Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sorghum walnut cookies from Tennessee

We had a wonderful week-long vacation in the Adirondacks and Tennessee. The Adirondacks were particularly fun because we had our dog with us and we spent the days outside with her hiking, walking and watching her splash in and out of the lake. Tennessee was similarly an outdoor experience but this time we were on our own and were able to horseback ride and tool around the 9,000+ acre property that belongs to the privately-owned hotel we stayed at. The hotel is a working farm complete with honey bees, livestock (primarily sheep), a dairy, and a wonderful vegetable, herb and cutting garden that the kitchen draws from daily (both for inspiration and supplies). In January, the hotel is adding its own cheese-making facility as well as dedicated space for making jams. It already produces its own sheep’s milk, honey and jam (in small quantities).

We were able to spend time with the chef, the dairy farmers, the bee keeper, and produce farmers throughout our stay and pepper them with questions and observe their respective trades. It is such a pleasure to be exposed to artisans and to know that what you are eating is locally and freshly made. We got the biggest kick out of the head farmer who was a very well spoken and well traveled man who takes great pride in developing the best possible produce (he tested 50 different types of tomatoes this year) and continuing a time-honored tradition of nurturing and preserving heirloom beans (he has a separate area dedicated to crops he does not want to cross-pollinate). He had a story and explanation for everything and could remember the provenance of every special variety he brought to the far to cultivate.The meals we had were extraordinary in a very inventive way. Even the informal lunches, several of which were pic nics, were exceptionally well done and artistically presented. We had a lot of southern treats (particularly for breakfast) that provided a fun change. I couldn’t get enough of biscuits with sausage and gravy as unappetizing as that might seem, and the pastry chef’s cookies and desserts were addictive. I’m posting a recipe for sorghum walnut cookies that were divine. I’ll have to post a photo later as I’m waiting for a special delivery of sorghum syrup from my mother-in-law from the south!

Sorghum walnut cookies
(adapted from Blackberry Farm)
(makes ~32 cookies)

1.5 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3/8 cup sorghum syrup
2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs, then sorghum syrup.

Whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (except the walnuts) and mix in with the batter.

Mix in 1/3 lb. walnuts until just combined.

Scoop onto sheet pans using a tablespoon-sized ice cream scoop or a tablespoon. Flatten slightly, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

P.S. As you might have noticed my blog is sporting a new look! I'm proud to say that up until this point, I did it all myself. That said, although I checked it in multiple browsers, I'm sure I created a problem somewhere. Please let me know if you see anything funky and I'll fix it. I'm also open to any comments and suggestions. I'll keep tweaking!


Anonymous said...

Sabra! I love your photography. It is so beautiful. While I'm not much of a cook, I frequently check your blog to see what you're up to and what I can aspire to. It all looks divine! Miss you! Will have to have you take some shots of Alex some day. Your pup is too cute.

Anonymous said...

The cookies sound decadently delicious. Your photos are magazine quality. Good luck on your new blog!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is eye candy for the wanna be cook and/or photographer. It is the blog version of a cooking show. I really enjoy your posts, photos, and recipes. Thanks for sharing.

richard said...

Dear Daughter

the site in Tennessee looks wonderful.
i can't wait to try the walnut cookies. can you add raisins to the recipe?


Anonymous said...

lovely photography!

Anonymous said...

Thanks guys! Dad: I'm sure we can add raisins - can do just for you! Still looking for sorghum - seems like it'll have to be mail-ordered.

Anonymous said...

re-launch a crashing success. honey photos my favorite.
how 'bout a one bowl recipe for the layman fan of the Catchall? -A

Anonymous said...

Golly, something must be wrong. It couldn't have been since Sept. that I checked your site. Didn't think you even had the sorghum that long ago?? I love the new pix, esp. the big red flower with the cookies and of course the rocking chairs. Good thing I needed to copy the linguine with clams recipe again or I'd be even more behind. Sudy

Anonymous said...

great post

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