Anyroo, it's our dear friend K, in Mexico City! He has been reading the Ao4 Digest and said he really liked the cute poses we've shown. K has a GREAT one of his own and shared it with us. Check it out:Oooooohhhhhhhh! Who could EVER deny that handsome guy anything? Look at that face... those gorgeous eyes... that gumdrop nose.... *sigh*
In other news of the day.... does everypuppy know that tomorrow is Saint Nicholas Day?!? Our parents learned all about how Belgians celebrate St. Nicholas Day when they lived in ... well, in Belgium. :) One of the traditions is that on St. Nicholas' Eve (tonight!) you leave your wooden shoes on the hearth - usually with treats for St. Nic's horse. If you've been good, he will leave you treats - especially a delightful spice cookie called "Speculoos"! YUM!
For some really wonderful information about Saint Nicholas and his special day, please visit this link. It explains traditions from all over the world!
Mom makes wonderful Speculoos and we help her! Here is Dave, at left, with the sabots (wooden shoes) and a Speculoos board. (Speculoos are a molded cookie, pressed into a carved board!) Hmm... there don't seem to be any treats for St. Nicholas' horse in those sabots, Dave! Oh well. I'm not sure if you can see it, but that board is from Belgium, and it has a hand-carved St. Nicholas on it! I hope maybe he'll leave us special things in the sabots tonight!
At right are some Speculoos mom made last year in a mold that looked like a hound! For anypuppy who likes to help in the kitchen, here is mom's favorite recipe for Speculoos - all the way from Belgium!
Speculoos - or Speculaas - are claimed by both the Belgians and the Dutch. Since I (mom-o-the-Ao4) bought my boards in Belgium from a man from the Netherlands..... I won't take sides. :) Either way you bake them, they're a wonderfully spicy treat! A great cookie to have with a cup of strong coffee! Or, yes, Zim... some cappuccino.
• 3 cups flour• 1 1/2 cups butter• 1 1/2 cups brown sugar• 1/4 tsp. salt• 1/4 tsp. baking powder (or hartshorn)• 1 tsp. cloves• 3 tsp. cinnamon• 1 tsp. nutmeg• milk, as needed (6 T)• slivered almonds
Oil your wooden speculoos board if using it for the first time. Sprinkle with flour; shake off excess. Knead all ingredients except almonds together, until they make a ball. Press part of the dough in the mold. Cut extra dough away with a sharp knife or string. Holding your right hand at the top of the board, slam it down. The figure will fall out... hopefully... Place cookie on a buttered baking sheet. Decorate with almonds, if desired. Bake in a "moderate" oven (350) 15-25 minutes until brown.
You can also finely chop the almonds and add them to your dough. Also... you
can try cutting the butter to 1 cup and adding an egg.
Thank roo, Mom, for sharing the recipe! Dave is SURE St. Nicholas will bring him something wonderful if he helps bake Speculoos! :) As they say in southern Belgium ... BON APPETIT ... or is that SMAKELIJK ETEN for those in the north?!??! :)
I hope Saint Nicholas brings everypuppy something wonderful!