Very soon we will be travelling across the world to visit our family and friends. Now that we are so close to packing and leaving I can’t stop thinking about all the important and maybe not so important but inevitable things that I need to organise before the departure. Who is going to water our plants? The Christmas tree needs to survive because we will be back by then and we are going to need it and the blinds need to be fixed…but I better stop before you lose all interest.
Instead, let’s talk about things that we like to do or make, for people we love. Lately I am more for doing and making as opposed to buying, when it comes to showing emotions or gratitude. Maybe that is because I am in a very creative phase of my life but I have grown to like the idea so much that I might stick with it for a while. Creating a gift for someone is like giving away a bundle of feelings, more that anything else, and I find that absolutely precious. Raising a child has actually helped quite a bit with developing this idea. For example, Maksim’s last birthday party was done exactly the way he wanted, I just followed all his steps. Interestingly enough that didn’t include any presents from our side, instead he wanted us to make a 7 layered cake (most wedding cakes that I’ve seen would have been smaller) and we needed to add all the decorations he wanted and mostly, created himself. So we rolled up our sleeves, baked together, got dusty with flour and sugar, ended up covered in food colouring and most importantly, had heaps of fun. We had a special time for ourselves, created something magical and gave it away to the people who joined us at the party. I call that – a circle of happiness!
The clown/magician that entertained the kids was an extra treat and produced a lot of laughter so I would call it a good investment in happiness. A dear friend gave away a bicycle that her son is not going to use any more and that covered the gift idea that we secretly had in our minds but the biggest gift to all of us and something we are going to remember forever, was the time we spent together preparing the party and celebrating our time together!
So while I was in such a festive spirit, I created some cookies that very much reflect my feelings towards the people that I am going to see soon. Spelt flour is always a good choice, and cardamon is such a fantastic pairing. Add a thin layer of icing on top, and you get such a lovely delight in a small portion. I love them but I love even more the idea of giving them away to the people I love.
Ricotta and Cardamom spelt cookies
120 gr wholemeal spelt flour
100 gr plain flour
100 gr raw sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 gr sea salty butter
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
3 cardamom pods grind in the mortar
1 lemon zest
60 gr ricotta cheese (if not dry squeeze well before use)
30 ml full cream
200 gr powdered sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
Heat the oven to 160C and line baking tray with baking paper.
In a medium size bowl mix the flours, baking powder, sugar, cardamom and sea salt. Add butter and work with your fingers until crumbly. In a different bowl whisk the egg, add full cream, vanilla paste, lemon zest and ricotta cheese. Make a small well in the middle of the flour/butter mixture then add the egg mixture and work on the dough until well combined and smooth.
Roll the dough to a 5 mm thickness and cut into a 6 cm round shape. Line onto the tray, keeping a distance between the cookies and bake for 12-14 min or until they get a golden colour. Cool onto a cooling and top with icing. I have found that the taste improves every day, but it is hard to resist them freshly baked as well.