12 October 2008

Apricot oat-style cookies and Applejack

This cookie recipe is from a random little book called Cookies and Bars that we received as a gift, and it turns out that it's pretty good. Most of these recipes are ridiculously simple, but very interesting, and each is accompanied by a full-page photo.

However, the writing's a little unordinary. The list of ingredients includes "corn oil, for oiling" and "polyunsaturated spread". That just sounds gross, so we're calling it "margarine". Also, the book doesn't say how much honey to use, so we winged it.

  • 3/4 c margarine
  • 1/2 c raw brown sugar
  • something like 3 tbsp honey
  • generous 3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 c oatmeal
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a shallow cake pan. Combine margarine, sugar, and honey in a small pan and cook over low heat, but don't boil. Stir in apricots, sesame seeds, and oatmeal. (This, by the way, takes no time at all.) Spoon into cake pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until brown. Remove and cut into bars, letting them cool completely before taking them out of the pan.See how easy that was? Also, delicious. If you eat this before it's completely cooled, it becomes very similar to the crumble we made a few weeks ago. There are a lot of variations to make on these cookies.

After last week's cider excursion we decided to try a few cocktails using Laird's Applejack. We're big fans of calvados and Pommeau (a mix of cider and calvados which you can find at New York's Jimmy's No. 43). Applejack is the all-American version of calvados. George Washington asked the family for the recipe, Abe Lincoln served it at the tavern he owned, and William Henry Harrison may have won the presidential election because of how much of it he served at political rallies. If only politics today were still the same... (For a full history of our hard-drinking ancestors, check out Laird's page of interesting facts.)

The first cocktail we tried was the Jack Rabbit Cocktail.

  • 1 1/2 oz Applejack
  • 1/2 oz maple syrup
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz orange juice
Shake with ice and strain into a glass.

This cocktail is a winner. Look again at how much maple syrup is in there! You really can't disappoint anyone with a cocktail that sweet (though you can still taste the tartness of the lemon juice and the warmth of the liquor.)

Next up: Jack Rose.
  • 1 1/2oz Applejack
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz grenadine
Shake with ice and strain.

Okay, so this is a very basic cocktail, but a lesson in the dangers of grenadine. Grenadine is a bottled syrup, very sweet, and usually only worth a dash or two in a drink. Combined with the lemon juice the drink ends up tasting pretty medicine-y. It's a classic, and Shake's had a good one using calvados but perhaps the Applejack is too simple for it. If you're going to try it, then use lime juice instead of lemon (or mix them) and go use less grenadine. The classic New York Bartender's Guide calls for essentially that. The Applejack Cocktail might also be a better variation.

So for the next drink we went for something much more natural: The Bee's Knees Variation.

  • 1 1/2 oz Applejack
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz honey
Shake with ice and strain.

Shake is a big fan of the original Bee's Knees, which uses gin instead of Applejack, but this one is the all-around crowd-pleaser. You can clearly taste the apple, the lemon, and the honey. There is not much to say about this, because we're too busy drinking.



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