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Bay Leaf

December 5, 2010

It all started with Bay.

There is a huge and majestic Bay Leaf tree out back. It’s sturdy and strong and its leaves hang peacefully in front of my window. The tallest branch exceeds the height of the roof. The land only knows how long the tree has been there and I can’t help but wonder how it got there to begin with.

Details.

Often I go out back and delicately take clippings from this tree. I whisper sweet everythings to it. I know the tree likes that. So do I.

I intended to make shortbread cookies using the fresh sprigs from the Bay tree. But then there were walnuts and almonds in the cabinet. And my mind immediately thought of caramel and that one solitary navel orange that was still on the counter. Needless to say, I got creative with the recipe and made it up as I went. Not always a bad thing. I can’t recall officially ever making a nut bar prior to this. But I know I’ve certainly wanted to. And now I’ve met the one I’ve always wanted to make.

Serendipitous.

This was the beginning of November and the thought of pecan pie was fresh in my mind. I was craving that taste of a buttery crust, the crunch of pecan and a brown sugar filling that becomes smooth and seamless when the pie bakes. When Thanksgiving finally arrived, I never got around to baking or buying a pecan pie. I went with pumpkin instead. I like pumpkin too.

Looking back at this Bay Leaf Nut bar, I’m happy I made it when I did. It was a hit. Memorable. Daring. Pleasing. In every which way.

It was generously decadent and the Bay Leaf was brilliant in the buttery shortbread in a positively magical and medicinal kind of way..(yes really). I do like Bay.

I’m thankful for that orange on the counter. Waiting, just waiting.

And those almonds and walnuts in the pantry.

I mustn’t forget the whiskey that provided a boozy stand-in to heavy cream in the caramel. And of course the Bay Leaf tree that is now swaying in the December rain.

Bay Leaf shortbread/ Orange whiskey caramel /toasted Almonds & Walnuts

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