Hazelnut and Jam Cookies
Time has flown, as always. It's already almost the end of April and spring is slowly blossoming, with the temperature still chilly but beautiful sunny days. Museums and cinemas haven't opened yet, so when I can, I simply wander around the city without a predefined destination, like a flâneur of the new millennium. I take this opportunity to re-discover my own city and breathe in details and perspectives I hadn't noted before.
Venice, in fact, is a place that, despite its small size, has the capacity of never ceasing to surprise. I am taking advantage of this imposed situation because I am well aware it won't last long and I have no idea of what tomorrow holds. As you know, Venice has been deteriorated by mass and over tourism, and many of us 'normal-income' people were hoping that the pandemic would have made it easier to find a house and that working activities could be reconverted and addressed to 'people' rather than just to 'tourists'. This, though, has not happened. I know it's a sad issue, and I don't want to make you sad... but I can't even deny reality. After over one year of pandemic... the resident population has decreased (we are now less than 51.000) and the mayor is already trying to make cruise ships return to the lagoon, ignoring the Government's decision to ban them....
So... what should I do? Either I bang my head against a wall... or I try to concentrate on more pleasant things, like art, photography, and ... baking, a life-saving activity! I must thank my tiny electrical oven for providing me with numerous distractions and flavourful compensations ;-) The latest entry are these delicious Hazelnut and Jam cookies, a sort of revisited version of the Austrian linzer cookies*.
* (I followed -and must credit- the recipe of the Italian blog Ricette e Vicende, simply replacing buckwheat flour with 00 flour).
Sometimes I have the impression that here, many property and business owners are just waiting for things to go back to normal... Of course, I don't know what is going to happen, but I think the world won't ever be like it was before. It has already changed, and there will be greater changes. Even the way we travel and our needs are different... so, I am quite disappointed that in Venice people are still talking about turning the former Lido hospital into a Club Mediterranee (in 2021????? ridiculous...), welcoming the seas monsters into the Bacino San Marco and seeing them as a positive sign for the recovery of the touristic industry, and managing all these Airbnbs (over 8.000) in an entrepreneurial way (not to mention the over 4.000 properties of the municipality destined to public housing BUT closed, not assigned to anyone, with the blinds shut). I laugh when foreigners say there is no plan for the future of Venice... because, to my eyes, the plan exists and it is a very clear one.
Despite all these challenges, I still have hopes. There are some individuals that are working really hard for this city and the new generation -in general, not just here- seems more sensitive towards environmental and social problems, after all... they are the ones who are paying the consequences of our behaviour and, rightly, they want to do all that is in their power to avoid further 'pandemics' or other global emergencies. In Italy we say 'chi vivrà, vedrà' (those who shall live, will see...) and so, for now, I am in between the position of a spectator and a silent activist. Okay, well... I'm not really an activist, but if society values me only as a consumer, my choices will be very clear and aimed at supporting only certain types of businesses. I won't change the world alone, but I can still make decisions and practice virtuous behaviours, and I hope you will too. It is not for me to say what type of accommodation, or restaurant, or shop, you should choose when visiting us again, but of course I do hope your choices shall be sustainable.
I am sorry to be so straightforward, but... you know me, it's just the way I am! And don't think I have forgotten about the promised new content with artisan and art stories, my appointments have only been postponed, but there will be some news soon! Meanwhile, have a nice day and enjoy these incredibly flavourful cookies!
HAZELNUT AND JAM COOKIES
Prep. time: 10' / Cook time: 20'
125 gr ground hazelnuts
125 gr flour mix (half 00 flour, half spelt flour)
100 gr brown sugar
4 gr baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
30 gr honey
20 gr olive oil
a pinch of salt
jam of choice
Roughly chop the hazelnuts, toast, and grind into flour.
Combine in a bowl with the rest of the dry ingredients.
In a cup, amalgamate oil and honey, and add to the dry ingredients.
Start working the dough with one hand, and now add the slightly beaten egg.
Work the dough with your hands until you shape a ball. Cover in film.
Let sit in the fridge for half an hour.
Divide the dough in half, roll out each half into a rectangle in between two sheets of parchment paper (remember to use corn flour so the dough does not attach).
Spread the jam, and roll gently like if it were a strudel.
Bake at 160° in fan mode for 20 minutes.
Cut the roll into cookies when ready, and let cool.
Best eaten the following day. Excellent for dipping.