Suzanne Goin's Braised Leeks
A Menu for Hope II

Nigella Lawson's Cinnamon Squares



These little friandises are courtesy of Nigella Lawson's most recent piece in the New York Times about the simplicity of no-roll crusts. The cookie is a cinnamon-scented shortbread slicked with a glaze that's been punched up with even more cinnamon. The cookies are warm with spice and crumbly from the butter and powdered sugar. As Nigella says, they're perfect with tea in the afternoon.

Two nights ago, as leeks braised in the oven and my last round of CSA potatoes boiled away on the stove, I set about making the cinnamon squares. For the first time, my Robot Coupe was employed! It was quite a moment we had together. I think it's my new best friend. The dough is incredibly easy - it comes together in seconds, then all you do is pat it out in a pan (I used a 10-in round cake pan, ungreased) and put it in an oven until the shortbread's firm and toasty.

I couldn't justify buying a whole tin of Lyle's for the one tablespoon required in the glaze, so I substituted honey (you could also use maple syrup). The glaze was warm and drippy at first, then firmed up with an opaque sheen. Oddly enough, the texture of the shortbread and the glaze was much improved by an overnight nap.

Nigella is a heroine to many, and as I've mentioned before, a personal favorite. I like her self-deprecating style; it makes everything in the kitchen seem more attainable. Sometimes, though, her I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing-in-the-kitchen-but-that's-okay-sisters-just-throw-caution-to-the-wind-shtick feels a little overdone. It's just a minor bit of peevishness on my behalf, and obviously not a real critique, but I wonder if there isn't a new way of approaching easy cooking in the meantime.