I understand from my mother that her cookie jar is empty, and that she would like something home made, please, to have with her tea. She does not much care for cake, so the Dorset Apple Cake I just made is not really a contender. And though I am committed to using up all my windfall apples, I don't think an apple cookie (should there be such a thing) sounds like her sort of treat at all. So I've put the apples aside for the moment, to fix something more suitable to take her after work tomorrow. I haven't made this recipe before, but I though she might like it, since it is not too sweet or too damp.
As it turns out, these cookies are very nice. The orange flower water, pine nuts and glaze of chestnut honey, give them a mildly exotic, resiny flavor. The recipe I used comes from an old and out of print paperback Sunset Cookbook, called Country French Cooking , from 1981. My copy has an entirely detached front cover, due to having been much used. The recipes in this little number have proved surprisingly reliable over time. I picked these cookies because I had a few pine nuts and a little bit of chestnut honey I wanted to use up. It doesn't call for chestnut honey specifically; you can use any kind of honey you happen to have. I did think the bitter quality of the small amount of chestnut honey worked well. I certainly wouldn't buy it just for the little bit here, though; it cost the earth.
You need: 1/2 lb butter
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
3 egg yolks
1 tsp grated orange peel
1 tsp orange flour water (they say this is optional, but I'd get some. It's lovely and summery and makes your fruit salads taste Persian)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp honey, chestnut if you have it
Preheat oven to 325F, and prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each. Slip in peel, orangeflower water, and vanilla. Mix in flour until well blended.
For each cookie, roll about a tablespoon of the dough in to a ball. Then roll it into a 5" rope, bend it into a crescent shape, and set it on the sheet. Leave about 2" between the cookies. Press the pine nuts in randomly.
Warm the honey in a microwave, or in a small pan on a low heat. Brush the cookies carefully with the honey. Try not to get any on the pan, as it will burn. You may have to replace a few jostled pine nuts.
Bake 22 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a rack to cool.
I will take some of these in a package to my mother, and feed some to my friend Ilene with some fruit salad after she's had her dinner . It is also entirely possible that I will eat some myself. I've already had one, just to make sure they were alright. They are.