A trusted authority once assured me that Christmas Eve is for Cookies. If we extend the Christmas Eve framework to encompass the month of December (and as everyone knows, we do), then yesterday was a true expression of the dream (everything is awesome).
EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!! (sorry, finally watched the LEGO Movie last night and even though it's a giant commercial, it is pretty good, and that song is insidious in the highest degree)
And also, why not? And also, some really great people came over to make them with me. The cookie team assembled at 10:30 AM, and by 4:30 PM we were...almost done. If you're tired of me being so frantically cheery, here's where you get your kicks, because we definitely hit cookie burn-out before stuffing all the cute little bags, and if I had to cover myself in relentless holiday cheer on the regular I would be Not Happy. I do love most of the trapping of Christmas, but like any oversold quantity, it's easy to get overloaded, especially the day after the dreaded SantaCon*.
Still, with all that, cookies are wonderful and so is spending time with wonderful people and listening to music I haven't heard in ten years, and so we baked all day. What did we make, oh lucky landlords and co-workers of the world? Biscotti, gingerbread, bergamot caramels, and the glamorous sandwich cookie known in Rose-land as The Ischler. I like a cookie with a title--it has a bit more weight than just 'oatmeal raisin' or 'brandy snap.' You know right off the bat that this cookie is an institution with the full weight of the treasury behind it.
It's also a very classic Rose Levy Beranbaum cookie, with the flavors of Eastern Europe hard by (the original inspiration is Hungarian, I believe). A buttery almond cookie, sandwiched with a layer of thick ganache and a layer of apricot levkar (I used some thick preserves). I had made these before as part of the Beta Testing for this book, and they were a pleasure and a joy both times. The dough is a little sticky but not to the point of absurdity, and the flavor combination is up my street as well (would you ever guess that I too am an Ashkenazi wonder, Rose?). Also, they just look so pretty and stick so well.
I like these big people a lot too. So much. I can't give out the recipe for The Ischler (shhh, it's here), but here's the recipe for the biscotti, courtesy of Nicola, A, and Eileen, one of the best bakers I know. It's possible I've posted these before, but they bear repeating. They are a treasure, people. Make them now.