Friday, April 13, 2012

Lebkuchen á lá Heléne

This is a recipe that I've developed over the past few years.  I make it at Christmas time, usually.  The spices and candied peel give the cookies an exotic flair while the rum in the glaze makes it a cookie more for adults than kids.  You can leave it out if you wish.   

 Lebkuchen á lá Heléne
  •  150 g sugar (300g if not using SPLENDA)
  •     30 g Splenda
  •     150 g unsalted Butter, softened
  •     1 Tbn unsulphered Molasses
  •     1 Tbn Vanilla extract
  •     3 eggs, lightly beaten
  •     2 Tbn Rum or equivalent amount of rum extract
  •     ½ tsn ground clove
  •     ½ tsn ground cinnamon
  •     ½ tsn ground ginger
  •     1 tsn lemon extract or lemon zest
  •     Pinch to 1/4 tsn of Cardamom
  •     60 g candied lemon peel (chopped small, abt 3mm chunks)
  •     60 g candied orange peel (chopped small, abt 3mm chunks)
  •     275 g finely ground almonds or almond flour
  •     300 g flour
  •     ½ tsn Salt
  •     1½ tsn double acting baking powder

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together .  Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs, molasses and vanilla until slightly frothy.  Add the spices, lemon extract (or zest) and rum. 

Stir in the candied peel and ground almonds.

Gradually sift in the baking powder and flour, mixing until the dough is thick and fairly stiff.  Add more flour if the texture is too batter like.  Allow the dough to chill at least 1 hour.

Form into balls about 1 inch (25mm) diameter.  (A 60 disher, 2 tsn, works well)

Garnish with halved or slivered almonds and bake in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven for about 12 to 15 minutes or until brown at the edges.  (Keep an eye on the first batch, all ovens are different!)

Frost the cookies with a thin frosting made from powdered sugar and milk flavored with almond extract, lemon extract or rum. (Suggested: 1 Tbn Rum, 1 Tbn Milk, 1 tsn almond extract, ½ cup icing sugar)

Makes about 3 to 4 dozen depending on how big ya make ‘em.
They don’t spread much in the oven.
20 cookies per sheet works well

I hope you enjoy these as much as I and my family have!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Yeah, still breathin'!

Yes, I know, it's been awhile.  Sorry.

The past 6 months have been fraught with stress, loss and all the depression that comes with the process of falling out of the middle class into poverty.  I still have no job and there are no real prospects for one.  After three years of unemployment my confidence is weak and works against me.  At this point, I assume I won't be hired because of my age/sex/gender.  Of course, at least two of those three characteristics are not supposed to be used to determine employability.  They're illegal but, of course, there's little one can do against discrimination like that.  It's almost never overt enough to provide evidence that would stand up in court.

This kind of economic disempowerment is one of the biggest issues that trans people face.  We need to fight and demand our rights on political, as well as social and humanitarian, grounds.  That fight takes resources but we are denied opportunities to earn them.  Catch 22 at its finest.

I've hesitated to ask people for support.  Most of the people I know and love are in similar financial straights yet, if I don't ask, I can't do much to promote the civil rights protections the trans community need.  The world won't change just because someone writes things in a blog on the internet.

So I've decided to add a PayPal "Donate" button to this blog.  I don't expect much, if anything.  I realize people are hurting in the financial department as much or more than I but even a couple of dollars will help.  Any donations I receive will go toward costs incurred in the pursuit of trans visibility, civil rights protections and community.

The first event that I need funds for - for gasoline and travel expenses, primarily - is a meeting of western New York trans groups in Rochester NY on April 28th.  I think it's vital that the southern part of western New York be represented there.  I would go as the primary facilitator of the Southern Tier Trans Network, the support group I formed for the area's trans community.  I would also act as a representative as the local PFLAG T-Net coordinator.

The need is for travel expense money so I can attend the ESPA Equality & Justice Day in Albany on May 8th.  I need gasoline to get to Buffalo and back so I can catch the bus to Albany.

Thank you.  Any support is gratefully appreciated.