There’s a new bookstore in town and it’s devoted entirely to cookbooks! With it’s cooking area and counter in the back and it’s airy open space, The Book Larder feels like a neighbor’s sunny kitchen where you stopped in for a cup of tea and a chat. Except that the walls and tables are lined with cookbooks, which may be how some of our kitchens actually look, so it’s perfect that way too. I’m doubly happy to see this independent bookstore open its doors at a time when the local bookstore seems to be going extinct. I can remember a time when there were 4 small bookstores within walking distance of my house. Not only are all of them now gone, the local Barnes and Noble just closed up shop as well! It occurs to me that a cookbook store might have a good chance of making it because cookbooks are one type of book that doesn’t do so well on a kindle or an i-pad. We want to splay our cookbook on the counter and not worry if it gets smudged with flour or olive oil splashed on it . We don’t want to have to wipe the butter off our fingers before we turn the page. I can’t be the only cook who loves it that my books fall open to my most beloved recipes, the splatters of sauce reminding me of meals past. I don’t think they’ve got an app for that, yet. I hope for the future success of The Book Larder because I want to go back and talk food and books with Laura, the owner (I think), and get more magnificent recommendations like the one that the following recipe came from. The book she recommended was Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan and not only have I had a hard time putting it down, I’ve wanted to cook almost every recipe in it! It’s part life story, part recipes and the author begins the book with the hospitable offer of tea and cookies to enjoy while you hear her story. This is the recipe for those cookies and not only did they turn out to be lovely to look at, I think I would sit and listen to even the most boring story by Newt Gingrich if I could eat these while listening.
Makes about 3 dozen
8 oz (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
grated zest of 2 oranges
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand or electric mixer until it whitens, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the egg yolk and orange zest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Combine the flour, salt, cardamom, and poppy seeds in a separate bowl and then fold into butter butter mixture, mixing just enough to combine the dough. (Mine was still pretty crumbly, so I used my hands to press it together and divide in half.) Form the dough into 2 logs-about 1 1/2-2″ in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes. (I kept mine in the fridge for 4 days before baking and it worked just fine.)
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into slightly smaller than 1/2″ thick rounds and place one inch apart on a nonstick or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake approximately 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges (mine were done in 11 minutes, so be sure to check early as you don’t want to over bake these).
Note: This dough keeps well in the freezer for 2-3 weeks.