Friday, July 2, 2010

regarding hobbits and tea cakes...

Before I left school in May I decided I was going to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series while I was home for the summer. As I started reading I realized that hobbits are my kind of people. They eat six meals a day, they love to throw parties and give away presents. There's always a kettle on the fire and pantries full of food. As I read the description of the food that Bilbo served the dwarfs I started to get hungry. Visions of vintage tea pots and dessert trays full of little cakes were dancing in my head and so I did what any girl would do. I opened my cook books and double knotted my apron strings.
I used Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Swedish Visiting Cake but I baked it in muffin tins instead of a skilled and viola a tea time treat perfectly paired with a cup of Earl Gray. Now if only I had a fire place and a cushy chair to curl up in so that I can continue to enjoy The Lord of the Rings series. Oh well it is July so I suppose I don't really need a roaring fire.

- 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- About 1/4 cup sliced almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12 cup muffin tin or a 9-inch cake pan.

2. in a medium bowl blend the zest and sugar together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the eggs one at a time until well blended. Add in the salt and extracts. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the flour. Finally, fold in the melted butter.

3. use and ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup measure to evenly distribute the batter into each muffin cup, smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top and sprinkle with a little coarse sugar.

4. Bake the cakes for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are golden and a little crisp on the outside. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack.

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