â€œIt doesnâ€™t feel like Christmasâ€ I think out loud watching fat globs of rain slide down the window, itâ€™s dark outside, on what feels like the greyest day.
K. slides the window open, sniffs the air and declares â€œIt doesnâ€™t smell like Christmas either!â€
And what does Christmas smell like? I donâ€™t knowâ€¦ Pine and falling snowflakes, the lingering smell of warm cookies, crackling fireplaces and mulling spicesâ€¦
Itâ€™s also the smell of the dry harmattan wind and the countless trips through the Akuapim ranges to my grandmotherâ€™s. Thereâ€™s the smell of jollof over an open fire and my grandmotherâ€™s bakingâ€¦ all these things encapsulates the smell of Christmas for me.
A few Christmases ago, when we had a rare and enchanting white Christmas, @adjoa swore she could smell joy in the crisp air. I knew exactly what she meant; itâ€™s that same feeling I get when I bake, it reminds me of my grandmotherâ€™s cakes at Christmas time and that makes me happy.
Weâ€™re counting down to Christmas, but there’s no urgency here, we have a cute advent calendar and a â€˜baking listâ€™; on it, are recipes for cookies, cakes, pies and galettes.
First on our list are these pistachio and fig thumbprint cookies; weâ€™ll probably make a few more batches before the holidays are over. Theyâ€™re my favourite cookies right now, and everyone loves them â€“ theyâ€™re vegan and gluten-free (I use â€˜gluten-free oatsâ€™).
The oats and pistachios, I grind myself using a food processor, Iâ€™ve used raw and roasted pistachios, both work but I prefer raw pistachios, the roasted ones are a but drying. I get the almond meal from the store, but I can easily make that too.
For the holidays I use spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger for the wonderful smells and flavours of the season.
I grab a couple of the cookies, with a steaming cup of hot cocoa, watch the twinkling lights and patiently, very patiently wait for Christmas morning.
Oh, thereâ€™ll be more baking in between â€“ delightful scones and shortbread cookies, decadent cakes and luscious sweet pies. I’m creating more cosy holiday smells for my memory bank.
Pistachio and Fig Thumbprint Cookies
- 2 cups oat flour (ground oats)
- 1 cup ground almond
- 1 cup ground pistachios
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (like canola or safflower oil)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave syrup
- Fig jam/preserve or your preferred jam/preserve
- Preheat the oven to 350Â°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
- In a large bowl, mix the oat flour, ground almond, ground pistachios, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt with a wooden spoon
- Add the vegetable oil and maple syrup and mix until well combined
- Form the dough into rounded tablespoon-sized balls and space them evenly on the baking sheet.
- Use your index finger or the end of a wooden spoon to make an indentation and fill each cookie with a small amount of the fig jam
- Bake until cookies are evenly browned, about 20 minutes