Although I embrace the English custom of a cup of tea at half past three, sometimes, in the afternoon, coffee seems to be the drink of choice. Especially when I have company!
Whenever we went visiting any of Dad's German relatives, after a welcoming hug, they would hand you a cup of coffee. (The adults, of course!)
I remember at all of the aunts houses that there was always coffee ready. (And in the afternoon that coffee would be rather "stout" which is perhaps, why, they always took it with a little cream!)
But it wouldn't be just coffee for there had to be something "with" -- a small treat of a cookie or a piece of cake. There would always be one or the other in the larder.
Last week, when I was preparing for my biscotti class, the memories came flooding back. I remembered going to Cousin Grace's (and her husband, Pockets) home as a child. I remembered the adults sitting around the kitchen table -- with coffee, of course -- and a plate of hard little cookies. Hard -- like biscotti -- not hard -- like stale! And dipping their cookies into their coffee!
And I remember not being enthralled with the cookies preferring instead to have an oatmeal raisin or a hermit -- but that wasn't offered. Just Cousin Grace's "hard cookies"!
And then I remembered something about how these cookies were "good keepers" and that Cousin Grace always had a tin in the larder not only for company but for her own afternoon coffee. And I also remembered being told that they were baked until they were crisp so that they would last longer.
What's a person to do? I called a cousin in Higginsville and she gave me the recipe for "Kaffebrot" as she (and Cousin Grace) called them. I didn't remember the name but when I described the cookie, she laughed and said that she still made them -- they were certainly good with (and in) coffee and they kept a long time.
So I made them -- not only for me but also for those attending my class on Biscotti at life+style. We gave them a warm German welcome that night -- with a cup of coffee and one (or two or three) of the kaffebrots before we got down to the business of demonstrating biscotti!
And I kept some (of course) and when two Nevada friends showed up one afternoon, I made a pot of coffee (instead of tea) and put some kaffebrots on a platter.
We drank coffee, we dipped kaffebrots, and we chatted away the afternoon. It's always good to get together with friends.
|All ready for company|
The breakfast room is my room of choice for an informal coffee (or tea). We can watch the antics of the birds as we sip and nibble and chat.
|Coffee and cookies|
No plates for the cookies go right on the saucer. Spode Blue Italian cups and saucers and even the sandwich plate (a remembrance of last year's trip to England -- the only piece of new pottery that I brought home).
Twice baked almond and sugared covered cookies -- they really are perfect with coffee for they're much better if you give them a dunk!
I like to use a tablecloth -- this is one of my tea cloths and the bowl of apples is still the centerpiece. The paperwhites are starting to grow but hadn't attained the proper height to be centerpiece worthy!
Nothing better than coffee, cookies and friends!
I've modified the recipe for the kaffebrots. You see, I'm pastry challenged. I'm way too impatient to properly cut fat into flour -- the size of peas to me mean peas the size of ice cubes! It made no never mind whether I used a fork or a pastry cutter, my "peas" were always huge. And then I discovered how easy it was to make pastry in a food processor. I made the best pie crust. So I tried biscuits. I made the best biscuits. So why not do it with the kaffebrot? I turned out very well -- but, shhh -- don't tell Cousin Helen -- she'll think I'm a heretic, making kaffebrot a new modern way!
COUSIN GRACE'S KAFFEBROT
3 1/2 c flour
1 2/3 c. sugar (divided)
1 t. baking soda
2 sticks butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
rind of 1 lemon, grated
1/4 t. almond extract
1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 T. heavy cream
1/2 c. slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350.
Place the flour, 1 1/3 c. sugar, baking soda, eggs, butter, lemon rind and almond extract in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the dough forms a ball. Take out of food processor and divide dough into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a roll 1 inch thick and 17 inches long. Place on a buttered baking sheet (or a silicone or parchment lined one like I do). Press the rolls down a bit, using a fork dipped in flour. Brush with the egg-cream mixture. Sprinkle the almonds and remaining sugar evenly over all four rolls.
Bake for 18 minutes. Cut each roll crosswise into 1 1/4 inch cookies. Return the baking sheet to the turned-off oven for 30 minutes to dry.
It is so easy to do in the food processor -- way easier than the way Cousin Helen's recipe from Cousin Grace made them!
It's Tuesday and although it's really coffee instead of tea, I'm still joining these parties today:
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life
Sandi at A Rose Chintz Cottage
Ruth at Antiques and Teacups
Bernideen at Bernideens Tea Time Blog