‘Tis the season for lounging about on the grass. There’s nothing like getting down low on a blanket under a leafy canopy, or a starry sky, or an illuminated cityscape and just … being. It’s even better if food is within lazy reach.
Last weekend I did some serious lollygagging. I can justify this because there was some serious high-minded expression of artistic talent going on not too far away.
First up, was Shakespeare on the Common. I was a little hesitant about this. Even though I was an English major, I lived in England, and I’ve even been to the Globe Theatre, the Bard can be kind of hit or miss with me.
But, wow. Othello had me at “‘Tis better as it is.” If you live near Boston, pack your picnic basket and go now, there are a few days left of the performance. Seth Gilliam from “The Wire” will rock you as Othello and Marianna Bassham as Desdemona is outstanding. Takeway: If you marry a military man who exhibits symptoms of PTSD do not honeymoon in a war zone. And keep your handkerchief under your control at all times.
Two nights later, I was in bucolic Lenox, Mass., at Tanglewood. You could go to this magical place and not even hear music and still be transformed by its wide lawns, towering trees, and distant views of blue hills. But, lucky us, Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble happened to be there, too. Takeaway: You can travel to distant lands without even getting up from your seat.
My contribution to all of this was Jam Sandwich Cookies. And in my humble opinion, they almost stole the show, twice. Truly, these are great to pack up and take along. They travel well, temper any tragedies you may be exposed to, and because they are sandwiches you can have eight cookies by tricking yourself into thinking that you are really only having four. Besides, the shows can be long and you need to keep your energy up.
I used apricot preserves, but you can choose whatever you like, maybe even use a variety of flavors. In case you are thinking, “I just don’t have time to make cookies from scratch,” I rose at 5:45 a.m. to start these and was only about 1/2 hour late for work. See? No problem. Totally worth it. Do it. Bravo. Now pass the cookies.
A burst of energy followed by extreme laziness
3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces fruit preserves
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two pans with parchment paper, set aside.
For the dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat in the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla and continue beating until the mixture is smooth. Divide the dough in half and chill for 15 minutes. Using two more pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough.
Cut out cookies using 2-inch cutters. Bake on lined pans until edges are golden, about 7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Sandwich 1 teaspoon jam between 2 cookies. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Hit the road.
Recipe from: “Country Living: Eating Outdoors“