Thursday, September 8, 2016

Orange Shortbreads for a #CooktheBooks and #FoodnFlix joint event

My friend Debra of Eliot's Eats is hosting both Cook the Books and Food n Flix this period.  For CtB she invited us to read  The Secret Life of Frida Kahlo and for FnF she invited us to watch the film Frida.

images taken from Google images
I must confess that before these events I had never even heard of Frida Kahlo before these announcements and from the excitement of others in the groups I think I am the only one that was out of the loop.

In the book, a novel based on a diary of sorts that was discovered holding Frida's notes and recipes was a little confusing to me.  It started during the 1920's in Mexico when Frida was a young college student who had just discovered the painter, Diego Rivera.  Shortly thereafter she is involved in a horrendous accident that nearly costs her her life but she makes a "deal with death" and the story goes on to cover the remainder of her life.  The book was filled with surrealism and magic.  It was hard for me to determine what was based on true fact and what was just the author's wonderful imagination. The book takes you through the tumultuous relationship between Kahlo and Rivera.  It blends politics and historical figures but I have no idea if these figures really had a relationship with Frida.  I enjoyed the book but I was left wanting to know more about the "true" Frida Kahlo.

I liked the movie, starring Selma Hayek and Alfred Molina, more than the book.  It is said to be the "true story" of the lives of Frida and Diego.  The movie did have some surrealism but mostly it portrayed, very well, the eccentricities and the upheavels in the marriage between the two.  It also touched on several affairs in which each had been involved that correlated with the novel.  While the book left me feeling ambivelant towards Frida and Diego, the movie had me wishing I had known them.  It portrays humanness at it's best and at it's worst with love that endures throughout a lifetime of anger, jealousy, heartbreak and tragedy.

I had chosen the recipe I was going to make early in the reading of the novel.  The novel did contain recipes in the body of the story as well as recipes recreated to be user friendly at the back of the book. This recipe was not one of those reproduced by the author, however it spoke to me as it was Frida's childhood favorite....before the accident, before her marriage, before life turned south on her.

These cookies were left for Frida by her eldest sister, Matilde, who was estranged from the family. Matilde was never mentioned in the movie so I don't know if she really existed or if she really left these cookies for Frida.  In the novel, a note was attached "I made you some shortbreads, because you gave yours to that rebel".

I did not follow the directions in the novel but I did grab the idea to create these cookies from those in the book.



I adapted this recipe from epicurious.com, cutting them into rounds instead of making bars so that they more closely resembled those spoken of in the novel. I also used the zest of a Mandarin orange, since that was what I had on hand and added a little pure orange extract. I adjusted the baking time to allow for the difference in size ( I thought) but evidently I still kept them in too long at 10 minutes.


They weren't burnt but they were very brown on the edges.  I adjusted the recipe I am sharing for a bake time of 8 minutes, but keep an eye on them.


I dipped the cookies in tempered dark chocolate because I LOVE citrus and chocolate and I wanted to cover the darkened areas of the cookies.


They were still absolutely delicious and looked nice enough to serve to guests with coffee after dinner.

I am also linking up over at Foodies Read 2016 where we share all of our food related reads each month.

Polvorones de naranja (Orange Shortbreads)
inspired by The Secret Life of Frida Kahlo
adapted from epicurious.com

1 stick butter, room temperature
1/4 c. sugar
zest of 1 Mandarin Orange (Clementine)
1/4 t. pure orange extract (optional)
dash of salt
1 c. flour
1 (3 oz) bar dark chocolate (I used Ghiradelli, 60% cacoa)

In small bowl of stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, zest and salt.  Sift the flour over the butter mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  Add the extract and mix in completely.  Roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness, cut into 2" rounds and place onto a baking sheet covered with parchment or a silicone baking pad.  You should have 12 cookies.  Place cookies on baking pan into the refrigerator while oven preheats to 375*.  Bake cookies for 8 minutes, until light golden brown.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.  While cookies are cooling temper the chocolate by breaking it into small pieces.  Place 2/3 of the chocolate in a double boiler over hot, not boiling water.  Stir constantly until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the remaining chocolate until smooth.  Dip cookies into the melted chocolate and place onto the cooled baking pan still covered with parchment.  Drizzle remaining chocolate over the cookies, if desired.  Place cookies in the refrigerator until chocolate is set. Print Recipe




24 comments:

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    1. They were Yvonne, even though they were slightly overbaked.

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  2. I haven't posted mine yet, but this was what I made, too. :)

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  3. I make a similar cookie at Christmas and I get so many compliments that people just love orange and chocolate! I love this idea for the books and flix- sounds fun!

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    1. You should join us. Check out the links above for more information.

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  4. I love chocolate and citrus! The cookies look so elegant. A wonderful recipe. The story sounds fascinating!

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    1. Yes, I was pleased with how they turned out. Just wish I would have taken them from the oven a smidge sooner.

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  5. I love this recipe, Wendy. Citrus and chocolate is a favorite combo here too. Thanks for posting and glad you were introduced to Frida.

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    1. They were Heather. I'm glad the recipe only makes a dozen because it is hard to have any will power with them

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  7. So cool you read the book and saw the film. And great recipe, these orange polvorones look delicious!

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    1. They were Evelyne and I was happy that I got to experience the story in the different medias.

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  8. I love that you brought such a delicious desert to the table! Will be making those soon.

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  9. Your shortbreads look amazing, Wendy! I, too, thought the book was rather confusing!

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    1. Thanks Amy, I was glad to see I wasn't the only one who had a difficult time with the book.

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  10. Yum! chocolate, orange and shortbread--all of my favorite flavors. I didn't try to tackle the book--good for you!

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    1. Yes, I'm glad I read the book but I didn't enjoy it near as much as the movie.

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  11. These look amazing! I chose a dessert too

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    1. Yes your brownies looked wonderful. I hope you had a great time in France....color me green with envy.

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  12. Melting chocolate and dipping into it is one thing I love to do in the kitchen, especially at the end of the day: it's relaxing and I get to clean to bowl :) I usually dip pecans, but orange-flavored cookies sound wonderful too. Great choice!

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    1. Thanks Simona...one of the perks of being a food blogger.

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