Parshat Pinchas Inspiration:
“And on the beginning of your months (each new month, or Rosh Chodesh, is a minor holiday) … On the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, a Passover offering … On the fifteenth day of this month, a festival … And in the seventh month, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. It shall be a day of shofar sounding for you (Rosh Hashanah) … the new month and its meal offering … And on the tenth day of this seventh month, there shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall afflict your souls (Yom Kippur) … And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work, and you shall celebrate a festival to the Lord (Sukkot) …”
Eight times “month” is mentioned this week, and the calendar is spelled out according to months. And how were months determined by the Sanhedrin? By witnessed sightings of a crescent moon. So I made melt-in-your-mouth Almond Crescent Cookies!
Almond Crescent Cookies
- 1 cup margarine, room temperature
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- ¼ cup powdered sugar for sprinkling
Heat the oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy and volume has increased significantly. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat again briefly.
Add the flour and almond flour and mix in at low speed until fully incorporated.
Scoop out a generous tablespoonful of dough and roll it into a ball (about an inch in diameter). Gently shape it into a crescent. The dough will be a little crumbly and this takes patience—don’t be discouraged if you have to try a few times to get it to a shape you are happy with (or you could just make full moons).
Place it onto the parchment paper and repeat until the baking sheet is full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until you can see the bottom of the cookie starting to brown.
Remove from the oven, set the pan on a cooling rack, and immediately dust with powdered sugar. When the cookies are cool, remove from the baking sheet and turn them over to dust them with powdered sugar to cover the bottoms, too.
Parshiot Matot-Masei Inspiration:
“The Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan … You shall clear out the Land and settle in it, for I have given you the Land to occupy it … You shall give the Land as an inheritance to your families...’”
Naturally, I made Jordan Almonds. I’m not a confectioner, so let’s just say that they have a photogenic side.
- ½ lb. of whole raw or blanched almonds
- 1⅓ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 egg white
- Dash of vanilla extract
- Food coloring (I used blue and green to make it suggest river)
- A few drops of warm water if the mixture is too thick.
Heat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. You will also need a fork and toothpick.
Spread the almonds out on a baking sheet. When the oven is at temperature, toast the almonds for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. You can turn the oven off.
Using the paddle of a stand-mixer, beat the egg whites with the powdered sugar together until the mixture is thick.
Sprinkle in the cream of tartar and vanilla and beat again briefly. Add food coloring and mix again. If the mixture is too thick and doesn’t drip a little (texture of a bundt cake glaze, but should be completely opaque) add a few drops of water and mix again.
Prepare a cool, clean baking sheet to receive the candies almonds.
Dunk a few almonds into the coating mixture. Use a fork to remove each almond individually, drain off excess coating and push the almond off the fork onto parchment paper using a toothpick. Allow to dry (about an hour, maybe more).