Monday, October 17, 2016

Safeway Almond Thimble Cookies and The Orionid Meteor Showers, by Margaret Ullrich

I hope you enjoyed making Safeway's recipe for Chocolate Date Nut Squares.
I had found it on the back of the 1 Kg bags of walnuts, which I used to be able to find at Safeway. 

Safeway was great as a source of supplies for home bakers.
Sobey’s… not so much.
They seem to focus on deli style take out and snack items. Since they bought Safeway shoppers have been finding bags of chips and canned and bottled drinks in every corner of the store.
Really, why are there sodas in the dairy and produce sections?
Who has a cola with cheese, or a root beer with a cabbage?

I so miss my old Safeway.
Another item I regularly bought there was their 1 Kg bags of almonds. 
Yes, it was another staple that Sobeys, in its infinite wisdom, decided to discontinue. 
The bag of almonds came with its own recipe - Almond Thimble Cookies. 
On the bag it said This is a fun cookie to make and eat with your children!

Sobeys doesn’t carry the large bags of nuts anymore.
Guess there isn’t room for bags of nuts because the soda and potato chips take up so much space now.

Thimble Cookies are also called Bird’s Nest Cookies and Thumbprint Cookies, and they are fun to make with the kiddies.


The instructions said to place the chopped nuts in a small bowl. 
I found placing the nuts in an 8 inch square pan worked better since I could do more cookie balls at one time.

About the 3/4 Cup jam or jelly… an assortment makes a pretty platter, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers. If you only have one type of jam, make like Julia Child: 
Don’t apologize and don’t explain.

I also tried using chopped walnuts combined with sweetened dried coconut and it worked. You can also make Thimble Cookies with just chopped walnuts.
If using coconut, make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven and watch the cookies closely at the end of cooking to prevent the coconut from burning.

Once cooled, the cookies can be store in an airtight container.

I found the cookies are better if they are filled just before serving.
If you're going to be busy, fill them whenever you can.
Family and friends should be grateful that you went to all the trouble to make them fresh homemade cookies.

Once a package of almonds is open, refrigerate or freeze nuts to retain freshness.

If you’re curious, 1 Kg of whole almonds equals approximately 8 1/2 Cups.

Toasting nuts intensifies their flavour. To toast the nuts, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350º F for 8 to 12 minutes, stirring once. Watch carefully, as they can burn quickly.

If you want another almond cookie recipe, you could also bake a batch of 

Anna Sultana’s Almond Cookies

Anna Sultana's Kwarezimal - Almond Biscotti, Maltese Style

It’s also easy to go through almonds during the holidays!

                        Almond Thimble Cookies

Makes about 3 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on size

Place the 2 oven racks in the centre of the oven.
Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets   

Finely chop
1 3/4 Cups whole almonds
Place in an 8 inch pan.

Sift together
2 1/4 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Separate 2 large eggs, placing the whites in a small bowl, and the yolks in a cup. 
(The yolks will be added later to the dough.)
Add to the 2 egg whites in the bowl
2 Tablespoons water
Beat together.

In a large mixer bowl cream
1 Cup butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar, firmly packed
Beat until light and fluffy.
2 reserved large egg yolks
1 teaspoon almond extract
Beat until well blended.
Stir in the flour mixture until well blended.

Preheat oven to 375º F        

Using a teaspoon, form 3 cm (1 inch) balls of dough.
Roll each ball in egg whites mixture and then in the chopped nuts and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
Using a thimble or your finger carefully make a deep indentation in the centre of each cookie. Be sure not to go too deeply.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and, while the cookies are still warm, reshape the indentations.
Remove the cookies to a rack to cool.

Have on hand
3/4 Cup jam or jelly
Fill centres with jam or jelly

About the sky this week, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

October 21-22 — The Orionid Meteor Showers. These showers originate from debris from the most famous and well-known of all comets, Halley’s Comet. These meteors radiate from a point near the club of the constellation Orion. Best seen looking to the south, between 2 and 4 a.m., in any time zone. The bright waning gibbous Moon may impede viewing ability so be sure you are someplace dark, free of light pollution.

October 22— Last Quarter Moon, 3:14 p.m. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing, on its way to the New Moon (invisible) phase.

October 28— Set your alarms to see the faint, thin waning crescent Moon paired up with Jupiter. Look to the east 1 hour before sunrise.

October 30— New Moon, 1:38 p.m. At this stage, the Moon is not illuminated by direct sunlight and is completely invisible to the naked eye.

October 31 – The nearly-invisible waxing crescent Moon will again be at apogee, meaning its farthest point from Earth during the lunar month.  An easy way to remember: (A)pogee = (A)way.

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