An Almond Crescent evokes musky, exhausted afternoons in Marrakesh, where I first dunked a version of this cookie into a chilled glass of mango juice poolside at an upmarket hotel in the middle of a desert. This combination is sublime, but my gastronomic memory needed an update. Black currant tea is that fruity, jubilant antidote to the floral, seemingly exotic flavors of almond and powdered sugar.

For now, these basic shortbread treats are being held just long enough in my tea before disintegrating into the bottom of my cup. A little whisper of sandy cookie is welcome though, closing the circle of story and sweets --back to the striking vastness that is North Africa. Meandering the seductive, endless souq with my father 20 years ago-- all purple high top converse, crooked teeth, legs and unbrushed curls. Sand, wind, leather, dirt, spice -- the elements seeped deeply into my young bones. And wait, what's this? "Dad, there's a monkey on my butt!" A little friend attached himself to my fanny pack (forgive forgive the fashion choice) and wouldn't let go. It was a scare and a delight.

Almond Crescents
makes about 2 dozen cookies

There is a version of this simple, powdered-sugar drenched shortbread cookie in every culture. For me, these take me to Morocco where I first encountered them in this distinct shape.

1 cup unsalted butter (I like Land o Lakes for baking)
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted (plus more for garnishing)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup blanched almonds (or crushed almonds, any type of almond you like really!)

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream the butter and sifted powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the salt, almond and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Stir in the flour and almonds until dough just comes together.

Form small crescent shapes from about 1 inch round balls of dough. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet on 350 for about 15 minutes, until the cookies are just golden. Dust in powdered sugar and serve with tea.

Black Currant Tea
I buy my Black Currant Tea locally at the Tea Zone Camellia & Lounge. The staff is informed on their many teas and will make recommendations based on your likes and dislikes. All their teas are sealed in the most beautiful gold and black packages, so it's a rather lovely experience just picking out teas to try. Black Currant has a subtle fruitiness reminiscent of Ribena juice. It's a flavor we don't encounter often in the States, yet currant is prominent in many other parts of the world, especially England. Mixed with whole cream and a spot of brown sugar, this tea is positively lady like.

1 comment:

  1. what an amazingly beautifully photographed blog I came across!!! :) delicious as well :)


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