It seems everywhere that I turn there is some sort of countdown to Christmas - only so many shopping days left, only a few days to get packages in the mail so they arrive in time, only so many days left of free shipping!
Saturday was gift-buying day. Today and tomorrow I will be wrapping and mailing packages to their various destination's. Yesterday was the start of baking. Monkey helped make the gingerbread men (and girls). We made spritz cookies in little tree shapes. Today I'll make some wreaths. Big Daddy has finished his chocolate balls (a fabulous candy - I'll try to pass along the recipe, if I can wrangle it out of him). He also made a mess of nut brittle.
In the ecclesiastical sense, we are counting down the last days of dark waiting. And what better way to face that waiting than to have a big party? That's the Episcopalian approach. Because what says Advent better than copious amounts of wine and a vast array of calorie-laden goodness? Last night we got together with friends from church for the annual Advent wine and cheese party. I made the following tasty treat.
SESAME AND ROQUEFORT BISCUITS
taken from Gourmet December 2004
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 lb chilled Roquefort cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
1/3 cup sesame seeds (2 oz.)
- Pulse flour and butter in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle cheese into mixture and pulse a few times to incorporate. Transfer mixture to a work surface (it will be crumbly) and knead briefly to distribute ingredients (do not overwork), then press together to form a dough and roll into a 7-inch log (about 2 inches in diameter). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
- Put oven rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet.
- Put sesame seeds on a plate. Cut dough into scant 1/4-inch-thick slices with a sharp, think knife (I used dental floss) then gently press both sides of each biscuit in sesame seeds to coat and arrange 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet.
- Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool biscuits on a baking sheet on a rack 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer with a spatula to rack to cool completely.
I didn't have Roquefort on hand. I used a mixture of Bleu d'Avignon and a locally made blue from Bath County, Virginia. My dough was a little too crumbly, so you may play with proportions a little. My baking time was also a little longer, which could be due to altitude or the not so fantastic oven that the builder of our home installed. They did turn out quite tasty and went very well with wine.
This week I'll be making raspberry truffles, grasshopper bars, the ever-popular chocolate chip cookie and some pinwheel cookies. Wish me luck.