|images taken from Google images
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