Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blossoms and Butter Biscuits

I have a heart full of thanks for friends and readers who shared their thoughts on my last post.  Your emails, Facebook messages, and comments on the blog gave me loads to think about, and also cheered me up a bit about the fate of blogging--as well as the fate of reading in general.  We all seem to be sensing the change in the wind, but many of us still seek real writing and real depth, whether it's online or in the pages of books.  While I worry about the longterm fate of reading, for the moment, I know I am part of a community of passionate thinkers, readers, writers, and makers.  

I will be moving over to the new blog sometime soon, but in the meantime, I'll keep posting here.  My biggest challenge at the moment is simply getting out of my own way.  I have so many irons in the fire, so much work that I'm doing, and so many roadblocks to navigate as I move forward that some days I wonder how I'll ever make it all happen.  Some days it would be easier to go back to my old life.  Some days I want to give up.  Winter doesn't help.  I know it's March, which means spring is around the corner, but here in Maine we have more snow coming tomorrow, and more predicted for next week.  I truly think that if I could just dig in the dirt again, the part of my spirit that is broken would begin to mend.  Soil and sunshine and the smell of grass would fix it.  Since they are still weeks away, I've been filling the rooms with pockets of blooms--campanulas and grape hyacinths and forsythias for forcing.  

And when flowers alone are not enough, there's always chocolate.  If your spirit is feeling as beaten as mine is, I recommend this chocolate pudding recipe.  I've made it twice in the past three weeks, and both times have resulted in empty bowls and the kind of deep, satisfied sighs that only dark chocolate can cause. 

If chocolate pudding still falls short of curing what ails you, then bless your little heart, I made some maple syrup butter cookies the other night that I can honestly say did the trick for me . . . at least for an hour or two.  Now that it's nearly maple syrup season here in New England (Maine Maple Sunday is March 23), these will be the perfect spring cookies to make for dipping in your Earl Grey.

The Magpie's Maple Syrup Butter Biscuits

1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup almond meal/flour (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~Cream butter, vanilla, and maple syrup together.
~Add flours and beat until blended.
~Pipe or spoon onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to make 1" round cookies.
~Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.
~Cool on a rack, then dust with powdered sugar. 

Notice I don't have a single picture of these little wonders.  You will have to make them yourself and take beautiful shots of them on a rustic farmhouse table with powdered sugar sprinkled artfully around.  Please be sure to cross-process the images, giving them just the right amount of faded, nostalgic, old-timey charm.  You know that's what I'd have done had I not been too busy baking--and then eating--these bundles of floury, buttery joy.  Do make sure to include the almond meal.  I think that is the key to their beauty.  It makes them slightly chewy, yet light and crumbly, too.  Wouldn't it be lovely if everything in life were so satisfying?   


  1. You do have one lovely photo though that brings to mind Spring time.
    I keep trying to avoid baking, but oh it does a soul good. And chocolate
    and flowers can definitely do the trick.

  2. Digging in the dirt lifted me from a blue funk this weekend. I felt completely jaded. Then my husband stumbled upon two espaliered apple trees, & we spent the whole of Saturday getting a site prepped & planting them in the ground before we were hit with ice & snow again on Sunday.

    I'll be trying that chocolate pudding recipe, too. :)


  3. I'm excited to see what you have in the works.


Thank you so much for visiting and for taking the time to leave a comment! I love hearing from you.