No, that’s not a black-and-white filter. That was my city in the snow a few days ago! Snow here is a pretty rare sight… Israel has got a tropical weather that’s mostly hot. You wouldn’t know it was ever here, either, looking out the window today. To make my point…
The university promptly called a Snow Day and even though both Mr. Graceful and I had work to do, we made up every excuse we could, put on our boots, and went to play in the snow. It was the merriest I had ever seen my street.
T”u B’Shvat is the exact middle of the fifth month in the Jewish lunar calendar, and it was chosen to mark the “Tree Holiday,” or a birthday for nature.
It’s always strange to me because a birthday for nature or for trees always makes me think of Spring, when actually it is still very much winter (see secondphoto). I guess the forefathers of Judaism understood that nature begins renewing itself long before we ever get to see the first signs of renewal. It was originally set as the end of one agricultural year and the beginning of another.
On this holiday, it is customary to plant trees and eat nuts and dried fruits – the first symbolizing the beginning of a new year of growth, and the latter to symbolize enjoying the fruits of the past year.
This year, this wonderful and happy holiday comes out this Saturday! These cookies are perfect for that occasion, great as a healthier option to bring to parties, and are generally just one of those things that are so satisfying to find in the cookie jar when you are looking for something sweet and crunchy to go with your morning coffee. They are very easy and quick to prepare, as you will soon see. Although not a meal, the recipe is definitely student-approved as it requires no special ingredients or utensils (a toaster oven would work well instead of a full-on, hardcore family oven, but you will probably have to bake one pan at a time – depending on the size of the oven).
This is a recipe my mother got from her mother, my grandmother. I think it was originally meant to be a fruitcake, but my mom divides it into pans and so it bakes through and becomes crunchy cookies.
Fruity, Nutty, Energy Cookies:
Serves: Makes about 30 cookies
Estimated Time: 10 minute Prep + 15 minute bake
Kosher Classification: Neutral
1 cup raisins
1 cup nuts of choice, whole (I like mixing a few kinds)
4 Tbs. brown sugar
7 Tbs. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Line two loaf pans (about 11 x 3 inch) with baking parchment paper. Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. If you don’t have a really, really good sharp serrated knife to cut the cookies with later, I suggest you coarsely chop the nuts before mixing them in. If you do have such a knife, however, using the nuts whole gives the cookies a nicer look, since you are slicing right through the nuts. The choice is yours.
The “batter” will seem to be a bit dry in the beginning but that is the way of these cookies.
Just keep mixing until uniform.
Divide between the pans and smooth tops. Because this batter is basically mostly chunks of nuts and raisins, “smoothing the top” won’t be as easy as smoothing the top of a mousse cake. But worry not, it’s not difficult! Just press the batter down with a spoon, squishing it towards the bottom while at the same time spreading it along the bottom of the pan. Since the bottoms of pans vary in size, the batter may not cover the entire bottom. That’s alright, just make sure the batter is the right thickness when you’re done “smoothing” it – less than 1/2 inch, or 1.5 cm.
Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool completely before attempting to cut into bars with a very sharp, serrated knife.
- Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) and line two long loaf pans (11 x 3 inch) with parchment paper.
- Mix nuts (1 cup), raisins (1 cup), flour (7 Tbs), sugar (5 Tbs) and (2) eggs in a mixing bowl until uniform.
- Divide between the two pans and smooth tops.
- Bake for 15 minutes and let cool completely before slicing with a very sharp serrated knife.