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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Birds' Nests

Aaaargh, I missed a day of posting. First time in a long time. I could always turn back the time on this post by an hour, but I'm not gonna do that.

I was busy today with cookies. I made up the dough for Sugar Cookies, though I did not roll them out yet; the dough is now chilling, which is supposed to make it easier to roll out and work with. I also made a triple batch of my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (just the Nestlé Toll House Cookie recipe with generous portions of oatmeal and milk added). In between I made, for the first time, Birds' Nest cookies.

These cookies only vaguely resemble birds' nests. I was horrified earlier this year when I discovered (through an ad on another blog) that Chinese recipes like Bird's Nest Soup actually use real bird's nests. Yuccch.

Birds' Nests
(cookies)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. butter (two sticks, slightly softened - save wrappers to grease cookie sheets)
2/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks (cooked)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour (recipe calls for pastry flour, but all-purpose flour works fine)

Egg whites (uncooked) - as needed, probably at least two or three
Finely chopped Walnuts (slivered to the point of being powdered) - as needed, about one cup

Strawberry preserves (seedless)

1. Crumble egg yolks.
2. Using a fork, mix egg yolks with butter, sugar, vanilla, and flour. (Once you have these ingredients mooshed together, you'll probably want to finish blending the batter with a stout wooden spoon. Remember, electric mixers are the tools of the Devil.)
3. Beat egg whites slightly in a bowl. I would do this one at a time, to avoid using too many.
4. Roll dough into little balls about 3/4 of an inch to an inch in diameter.
5. Coat dough balls with egg whites by dipping or rolling them in the egg white bowl.
6. Roll the coated dough balls in the finely chopped walnuts.
7. Put the coated balls on greased cookie sheet.
8. Flatten each ball and make an indentation in the middle. The recipe says to do this with a thimble, but you can just use your pinkie.
9. Bake cookies about 10 - 15 minutes in 300 degree oven. Do not overbrown.
10. When you pull each cookie sheet out of the oven, check to see if your indentations are still there. If not, re-indent. Be careful not to burn yourself.
11. When cool, place a small dollop of preserves in the indentation in each cookie.
12. Chill to set.

4 comments:

joy said...

Yes, Bird's Nest Soup is made of real birds' nests. And not the nice twig-&-grass cups we think of. These are little mud cups attached to the sides of caves by a sort of cliff swallow. The nests are made of bird spit and...who knows what else? I imagine they look something like large mud-dauber wasp hives. One season on "The Amazing Race", the contestants had a challenge involving the scary process of climbing the ladders used to harvest these practically unreachable perches. Makes you wonder how hungry the first person that stewed and ate one of these nests must have been!

Harold, your COOKIES sound much more appetizing. Merry Christmas!
joy

Marc said...

I'm exhausted just reading the recipe for your cookies. Truffles are so much easier to make.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Yum!

Cooper Powell said...

my relatives on my mom's side of the family tried to make me eat it. i think i had the same problem at the time i heard it was bird spit. but for the sake of health, I am now taking it regularly.

btw, i don't buy the super-expensive kind like old people do. the ready-to-drink kind at the stores are pretty affordable. (e.g. www.geocities.jp/hongkong_bird_nest/index_e.htm)