Nov 8, 2012
These sweet cookies are synonymous with summer in the town on the Aegean coast where my parents spend their summer. They decorate every bakery's window but one bakery in particular, a shabby one close to our house makes the best of them all. It is for these cookies' sake that I quicken my pace when I'm walking towards the house after an afternoon dive, in the hope to find tea already brewing on the stove and a full box of curd cookies in place of the dwindling one from the day before.
As I step inside, I see the mother cat Minis and her four offspring we've been sheltering for summer, playing with a piece of string on the back lawn while the household is sitting in the shade watching them and sipping their afternoon tea. My eyes catch a glimpse of the box lying on the table open, on which read the name of the bakery; my heart leaps. I pull a chair, grab a cookie notwithstanding my wet clothes and join others in watching the spectacle.
Upon hearing my voice, the two cats of the household come into the scene too; Lokum, awaken from his afternoon nap, comes from inside the house, while Bıdık arrives from her never-ending idle strolls. Both are terrified from Minis who has been aggressive to them throughout summer, owing to her instinct to protect her offspring, whereas all they want to do is to play along with the kittens.
As the evening starts setting in, mom gathers the tea glasses and heads to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Soon, the mouthwatering smell of frying vegetables and meatballs fill the air. I set the table up and feed the cats with their share of the meatballs. The rest of us gather around the table to enjoy the ritualistic feast of summer evenings: fried vegetables and meatballs with garlic tomato sauce and yogurt.
Now, summer feels like ages ago. Its memories are reduced to recollections of good times spent around good food. At the end of the season, the kittens were grown enough to be separated from their mother and were given into the care of their new loving families. I, on the other hand took my two precious ones and headed back to the city. After a whole season of fresh air and outdoor freedom, we found getting back to life indoors a little suffocating but we are adjusting to it. Even though I'm fond of winter, I feel comforted to know that when we all feel dark and gloomy, baking these cookies will bring home a breath of summer air which might brighten us up all.
makes 16-18 cookies
- 500 g fresh curd, softened at room temperature (here is how to make homemade curd)
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour, sifted
- Preheat your oven to 200C/ 390F. Line oven tray with grease-proof paper.
- Crumble the curd into a bowl. Fold in eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla and mix using your hands. Add flour and baking powder and knead to obtain a smooth dough. (The dough should be a little runny.) Make sure that there are no curd lumps left.
- Dispatch big pieces, roll them into flat balls and arrange them on the tray. Reduce the oven heat to 170C/340F and cook for about 40 minutes, or until they are golden. Keep an eye on them as baking time differs in ovens. They will keep fresh in an airtight container for 3 days.