I first had this cookie at my friend Michelle's afternoon tea party. Celebrating a tradition we don't follow so often anymore, she had a tea party under a cherry tree in her garden. The choices were delectable - scones, cookies, salad, samosas and different kinds of tea and ofcourse interesting conversations. With late afternoon sun on our back and these delicious goodies, you can imagine how satisfying and scrumptious this tea party was!
While everything was delicious, this cookie caught my attention. It is an ancient recipe cooked for royalties of the bygone era. The recipe was inspired by the Roman statesman Cato, the elder as written in the cookbook The philospher's Kitchen. The recipe is from the book Cooking for Kings:The Life of Antonin Careme, the First Celebrity Chef by Ian Kelly.
Michelle used red grape juice instead of white and substituted ricotta cheese with yogurt. I liked the color and the flavor of the cookies and followed her changes.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter (at room temperature)
1/4 tspoon baking soda
1/4 tspoon anise seeds powder
1/2 cup red grape juice (add water if you need more for the dough)
1/2 cup yogurt (whipped)
2-3 bay leaf
pinch of salt
Break the bay leaves and soak them in olive oil. Set it aside. At the same time mix some sugar (I used about 2-3 tablespoons) and mix it in the yogurt. Alternatively, you can use flavored yogurt too.
Mix the egg and the butter till they mix well together. Then add the rest of the sugar whisking it constantly. Add flour, salt, spices and mix it well together. Then add the grape juice till it has a soft dough texture.
Make small balls from the dough and flatten them to a cookie shape. Create an indent in the middle and put a tspoon yogurt. Top it with bayleaf pieces.
Heat the oven to 325 deg f. Set the cookies on a tray and bake them for 15-20 min depending on your oven.
Serve warm with tea.
This is a special treat which we enjoyed on Meeta's Birthday and is going to lovely Meeta at What's for Lunch, Honey? for her Big Birthday Bang. Happy Birthday Meeta.