Cookies flavoured with cloves

Cloves are the immature unopened flower buds of a tropical tree. When fresh, they are pink; dried, they turn to a rust-brown colour. Measuring 12-16 mm long, they resemble small nails with a tapered stem. The large end of the clove is the four-pointed flower bud.

Cloves are best bought whole. As a powder, its flavour quickly deteriorates. Being extremely hard, it is difficult to grind cloves with a mortar and pestle; hence, an electric grinder is recommended. Store the spice in an airtight container out of direct light. As they can easily overpower a dish, particularly when ground only a few need be used. They are used in spice mixtures such as curry powder and pickling spices.

Medicinal properties

Traditional Chinese physicians use cloves to treat indigestion, diarrhoea, hernia, ringworm and athlete's foot. India's Ayurvedic healers have used cloves since ancient times to treat respiratory and digestive ailments. Clove oil is often used to relieve toothache. Essential oil of clove is effective against strep and staph bacteria. It is a powerful local antiseptic with a mild anaesthetic action.

Now, for a recipe.

Lemon Clove Cookies

Ingredients

Flour: 2 cups

Ground cloves: quarter teaspoon

Salt: one-eighth teaspoon

Butter or margarine, softened: three-fourth cup (one-and-a-half sticks)

Granulated sugar: 1 cup

Egg: 1

Pure lemon extract: half a tsp

Lemon Glaze:

Confectioner’s sugar: one-and-a-half cups

Water: 1 tbsp plus one tsp

Pure lemon extract: quarter tsp

Method: Mix flour, cloves and salt in a medium-sized bowl; set aside. Beat butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer run at medium speed, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Add egg and lemon extract; beat until well blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well-mixed.

Divide dough into half. Form each half into a log about one-and-a-half inches in diameter and 9 inches long. Wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for an hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Cut dough into quarter-inch thick slices. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for one minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

For the lemon glaze, mix confectioner’s sugar, water and lemon extract in a small bowl until well-blended. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Let the cookies stand until the glaze is set.

Executive Chef, Vivanta by Taj - Connemara

RELATED NEWS

Soup specialAugust 11, 2013

Going nuts?July 14, 2013

A melon of goodness June 30, 2013