Tuesday, January 20, 2009
We've had a bottle of fine aged sherry waiting for an occasion to match its complexity. We'll pour that wine at noon today when Barack Obama takes the oath of office. I wanted a slightly sweet nibble to serve with the wine and I've found an ideal counterpart in these small hazelnut cookies. They are simple to make and perfect for special occasions. There are few occasions more special than the one occurring today. It begins with great optimism and expectations of a sunrise that will lead America and its citizens to a new, more burnished, glory. I pray for the man, for us and the country we love so much. We are a people of hope, reconciliation and resilience who share an unquenchable belief in possibility. That is the blessing we pass to our children. Theirs will be a world that is limited only by a failure to imagine what is possible. They will come of age in a country where a revolution in the hearts of men overcame xenophobia and moved us, as a nation, one step closer to the "perfect union" of our Constitution. Not a bad gift, that. This morning, at 11:50 EST, a group of us, now grown old, will symbolically link hands and once again sing "We Shall Overcome." It's in my playlist if you'd like to join us.
1 cup chopped toasted and skinned hazelnuts
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
4 large egg whites
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to fit 2 baking sheets with overhang on either end.
2) Place hazelnuts, confectioners' sugar and cinnamon in a heavy bottomed (2-quart) saucepan. Set aside.
3) Place egg whites in bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into nut mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is golden brown and pulls away from sides of pan, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
4) Use two teaspoons to form mounds of dough about 1-1/2 to 2-inches in diameter on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Lift parchment sheets and cookies to cooling racks. When cool, remove cookies from paper and store, tightly covered, until ready to serve. Yield: 20 cookies.