This is a cocktail that I stumbled upon creating sometime last summer. Having bought a fancy cocktail book for a friend’s birthday and subsequently thumbing through it, I happened upon a recipe for a cocktail featuring gin, St Germain (an expensive but delicious elderflower liqueur), and grapefruit zest. We made it, and the cocktail was incredible. But ooh-wee, it is a potent assembly, and while the flavors scream for summer, the sippability of it combined with its predilection to warm up quickly on a hot summer day drove me to adjust, tweak, and tone down/amp up this cocktail to a more accessible format. I have found that in most recipes calling for St Germain, other types of elderflower syrups can be used. I have gotten a fancy Italian one at the food importer downtown Seattle, and then happened upon elderflower syrup at none other than Ikea. And it was only $4.99 instead of $35 plus the relevant local taxes. So for all purposes, I stick with elderflower syrup instead of elderflower liqueur. But this cocktail is also incredible with the St Germain, so by all means if that’s your jam (also easier to find at any liquor store vs a trip to Ikea or a fancy food importer), go with the St Germain. Also, this cocktail is pretty easy to mix up and prep ahead of time and then just assemble as people ask for them.
The Fortune Teller (makes 1)
A friend was having a birthday brunch/football game gathering over the weekend. It was a combination of fancy brunch and football game. That’s a potentially tough line to walk. You don’t want something that’s too fussy or fancy, but you also don’t want to do something that doesn’t honor the birthday girl and brunch aspect of the event, like a 7 layer dip. Also, I love tiny food. And I had some homemade puff pastry thawing in the fridge. In my searching, I found a recommendation for monte cristo sandwiches, and decided to run with the idea, making a monte cristo inspired palmier, which is essentially just a puff pastry “rollup” that’s sliced thinly and then baked. And these are seriously a breeze to make.
Monte Cristo Palmiers (makes 24)
I am in full-on holiday food hoarding mode. This usually manifests in me taking a few days off work in mid-December and burning myself out on baking for the remainder of the winter. This year has been an interesting shift. I have been hoarding appetizers. You know those things that you buy at Trader Joes and like to have around in case you have guests over? Well I’m making them from scratch! So far I have mushroom strudel and black pepper-parmesan-rosemary crackers, prepared and ready to bake off at a moment’s notice. But I had my cookie press out for the cheesy crackers, and the good folks at Midori Spring sent me a tin of their fancy ceremonial grade matcha powder, and I have been dying to try baking with matcha, so I got crazy and made some festive Midori Spring Matcha Spritz Cookies. If you haven’t had Spritz cookies before, they are little cookies that are shaped when the dough is pressed out of a cookie press through different shaped plates that will give you fun shaped dough without the fuss of rolling and cookie cutters.
Matcha (Green Tea Powder) Spritz Cookies
Full disclosure – I was given this matcha powder in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions and statements above are my own.