Just like the steeplechase (surely one of the more absurd events out there), we’ve covered some hurdles and trudged through some water. We’ve found a new place to live. We’ve thrown off the shackles of sickness.
And now we’re really embracing the fact that our adopted city is throwing a very special party at the moment.
The opening ceremony was spent in our next door neighbour’s flat, where food was ring shaped and there were even jelly shots arranged as a homage to both university highjinks and the Olympic Rings (TM).
Our contribution to the evening were some cranberry dark chocolate ring cookies. We made the rings by using the lid of the gin bottle to cleave out the centre, like donut holes. After I’d emerged from 30 hours of transit from Australia, it was the best I could do (thank goodness for that stash of cookie dough that lives the freezer).
In my house growing up, the arrival of the Olympics was not something to be trifled with. My father conjured ‘power viewing’ before TIVO was even dreamed of. First there was a fresh stack of VHS tapes. There was a key on a piece of paper; I think containing codes for finals and semi finals, with endurance events pitted against sprints. Television schedules were scoured to make sure that the key events were not missed. When advertisements interrupted the flow of viewing, he would click to another event cued on tape. It was genius.
It takes dedication to succeed as an Olympic viewer.
And these cookies are exactly the sort of fodder to fuel a late night of watching.
They’re the perfect accompaniment to a small espresso or a pot of lightly scented tea. They’re strident with lemon and thrifty in their constitution. The bulk of the flavour comes from using up the dregs of candied peel that you’ve surely got hanging about in the cupboard, now eight months on from Christmas baking.
You could bulk the mass of them out with just flour, but I find the gentle mellowness of almond meal is a nice team mate to the citrus.
The real secret putting in the time and elbow grease to ensure the sugar and the butter are well creamed together, to help with the gentle texture. But if you want a little helping hand, then the elasticated structure of the condensed milk will also help contribute the chewy centre you crave in a late-night-cookie-treat.
Make them small as petit fours, or as large as a gold medal. Heck, use the top of a gin bottle and turn them into rings if you so desire.
Here’s what I do know. These cookies are not going to help you look any better in lycra. But if you’re Australian and currently bemoaning the lack of gold in your life, they should contribute a little bit of light.
And if you’re British or American and just fancy something sweet to dunk in a cup of tea while you settle in to watch one more obscure sporting event for the evening, they’ll do just fine.
Candied Peel, Lemon and Almond Cookies
Electric beaters. Mixing bowl. Baking paper.
115 grams of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
115 grams of caster sugar
85 grams of sweetened condensed milk
85 grams of candied peel
115 grams of Self Raising Flour
50 grams ground almonds/ almond meal
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Here’s how we roll
1)Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F
2) Use the electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar for up to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy (beating the butter and sugar together for a longer time is a trick garnered from Christina Tosi, the brain behind the incredible cookies at Momofuku Milk Bar)
3) Fold in the condensed milk, lemon zest, juice and candied peel (nb, if you’re a little shy of lemon flavours, add half of the lemon zest, then taste the batter- if you think it can handle more, then add the rest).