Outside our new house the blue sky expands over my head and the sun shines on bare tree branches. Beyond the pine trees I can just make out the Salmon Falls River. Inside I snuggle my sleeping son in the warmth of our wood stove while my daughter is at pre-K down the road. This afternoon we will stroll down to our local library – a sunny kids’ section in a church that has newly been remodeled into a library – where we spend many hours coloring, playing, reading, talking to new friends. After that we might go to one of the shops on Main Street. (The new fabric store is exciting for Imogen.) Or maybe we will meet friends at the park, even in the cold. We are likely to run into at least one person we know on every outing: one of the unexpected benefits of living in a small town. We will come home to toast and art projects while Rhys naps.
These details of our new life in Maine make me happy.
There are, of course, plenty of struggles over sharing: both toys and attention. And upsets over spills and “ruined” projects. We talk about Winchester and Gretchen the green bus. And I miss the cathedral and the river walk. But my days here and full of kids, friends, trees, geese heading south and the long low whistle of Amtrak trains. I missed Maine. I am glad to be home.
And so for a taste of home I made these spritz cookies. Buttery, sweet and very light, they disappear fast. As it is Christmas I have made these sweeter than I might have otherwise. They have turned out so good I don’t think anyone would notice the lack of refined sugar or the whole wheat flour.
Adapted from the Joy of Baking
225g unsalted butter (2 sticks will be close enough this amount)
2 eggs yolks
1&1/2 tsp vanilla extract
260g whole wheat flour (Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour works well).
1/4 tsp salt
Leave butter out to soften for several hours. By hand or with beaters cream butter till fluffy. Add honey and beat well. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat well. Mix in flour and salt with a wooden spoon.
Scoop into a spritz cookie machine and press onto the baking tray according to your machine’s instructions.
Bake at 350F / 180C for 8-10 minutes depending on the shape,* until the edges are golden brown. Remove to racks and cool. They will firm up as the cool.
*Shapes that are very delicate have not held together for me – so skip ones with holes in the middle. Christmas trees or snow flakes are good.