MY COOKBOOK

MY COOKBOOK
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23.1.18

CLASSIC ALMOND CRESCENTS - KLASSZIKUS MANDULÁS KIFLI

One more couldn’t hurt, I thought, even if it adds to the confusion of nutty crescent cookies. Dip them in chocolate or roll them in icing sugar or eat them with green grapes out of season. Oh yum!

Olgi néni, bless her heart, would buy a few clusters of green grapes in the fall and she hung them up in her tiny pantry. I kept checking on the grapes' progress and then sometimes in January she would take a shriveled grape cluster down and drop it in boiling water and voilà we were eating grapes in January!

There is a version of this recipe without the egg yolks in a small recipe booklet titled Bogrács és Kukta. Well let me tell you it was a pain to make. It seems the egg yolks are vital for binding together the ingredients. Otherwise the same recipe is repeated all over the place with almonds or walnuts with egg yolks and without. It begins with 28 dkg liszt or flour… For every “classic” recipe there are endless repeats and variations with a slew of claims, sometimes without claim of ownership. I wonder if ever a recipe can be branded fake, like fake news… To be honest my version is not much different from other crescent nut recipes, bar one failed attempt [without the yolks] and for the proverbial translation from weight to volume.

I am ever nostalgic toward my measuring cup, the simplifier of all things in the kitchen. I never pretended to be a chef nor was I inclined to feeding the multitudes, save for catering a couple of weddings I got lambasted into. And even though I hear it is more precise to measure in grams than with volume, the kitchen is not the place for chemical engineering. Why can't one be precise with the measuring cup? Scales are not known for precision, particularly in tiny increments. To sell anything by weight, the law requires the use of licensed scales. Those little home scales are hardly more precise than my measuring cup.  I have been approached by well meaning readers more than once that in order to stay current, I should switch to grams. One lady went as far as "I want you to rewrite all your recipes in grams" Haha, you mean all eleven hundred? Well... I never forgot what it was like starting out with meager cooking implements and looking for something, anything in my Hungarian cookbook not requiring a scale. So there is that. Despite the fact Canada is metric, the British way of measuring is so ingrained in cooking culture that the measuring cup is not going go anywhere. It also fits in with minimalist living, reducing clutter, honest and simple things. Someone told me to get a rice cooker, it makes such nice rice. Why? I make great rice in a pot. Twenty years ago everyone had to have a bread machine. Then came the no kneed bread. Nowadays it's the rustic artisan bread. The dough makes a bloody mess, it won't last either. You see... I am not into trailing the trends. Oh I understand that the metric system is essential for scientific measurements. But in the kitchen?... Would it not make more sense to use the simplest and the least expensive application instead? I don't think switching to grams is a sign of sophistication. So I will  stick to the measuring cup and haute cuisine, kale, silpat, and fat free... can be damned! 


Classic Almond Crescents

1 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp pure almond extract
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1 cup ground almonds

  • Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the extract and the egg yolks.
  • Beat to incorporate.
  • Gradually add the flour and the ground almonds.
  • Transfer to a flat surface and knead by hand until soft and pliable.
  • Take roughly a tablespoon of and lightly roll it tapered at the ends.
  • Bend the roll into a crescent shape.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 14 minutes or until the ends begin to lightly brown.
  • Cool on racks.

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!