I found Aran‘s beautiful award-winning blog, Cannelle et Vanille on the internet a few years ago. I fell in love with it for the first time. I remember I saved so many recipes to make them (I did a few of them! :)). Even though I love her gluten-free recipes and travel stories, I always go back to her blog because of the breathtaking photos. I learn so much about food styling and photograpy just looking at Aran’s pictures.
When I asked her to guest post on my blog I didn’t know how she will react. As I expected she was so nice and happy to help me out. She told me she was very busy with a big move (from Florida to Seattle) and travelling to teach at different workshops (one of my dreams is to participate in one!) but she would try her best!
Here she is sharing one of her cookie recipes from her first incredibly photographed cookbook, Small Plates & Sweet Treats. Aran says: “This shortbread gathers two of my favorite ingredients – pistachios and vanilla beans – in one treat. They are coated in powdered sugar while warm, which creates a slightly creamy coating. I make batch after batch of these during the holiday season. They are great to give as gifts.”
Pistachio & Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies
Ingredients (makes about 50 cookies)
– 1 cup (140 g) superfine brown rice flour
– 1/2 cup (80 g) potato starch
– 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (70 g) gluten-free oat flour
– 1/4 cup (30 g) tapioca starch
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup (80 g) unsalted natural pistachios
– 16 tablespoons (225 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
– 3/4 cup (90 g) powdered sugar, plus more for dusting, sifted
– 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
In a medium bowl, whisk toether the superfine brown rice flour, potato starch, oat flour, tapioca starch and salt. Measure 1 tablespoon of this flour mixture and add it to a food processor along with the pistachios. Pulse until the pistachios are ground to a fine powder.
Combine the soft butter, powdered sugar and vanilla seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on low speed for a few seconds so the powdered sugar doesn’t fly everywhere. Increase the speed to medium-high and cream together until light, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
Add the dry ingredients along with the ground pistachios to the mixer bowl. Mix until the dough comes together; it will be a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape it into a log that is approximately 13 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in parchment and roll it, trying to make it as round as possible. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the ovent to 180C (350F). Remove the dough form the refrigerator and unwrap it. Cut disks that are 1/4 inch thick. Place them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly golden on the bottom, but do not overbake, as they will become very hard. Let them cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Dust them with powdered sugar. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Interview to get to know Aran a bit more…
Where are you from? Where do you live?
A: I was born and raised in Bilbao in the Spanish Basque Country and I currently live in Seattle, Washington.
What is the name of your blog?
A: Cannelle et Vanille.
How long have you been blogging?
A: I started blogging in January 2008, so that if over 5 years.
When did you start cooking/baking?
A: I started cooking and baking very young as I grew up with grandparents who owned and operated a pastry shop. I remember being as young as 6 or 7 and helping my mom in the kitchen. In my late 20s I attended culinary school and worked as a professional pastry chef for 4 years until I had my first son.
Who (where) did you learn cooking/baking from?
A: I learned to cook from my mother and grandmother and to bake from my uncles and grandfather who were all pastry chefs. We lived across the street from the pastry shop so I spent most of my time there with the smell of cinnamon, vanilla, simmering milk and fermenting yeast.
What is your signature dish?
A: Oh that’s hard to answer. My friends really appreciate my baking skills, but they usually ask me to make them tortilla de patatas, which is a traditional Spanish omelet with potatoes, onions and eggs.
What is your favourite vegetarian/vegan meal?
A: I love lentils and I make them all the time for my family, so I would probably say that lentil soup with lots of root vegetables and kale or Swiss Chard is one of my favorite meals. I love soups in general – anything I can eat with a spoon I love.
Where do you get inspiration from?
A: From many different places… the farmers market, restaurants where I eat, cookbooks, other makers and artists, ceramics… It’s endless.
What was the most memorable food you have eaten during your travels?
A: I absolutely loved the last meal I had at Martin Berasategui’s restaurant outside of San Sebastian a few months ago. It took my breath away.
Name three things you always have in your fridge!
A: Eggs, some kind of green like kale or Swiss Chard, and plain yogurt.
Is there a food that always reminds you of home?
A: Yes, tortilla de patatas, leeks and potato soup, arroz con leche…
What would people be surprised to find in your kitchen? Is there anything you want to share?
A: When I have chicken feet in my freezer I know it’s going to be a good day. The best stock to be made.
All photos are courtesy of Aran Goyoga.