianne‘s book. Inspired by her recent post on improving photographic skills, I’ve been mixing it up a bit with my DSLR’s manual settings, and have changed my typical approach to taking photos. While the thrill of seeing how my pictures turn out died back when I stopped using film, and lost easy access to developing the negatives and processing the images myself (high school, I miss you for this one reason – that’s it), I’ve recently switched tactics and become excited about what I can create, knowing how to manipulate what I have. The result, you see here.

Without any more Highlander to watch, I’m floundering. Waxing poetic about the artistry of photography. Dreaming about cookies I finished up days ago. Listening to the sounds drifting through the window from the Bangor State Fair. Kids are screaming as they ride the Zipper (or so I imagine). Cling cling cling go the carnival games. Someone is howling cheesy 80s pop music into a microphone: nothing as classy as NKOTB, nor as eyebrow-raising as Steve Miller Band’s Abracadabra [check out the pure dreaminess at 0:46… and the strangeness of 2:28]; not as interesting as New Order, as embarrassing as Enya, or as loved by my mum (Tears for Fears, Simply Red). No, I don’t think the Bangor State Fair is worth my $10. I’m savin’ it up for the King of All Fairs. The big one. The one where I will eat my weight in food. The cultural icon, that Great Get-Together. The Minnesota State Fair, of course.

But more on those cookies I’m dreaming of.

I didn’t make these for sitting alone in my darkened home, watching Highlander with a pile of cookies in one hand and a box of Kleenex in the other. Please. I made these for this season’s final episode of The Bachelorette, obviously.

Cookie in one hand, kleenex in the other, there was a brief moment of tension as a storm knocked out all power on the block. Right as J.P. was choosing his engagement ring for Bachelorette Ashley, of all things. Luckily, we didn’t miss too much, and the lost time was spent on deciding whether or not to send hate mail to Ashley’s obviously celebrity-craved sister.

Cookies, right.

I adapted these from a Martha Stewart recipe (where else?), adding a small amount of almond flavoring to the creme filling that would normally contain vanilla. Why? Sadly, I am currently living in a vanilla-less home. Bereft of Highlander and vanilla.

This cookie dough is chilled, rolled thin, and cut with a biscuit cutter. It’s an easy recipe that tastes great, is easily portable, and looks more time-consuming than it is. My only regret, and I sort of almost kind of regret it, is telling my fellow Bachelorette-watching lady friends that the filling “Is pretty much half butter, half Crisco. And half powdered sugar.”

No need to reveal cringe-worthy secrets such as that.

 

I would be remiss to not mention my favorite cup, making its first worldly appearance in the surrounding photos. This mini mug matriculated into my cupboards after a pottery giveaway event in 2009. The lovely, wonderful maker of this mug also made sure to provide me with some cat-centric swag; ever since, my cat has looked into a bowl that stares back at her. I get the idea she likes that. Thank you, Janelle!

Chocolate Almond Creme Cookies {recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook}

Makes 1.5-2 dozen sandwich cookies

Cookies

++Ingredients:++

1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 + 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or scrapings from the bottom of a near-dry bottle)

++Directions:++

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper (or use a baking stone – everything’s golden); set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Beat butter and both sugars on medium sped until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla (or vanilla scrapings); beat to combine. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture, and beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and divide in half. With floured hands, shape each piece into a flattened rectangle, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. I flattened my dough to the near-desired thickness (thinness), and flash-froze it in around 15 minutes.

I rolled out my dough with the plastic wrap still covering the dough, then unpeeled a layer of plastic and cut my circles with a 2-inch biscuit cutter while the dough was still mostly frozen. This worked well, but the dough could be rolled out and then re-refrigerated if it warms up too quickly.

Using a wide metal spatula, transfer rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1½ inches apart. Gather together remaining scraps, reroll, and cut out more rounds – flash-freezing as needed. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes [I didn’t do this]. Repeat with the remaining rectangle of dough. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until the centers of the cookies feel firm when lightly pressed, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Creme Filling

++Ingredients:++

1 1/3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. vegetable shortening
1/3 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp. almond extract
Pinch of salt

++Directions:++

Using an offset spatula, spread 1 tbsp. desired filling onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down. Unfilled cookies can be kept at room temperature for up to 1 week. Once filled, cookies are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. As if.

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16 thoughts on “bereft of highlander: cookies can help with that, right?

  1. Whoa! I can’t believe I robbed you of Ian’s departing vanilla when you were in such dire baking needs. Rest assured that I will leave the Madasgascan gold within your oven gloves upon my departure. Had I known you were in town saying your farewells to Highlander, I would have surely called. For the time being, I’m making a late night Spanish tortilla. If you’re around tomorrow night, you should call as I have another Minnesotan friend in town for the evening (surprise)! For those who don’t know about the Minnesota state fair-Emma knows what she’s talking about.

    1. Martha: Hah, it’s okay, at least I didn’t put Grand Marnier into the filling – – I considered it, but I’ve subjected you to way too many GM-based treats.

