The church biscuit: 68. Dark chocolate and citrus cookies for Remembrance Day

Ipsden church: detail of east window

Ipsden church: detail of east window

For the Remembrance Day service, our 2 churches take it in turn to host the event. This year it was at Ipsden. The war memorial cross is at some distance from the church so we processed out for the reading of the names of those who had died in the 3 villages, the laying of the wreathes, the playing of the Last Post (by a CD player sited on an inappropriate post), the two minutes silence, and the Reveillé.  As we stood there soberly dressed and sombre, looking like a French Realist painting, we were joined in the sky above by 3 helicopters  from nearby RAF Benson which hung for a short time overhead before clattering off to mark another gathering around another war memorial elsewhere. (On Sunday October 11 2015 2 serving officers of the Puma helicopter force based at RAF Benson died in a helicopter accident in Afghanistan; 2 US service members and a civilian French contractor were also killed.)

Ipsden Church: detail of east window

Ipsden Church: detail of east window

About 50 people attended the service and this year it was noticeable how many young people had come along with their families. There would be definite pressure on the 40 biscuits I had baked –  fortuitously bigger than usual, they  broke cleanly into 2. A serious occasion called for a serious biscuit – thick dark chocolate (Green & Black Maya Gold) with the citrus tang accentuated by mixed peel. The recipe was adapted from Midnight Cookies from Susanna Tee’s 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & other Tempting Treats (Paragon books, 2009).

Dark chocolate and citrus cookies

Dark chocolate and citrus cookies

Dark chocolate and citrus cookies

125 g softened butter

175 g golden caster sugar

1 egg lightly beaten

1/2 teasp vanilla extract

125 g SR flour

35 g cocoa powder

50 g Green and Black Maya Gold chocolate (roughly chopped)

3-4 teasp chopped candied peel

Dark chocolate and citrus cookies

Dark chocolate and citrus cookies

Preheat oven to 180ºC/160º for a fan oven/350ºF/Gas Mark 4

Line several (3-4) large baking sheets with baking parchment.

In a large bowl beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix well. Sir in the broken chocolate pieces and mixed peel.

With dampened hands, roll walnut-sized pieces of the dough into a small balls and place these on the baking sheets, spacing well apart as they spread to about double their area. (Keep moistening hands as this makes the process so much easier.)

Bake in the preheated oven 10-12 minutes or until set. Leave to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to complete the cooling.

Ipsden Church: detail of east window showing one of the 2 robbers crucified along with Christ

Ipsden Church: detail of east window showing one of the 2 robbers crucified along with Christ

Ipsden Church’s window glass dates from the latter part of the C19 and is a mixture of stained glass and painted glass.  The red glass is particularly beautiful, forming what look like big full blooming poppies behind the figures of the 2 robbers crucified along with Christ. (The central figure of Christ is surrounded by similar glass but  this time blue and is not nearly so effective.) I often find I fall into the trap of not looking properly at C19 church furnishings while going into raptures over medieval fittings. But, the closer I got to our stained glass, the more I began to appreciate it and see how well drawn were the faces, the decoration of the robes and the intermittent sprigs of flowers and leaves that pop up randomly in the background. In spite of the above not being a very good photograph, I hope you can see just a bit of what I mean.

Ipsden Church: detail of stained glass in east window

Ipsden Church: detail of stained glass in east window

While many countries celebrate this day with poppies, the French embrace the cornflower – Le Bleuet de France – which is why in television news items on Remembrance Day celebrations in France  you see French mayors wearing the little blue flowers – often alongside a poppy.



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  1. Posted November 14, 2015 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    We do have a tendency to overlook the Victorians, yes. I think it’s because they are too close, and not quite strange enough!

    We’ve noticed Remembrance Services getting younger, too.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Yes, I agree about the Victorians. What we forget is that there was still much that was done by hand and not by machine – as with the church windows.
      Organised religion offers dignified and formal marking of communal grief and thoughtfulness which I think more young people are responding to – as we see when young people die in tragic circumstances and churches are packed.

  2. Penny Cross
    Posted November 16, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Poignant, beautiful imagery, as well as currently apt, for far too many reasons which need not be stated. Under the length of our wash line runs a narrow gravelly wildflower garden. After its summer flowering, the cornflowers re-seeded and are currently blooming in profusion.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Goodness, what impressive cornflowers, Penny!

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