Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Saturday, August 1, 2020
AUGUST COOKIE: ANSON MILLS WHOLE WHEAT, CARAWAY, TONY'S CHOCOLONELY 70% CHOCOLATE, TOASTED SESAME SOURDOUGH BAGUETTE PIECES & BENNE SEEDS
Benne was an essential medicinal and kitchen garden plant during our Colonial and Antebellum Eras. It was grown in all great Carolina kitchen gardens, in particular in the forbidden subsistence gardens of African slaves who brought benne to Carolina and introduced it to the region’s nascent rice culture and cuisine. Planted between field peas, corn, and other human food crops in late spring, and harvested in late summer, benne provided near magical enhancements by improving soil quality and protecting nearby plants from harmful pests. In those days, benne was grown specifically for its vital nutrients and culinary versatility.
When rice plantations transitioned their kitchen benne to commodity fields for commodity oil production, “benne” became “sesame.” As sesame, benne did not escape heavy pressure for yield, and Southern growers drifted away from an interest in the seeds’ culinary diversity, instead focusing exclusively on oil production. In time, raw benne seeds became nearly flavorless, and they were only slightly more interesting when toasted. In fact, modern American sesame bears no resemblance to Antebellum benne.
Much of benne’s unique flavor profile and nearly all of the extraordinary derivative foods associated with the seeds have been lost. Here are some examples: Benne leaves were cooked as soup greens and, if pounded prior to adding, worked as a thickener. Benne seeds, raw or toasted, were tossed into stock or water, their oil adding enrichment (the flavor impact in this application was thought to be extraordinary). A handful of benne seeds was simmered in water, and then the water poured into a pot with dry rice; the cooked rice possessed exceptional flavor—served with benne greens it was nearly perfect food. After the oil and water were poured off, the remaining seeds were dried and pounded in a mortar. The resulting flour was called bennecake (the term “bennecake” meant flour made from benne seeds after oil extraction). Bennecake, the central ingredient in benne bread, benne biscuits, and benne cakes, is powerful, its flavor reminiscent of toasted peanuts, but intertwined with a wildflower tang, and a sensation of verdancy and vigor.
Copyright Anson Mills 2020. All Rights Reserved
Friday, July 31, 2020
1 3/4 cups Hayden Flour Mills Emmer Farro flour (can be substituted with AP flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp Mill Pepper Co salt cured peppercorns
3 tbsp freshly grated turmeric
1 egg, room temp
1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dried banana slices, the chewy soft kind not freeze dried or hard.
I dehydrate my own bananas but you can get dried banana slices at most grocery stores and online.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Line two half sheet pans with silpat or parchment baking paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, sugar, turmeric and peppercorns.
Beat everything together on medium-high for 5 minutes. You want the mixture to double in size and become super fluffy.
Meanwhile whisk together flour, baking powder & soda, spices and salt.
Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat on medium high for 30 seconds to a minute, until everything is properly mixed.
Add flour mixture and beat again until combined. Finally add banana slices and mix everything one last time.
Scoop out the dough with a cookie/ice cream scooper, 6 on each sheet. This recipe makes approximately 10-12 cookies.
Bake for 11-13 min. They should be light brown on the edges.
(When trying out a new recipe I always bake one cookie before baking the whole tray to see if the dough maybe needs more flour, if the oven temp is correct etc.)
Let them cool down for 15 min before removing them from the pan.
Will keep for a week+ in an airtight bag or container.
You can also scoop out the dough and keep it in the freezer and bake a cookie whenever you feel like it. Just thaw it out for 30 minutes or so before popping it in the oven.