We have guests arriving today! So I baked cookies last night. Because what says "Welcome!" (and please to ignore my slightly dusty house with carpet that needs to be steam cleaned,) than the smell of warm, spicy recently baked cookies? Nothing, that's the answer, nothing, except maybe cold beer and a hug. But we've got those too, for back up. Joe's parents are coming to stay this weekend. And I'm going to feed them good. Sherry always has some fattening and gooey dessert for our visits, so I went with sweet, spicy, and buttery treats for their visit.
I was aimlessly and hungrily browsing through my Google reader a few weeks ago, reading The Kitchn feed and was delighted to come across this recipe for Mrs. Bean's Famous Nutmeg Ginger Apple Snaps. You might wonder why I would be so delighted to come across yet another cookie recipe. But this is not your standard cookie recipe. This one was inspired by the charming, sweet and feral adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, that Wes Anderson made a couple of years ago.
I've seen this movie several times, might have accidently borrowed my brother-in-law's copy much longer than he had authorized, but it entranced me, much as most Roald Dahl stories do. The rich, detailed harvest colors fill the screen with warmth, the stop action animation has staggering details, intricate costumes and perfect voices from the likes of Meryl Streep, Michael Gambon and Jason Schwartzman. The movie follows the adventures of Mr. Fox, voiced by George Clooney, and his family and friends as they steal, fight, struggle to survive and sneak about the three properties of Boggis, Bunce and Bean. These are eloquent, erudite and philosophical animals. These are urbane accountants, artists, writers, and doctors, but they are still animals. One of my very favorite scenes in this movie involves Mrs. Bean's cookies. The two youngest Fox children, Mr. Fox's son and nephew, are sneaking into Mrs. Bean's kitchen to rescue their father's beautiful tail, it's been shot off (long story) when they come across a plate of freshly baked Nutmeg Ginger Apple Snaps. These are glistening, sparkly beautiful cookies. You can smell them through the screen. And do they each stop and take a delicate nibble on a cookie? No, god, no, these are animals, they throw themselves into the pile of cookies and nash and snap and gnaw and crunch in a vicious frenzy until those cookies are demolished and only a pile of crumbs remain. These are foxes, hungry little foxes. And they like cookies.
I think my cookies turned out quite well. The house smells divine. The cookies are spicy and sweet, but I'm not sure about the recipe. They aren't really snappy or crispy. They resemble more of a ginger shortbread. And based on the ingredients that makes sense. That's a lot of butter in there, a lot. But they are beautiful and the thin apple slice pressed in the top is juicy and flavorful. They have a little sparkle from the dusting of sugar and they have that dark molasses flavor that I adore. I hear that Mario Batali made a version of the official cookies for the movie, so I might try that recipe next time. I want that crunchy snap. But I plan to eat my cookie a little more delicately than the foxes, certainly in front of my in-laws at least, maybe I'll even use a napkin.