      Late-night Spanish tortillas could go nicely with my endless pan of enchiladas! I think I’ve come 5/6 of the way through, so the end is in sight.

      Another Minnesotan friend in town…? Who could this be? Could it be a documentary on James J. Hill? Hüsker Dü? Rachael Leigh Cook? Jesse “The Mind” Ventura?

  2. Fascinating! I’ve never heard of Highlander, The Bachelorette isn’t available here, I’ve never made cream-filled cookies, and I don’t have a DSLR. Today, you are my opposite.

    What is psychic kitty up to?

    1. Psychic Cat is crying at me from a nearby distance, while sitting and staring. Now she is sharpening her already razor-sharp claws in my sofa. Now she is lovingly licking my arm.

      I don’t think you’re ready for real-time updates of this kitty, Hannah. For one, I’d have to configure my computer to record my voice, as I can’t keep up with her in writing.

      Now she is nudging my forehead. Now she is sitting on a pillow. And her gaze has fallen to a ticking clock.

      That’s just fine that we’re opposites today. Me and Martha are opposites nearly every day, and look how great that turned out for us:) By the way, it’s probably a good thing that The Bachelorette isn’t available in Australia. Not having it makes your country look a bit less trashy!

  3. These cookies look good!

    And I remember many good evenings with Duncan MacLeod… it has been a looong time ago!

    1. Silvia: Yusss, a fellow admirer of Duncan MacLeod! How glad was I that they brought Fitzcairn, Tessa, and Richie all back for the final episode!?!

      These cookies were great – I’m so glad I have half the dough secreted away in the freezer still!

    1. Well, miss julu, I don’t know if that would work with my sleep schedule. I would be more into the idea of a late-afternoon confectionery. That actually fits in quite nicely with my long-standing plan of opening “Emma’s Bakery, open after 2.” I don’t want to get up in the wee hours to bake, you see.

      Hence why I’ll never have a bakery. But a confectionery – – now we’re talking!

  4. Mmm, those cookies look good, not so sure about Highlander. I’m wedged between ridiculous disney shows and ubber cheesy sci-fi Battle Star Galactica. That leaves me with the middle ground. However I think I will run out and find season 5 of Dexter – your cookies would pair nicely.

    1. sarah, now now. By “not so sure about Highlander,” I know you really mean “I’m very sorry for your loss.” To which I respond: it’s okay for now, I watched Highlander: Endgame this morning, and it eased the blow. Thanks for your concern.

      :P

      I enjoy Battlestar! However, I haven’t yet made it through the first season, despite trying multiple times. One day, it will happen. My parents like Dexter, but I think I’d go for the ridiculous Disney shows instead. And just how do these cookies pair nicely with Miami, or bloodstains, or serial killers?!? :) Just kidding. Enjoy!

  5. Those cookies look delicious. I’ve always been hesitant to try sandwich cookies for fear of the mess that may ensue upon their storage and/or consumption.

    I’ve been struggling so much with my photography that I haven’t been able to post to my blog in two weeks! That’s pretty bad, but what can you do?

    I have never been to the Minnesota State Fair, and I’m quite embarrassed about that. Someday!

    1. Brianne: I’m really curious to know what’s giving you the most trouble, photo-wise. I feel like a mother hen; I want to see your progress, and know what’s bothering you about your camera. Pretty silly of me;)

      I hadn’t made sandwich cookies either. I had two hours to make something, and I just decided to go for it. The time constraint was why I froze the dough, but it worked great. Cutting the dough while still mostly frozen worked well also, especially given how thin the cookies were. As long as you let these cool completely before working with them, they won’t break on you. Patience, grasshopper.

      I am so so so so so so excited for the fair! Endless cotton candy, here I come!

  6. There you go revealing secrets about the final episode…and I am so behind on watching it! Oh, well, I’m sure that by the time I get around to that, I will not remember what ever it was that you said…hmmmmmmm, old age creeping….
    I do remember that you have waxed on about eating at the State Fair…I also remember:(cue the music)…”Our State Fair is a great State Fair, don’t miss it, don’t even be late(bumbumbumbum)–It’s dollars to donuts that our State Fair is the best State Fair in our
    state!!”(oh, really?) Silly ad from the past…do you think that you will need the coupon book for food?

    1. Mum: Revealing secrets?! Hah, remember how this show ended over thirteen years ago? I’m sorry that I don’t have Season 6 on VHS, or I could bring five large boxes of VHS tapes back for you to watch!

      Watch out for that old age creeping, I hear it makes you break out into lengthy renditions of State Fair songs at random:) I like how all music that you sing (or type) has a good bumbumbumbum drumbeat, hehe:D

      I don’t know if I have ever used the food book – I’ve never had diversified enough interests to make it useful. I remember I did get a cheap grilled cheese with a coupon once. Does it cost money? If not, shoo-a shoo-a!

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