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Monday, April 6, 2009

Irish Caraway Crisps



Years ago Bob and I trekked to northern Canada in search of the Aurora Borealis. The solar flares that initiated our journey stopped as soon as we reached the border. Undeterred, we continued on, sure in our belief that they'd resume in a day or two. Needless to say our quest was unsuccessful. I can, however, report we had an awfully good time getting there - there being an Alaskan border town that wasn't even on the map. It was a wonderful adventure. Later, I recounted the trip with an Irish colleague who thought I was completely daft. As a child she was able to see the Northern Lights from her front stoop. That anyone would spend three weeks in the wilderness in search of something so ordinary truly baffled her. Bridie was a homemaker and far more domestic than I was at the time. She was very feminine - you'd never catch her in boots, a tent or an outhouse, but you could count on her to bring cakes and cookies for the staff to enjoy with coffee or tea. The caraway crisps were one of her favorites. I recently inherited a dog-eared copy of Maida Heatter's first cookbook and it contains a cookie very similar to Bridie's crisps. These cookies are not too sweet, wonderful with tea and very easy to make. If you're looking for something a bit different to satisfy your sweet tooth without causing sugar shock you might want to give these a try.

Irish Caraway Crisps

Ingredients:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ( 1 4-oz. stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a small bowl. Set aside.
3) Place butter in bowl of an electric stand mixture and beat until soft enough to mix with sugar. Add sugar and beat well. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Gradually add dry ingredients; mix well.
4) Turn mixture onto a lightly floured work surface. Add caraway seeds and knead just until incorporated.
5) Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Place in freezer for 15 minutes. Transfer to refrigerator and let chill for 1 hour, or until mixture is firm enough to roll.
6) Lightly flour a work surface. Working with 1/3 of dough at a time, roll dough to 1/16 or 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a 3-inch round cookie cutter; use a thin spatula to transfer cookies to an ungreased cookie sheet spacing them 1/2-inch apart. Scraps can be rerolled and cut.
7) Bake 13 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are lightly brown all over. Rotate pans in oven. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Store airtight. Yield: 30 to 36 cookies.

Recipe courtesy of Maida Heatter.

28 comments :

Martha said...

These look good and yes, the caraway would be good with coffee.

Have you noticed how many European "sweets" have a licorice flavor? And how well that flavor goes with coffee?

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

What a marvelous cookbook you've inherited. Since I'm a great fan of caraway, I know I'd enjoy these.
I'd have trooped all over to catch the Aurora Borealis too :)

Through My Kitchen Window said...

Hello Mary. I just discovered your blog and I love it! Your vegan chocolate cake looks so moist and it really caught my eye. I'm new to the blogging world and am trying to build a network of friends. I'm glad I happened upon your site and I hope we become friends.

Through My Kitchen Window said...

Hello Mary. I'm new to the blogging world and I am looking to build a network of foodie friends. I am very glad to have stumbled upon your blog as it is warm, cosy and wonderful. I really liked your vegan chocolate cake. So moist. There is so much to check out!
I hope you drop in and say hi because I am definitely on board.

Susan said...

Mary, these are so wonderfully different!!

Cathy said...

Sounds like you and Bob had a wonderful adventure even though you didn't see the Northern Lights.

I don't have an overactive sweet tooth so these cookies sound perfect.

Penny said...

Mary, How much sugar goes in these cookies? They look delish! Just my cup of tea.

Netts Nook said...

Love the caraway. Are you a profession photographer if not your pictures sure look like you are. Can't wait to try.

Pam said...

I love your stories - I think your adventure sounds fun! It's too bad you didn't see the lights.

I love caraway crisps - they look so thin and crisp.

Mary said...

Good morning to all. Penny, I've added the sugar to the crisp recipe. Thanks for catching that. A hearty welcome to Through My Kitchen Window a new blogger who adds a beautiful new voice to our world.

Mary said...

Lynette, no professional photographers here. Just a husband who tries very hard to see my vision.

Bridgett said...

These would be perfect with my cup of tea this morning. I love the flavor of caraway. What a great treat this would be.

noble pig said...

I never thought of caraway with coffee...now I will.

These look like nice and enjoyable.

Karen said...

I have always wanted the experience of seeing the Northern Lights. People tell me we can see them from here (40 miles S of Canada border in Montana) and this summer I'm going to make an effort to see them - even if we need to head North for a bit and camp out!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Caraway seeds are so under used. These look perect and would be wonderful with coffee, tea or cocktails.

Mary said...

Karen, call the astronomy department of your university to see when would be the best time to make the attempt to see them. We've tried 3 times and it still hasn't worked out.

Katherine, I'm so glad you stopped by again. We always love to have you here.

Apples and Butter said...

These look lovely and very proper. It sounds like they were very fitting of your friend! I don't own any of Maida Heatter's cookbooks, but have considered getting her book on chocolate many times. Thanks for the reminder!

Natashya said...

I have just discovered how good caraway can be in a sweet application. The crisps look so tasty, they would be awesome with a nice cup of herbal tea. Puppies and I like to have tea time about 4pm every day. And throw squeaky toys, of course.

Zita said...

Caraway crisps...very interesting, look so thin and crunchy :)

The Blonde Duck said...

These look so neat!

Lori said...

Mary these look amazingly delicious. I would have never thought of caraway and sweet together. I would love to try these.

My husband and I so want to go to Alaska in the winter to see the lights. I have a picture of it in my hallway. I bought the print up in Alaska when I was there during the summer. Wonderful time there.

Such a lesson in your story. I guess really anything we think of as ordinary could be a marvel to someone else!

Mary said...

Isn't it amazing Lori? I love that we're so different form one another. I also love that we are so much the same. That's the gift age brings us:).

Dragon said...

I love caraway and these crisps look amazing. Yum!

Mary said...

Hi Dragon, thanks for stopping by to visit. I hope you'll visit often.

Selba said...

It looks so perfect for a snack :)

Turmericnspice said...

five star...i love salty crisps

Anonymous said...

I tried these, with no success. My mixture was dry & crumbly and would not hold together. I can't imagine what I did wrong, it's such a simple recipe!
I wish people would post their comments after trying the recipe. Just to post that something looks good really isn't helpful-it looks good to all of us!!!
If anyone tries this recipe, I hope they will post their results.
Love your blog! I will continue to visit here! Thanks!

Mary Bergfeld said...

I rarely post anonymous comments but because this one came from a reader who had disappointing results with this recipe, I wanted to address her concerns here. This is a simple cookie to make, but the dough must be worked with your hands in order to come together. It must also be well chilled before any attempt is made to roll or cut. This, as stated in the post, is a Maida Heatter recipe and she rarely misses a beat. I searched other blogs for cooments about the cookies that can be seen here http://mylittlekitchen.blogspot.com/2006/07/mondays-with-maida-caraway-crisps.html

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