When Adam and I have a day off together and the weather is clear, you’ll find us strolling Portland’s streets, exploring the neighborhoods and simply moseying the day away. On last weeks walk, unusually warm weather and a super bright sun led us to find some cooling tree cover in one of Portland’s oldest cemetery, Lone Pine Cemetery. Cemeteries truly are interesting places. Considering that there are hundreds of bones beneath your feet, and you are literally surrounded by death, there is a surprising bustle of life on the surface. Aside from the oldest known grave in Portland, Emmor Stephens who died in 1846, Lone Pine boasts a rose garden, an asylum, and trees as far as the eye can see. Everywhere we turned there were squirrels burying their winter nuts in the graves. Joggers, ancestry hunters, and yes, bridal portraits, the cemetery was alive with activity. I love irony.
I was more interested in leaves that day for some reason rather than headstones, but I’m intrigued by Lone Pine and think I’ll soon head over there for a little photographic exploration.
As usual, all roads eventually lead us to Powell’s for some book perusing and then to Bridgeport Ale House, it’s right across the street after all, for a happy-hour pint and a bite. The warm weather and long walk warranted a pint of Blue Heron, don’t you think?
We have a possibly unnatural love of cookies in our house. Despite my (general) dislike of desserts, cookies tend to be a weakness passion of mine (especially chocolate chip). Many of my childhood memories involve cookies. We had a drawer full of plastic cookie cutters in every holiday shape, and we’d find Mom rolling out Valentine’s Day hearts or Halloween cats on the kitchen counter and, on occasion, she’d let us decorate the cookies. The kitchen was her domain, after all.
A recipe in the current issue of Sunset Magazine inspired these thumbprint cookies. It was one of their clever ways of recycling Thanksgiving Day leftovers involving day-old cranberry sauce. I had a few baking apples rolling around and I thought I’d give these cookies a shot, with a twist, of course. I picked up some vanilla salt at Whole Foods and, itching to use it, I sprinkled a bit of it on the cookies before placing them in the oven. Truth be told, my sprinkling was a tiny bit heavy-handed on a few cookies making them more, shall we say, biscuit-like than cookie, but over all they turned out to be tasty little bite-sized apple pie (ish) treats. And Adam gobbled them up with almost as much enthusiasm as he did with my Ginger-licious cookies.
Ok, I did too.
I also want to send out a HUGE thank you to Food Press for not only featuring two of my images as Favorites, but for also choosing me as a Featured Blogger. Do check out their new site. Loads of food and blogging fun!
What you’ll need:
3 Cups diced apples
1 cup butter
1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups spelt or all-purpose flour
Splash of almond milk, or other milk, or water
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
Fig jam, optional
Vanilla salt, optional
Preheat your oven to 350
In a stand mixer or food processor beat butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour, cinnamon and salt. Blend. Add almond milk as needed to maintain a smooth batter.
Stir in roasted hazelnuts.
Using your hands, roll dough into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls and place about an inch apart on parchment lined or greased baking sheet. Press a well into the center of the ball with your thumb. Spoon enough apple mixture to fill well. Top with a dollop of Fig jam and/or sprinkle with vanilla salt.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until cookies are a lovely shade of golden brown.