This weekend Dan and I are traveling to Bainsbridge, Pennsylvania so that he can complete his SCUBA training. He’ll be doing his checkout dives in a quarry, so we’re going to camp out and make a weekend out of it. I know I’ve talked a little on this site about my father’s dive charter and my family’s passion for diving. My dad and I got certified when I was 16 (it was my sweet 16th birthday present) and since my father and my brother Reid have become dive masters, I’m a rescue diver with dreams of doing my divemaster training (after the wedding maybe), and my brother Ryan, my sister Lauren, and my stepmom have all also gotten certified.
Diving is something Dan has been interested in doing since his boy scout days, so no matter what my sisters insist I promise I’m not making him get certified. I am, however, completely ecstatic that he wants to be a diver because it’s such a big part of my life, I can’t wait to share it with him. And since we have no plans to expand the size of our family (except maybe for a dog) anytime soon, I’m hoping we can spend the next 5-7 years taking trips together diving (especially to New Zealand).
Camping is also something that I love to do. I have a lot of really incredible family memories from our years of camping, from the night it rained so hard the 40 year old tent flooded and all six kids slept in the car to the amazing sand camping trip I took with a few of my siblings and my cousin all up and down the Outer Banks. Dan is an Eagle Scout and spent a few summers as a scout camp counselor, so it’s fair to say he is much more experienced in the world of wilderness than I am. Nonetheless, I have been excited about this particular trip since we signed Dan up for his open water class a few months ago. I’ve spent the week digging through our closet pulling out gear and planning.
We are going to be there for two lunches, one dinner, and one breakfast. Saturday night we’ll go out to dinner, which takes away from the whole wilderness thing but all the dive students go out with their significant others and their dive instructor (we’ll also be the only ones camping so naturally we’ll be the prettiest). I decided that I would make rosemary biscuits for Sunday morning so that we could have bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits (he’ll need the energy to dive and I’ll need the energy to sunbathe and read Harry Potter). I also wanted to bring a batch of cookies for snacking, on top of the fruit and granola bars. What is a camping trip without cookies?
I recently started receiving the Food Network magazine (which I love), and they had a recipe for Cardamom-Semolina shortbread cookies. My love for shortbread and shortbread cookies is no secret, and I love the flavor of cardamom, so I decided they would be perfect. I had never before worked with semolina flour, so I did a little research. Semolina flour is usually used for pastas, gnocchi, and couscous. It’s yellow in color and a little coarser than regular flour.
These cookies are delicious and easy to make. The recipe makes a bajillion (or 8 dozen), so you can halve it or freeze half of the dough. If you do decide to freeze the dough, wrap it in wax paper and then put it in a freezer bag. It’ll keep for a few months. The recipe calls for you to make a log, refrigerate it, and then slice and bake it. Cooling the dough allows them to keep their shape while they bake. Otherwise the butter would liquify and make one giant cookies. Believe me, Dan & I have made that mistake before. It also called for orange-flower water, which is not something I possess. It says you can substitute orange extract or orange liquor. I threw in some Triple Sec and for good measure added a tablespoon of orange blossom honey.
Oh! And as of today, Biscuits and Such is an official ISSN holding member of the Library of Congress! You can search for us with the ISSN number 1948-1128!!
Cardamom-Semolina Shortbread Cookies
Source: Adapted from Food Network Magazine, February/March 2009
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups semolina flour
2 tsp cardamom
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp orange liquor
1 tbsp orange blossom honey
1/4 cup sugar & 1/4 tsp cardamom for topping
Whisk together both flours and cardamom.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and salt. Mix it until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and when they’re fully incorporated, put away your mixer. Use a spatula to fold in the flour, and fold until it’s just mixed. Add the liquor and honey.
Divide the dough in half. Lay out a sheet of wax paper and dump half the dough onto it. Use the paper to form it into a log. Wrap it in paper and refrigerate. Repeat with the remaining dough. It needs to be in the fridge for about an hour.
Mix the remaining sugar and cardamom. Pull that dough log out and slice it into 1/4″ pieces. Dip the top of each cookie into the sugar mixture, and place on a baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes at 350.
Makes 8 dozen cookies.