A Scholar’s Return

If you’ve been counting (and I really hope you haven’t), it’s been a good year or more since I last wrote of my own volition. Throughout this past year, I have had to write countless classroom management portfolios, several declarations of teaching style, at least two reports on my effectiveness as a prospective educator (complete with pie charts and bar graphs), and, interestingly enough, one analysis of the Biblical book of Esther; but, until now, I have not  truly written for myself. And, for quite a while, I was more than ok with that. For a time.

Recently, however, my attempts at staving off the desire to assemble words have failed, and I have been led to attempt the act of literary creation anew. The first method which I found capable of sparking my writing spirit came in the form of a new haiku-themed Twitter account (which you can follow in the top-right corner of the main page), wherein I have been attempting to limit my thoughts to seventeen syllables (a delightfully mind-bending, yet altogether peace-bringing exercise). But, while I continue to enjoy the realm of measured, poetic language, I felt that a fresh foray into the unfettered fields of prose was in order. So, at long last, I will be again presenting you with written snapshots of the photographic records I’ve kept over the past year, as well as detailing my favorite plants, hobbies, and recipes that I’ve picked up throughout my travels in the Scholar’s Garden.

Since my time today is a bit limited (no matter how much you prod them, cowpeas just won’t shell themselves!), I thought I’d leave you with my most fun-to-make recipe from this past spring: robin’s nest cookies. I attempted this recipe during the Easter season, when my fascination with the rebirth of plants and animals was at its peak. And, while this cookie may be geared more for the vernal months, it really is perfect anytime you need a dash of springtime in your life!

Robin’s Nest Cookies

Ingredients for the Nests

1 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of finely chopped walnuts

Ingredients for the Eggs

2 tablespoons of softened butter
3 tablespoons of light corn syrup
Approximately 2 drops of blue food coloring
Approximately 1 drop of green food coloring
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and stir in the vanilla. Stir in the flour until everything is completely mixed.

3. Beat the egg whites in a shallow dish (I used a small bowl) until foamy.

4. Spread the chopped walnuts on a flat surface, such as a plate or waxed paper.

I had a bit too much fun with my fondant...5. Roll a spoonful of dough into a ball, roll the ball in the egg whites, and then roll it in the walnuts. Place the balls 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Indent each cookie with your thumb, so that they take on a nest-like shape.

6. Bake nests in your preheated oven for 12 minutes.

7. While the cookies are baking, cream together the last 2 tablespoons of butter with the corn syrup, food colorings, and almond extract. Gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. After the mixture incorporates into fondant, begin rolling 1/2 teaspoons of the fondant into egg-shaped balls.

8. After the cookies have finished baking, place your eggs in the nests!

And that’s all there is to making a nutty set of robin’s nest cookies! Due to my lack of proper food coloring (I actually had to rehydrate the few flakes of pigment still left in the bottles), my eggs didn’t exactly capture the brilliant greenish hue that robin eggs are known for having; but, I did discover that if you add a touch of color to the fondant ball after its already in its final form, and then continue to fold it, you can create a rather striking marbled effect with your eggs.

Well, the garden, and its never-ending list of tasks, is calling my name; so, I must bid you a fond farewell for now!

Until next time, happy gardening, baking, and doing whatever else brings you joy!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Awwww… you make such lovely bakes! Yummy! =)

    Reply

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