Whispered Secrets of a Kitchen Tantrika


A batch of Aphrodite Cakes decoratively piled under a cake dome. The cake dome is to protect them from rapacious felines, friends and family who cannot wait until after dinner to taste them.

So, a reader asked if my cookies were orgasmic, and I promised to answer in the next few days or so.

They were delectable, as always. They were seductive, enticing, teasing little bites of bliss.

I always feel weird writing about my own food and talking about how good it is; such behavior is perilously close to bragging and bragging was something I was taught not to do as a child. It is tacky to boast, it is unseemly and only people with low self esteem and no sense of class brag, or at least, so I was led to believe as a child. Now, of course, I recognize this as the root of my utter inability to do my own PR as a chef, personal chef, caterer or instructor, much less as a plain old cook, so it is something I try to sidestep in my life these days.

I decided a while back that if I just report the facts about my cooking ability and my food, it isn’t bragging–it is merely telling the truth.

So, the truth about the Aphrodite Cakes is this: the are decadance in cookie form and they do cause oral orgasm upon ingestion. Only one person out of the hundreds who have tried them has not liked them, and that had more to do with his limited taste than anything to do with the cookies. He barely liked anything at all, so I discount his rather strong negative reaction.

Everyone else loves them, without fail, and will eat inordinate amounts of them.

Last Sunday, I used them in my presentation to the local Unitarian Fellowship on the subject of “The Sacred Table: Food and Spirituality,” to great effect. Not only did everyone get into the fun and sensual pleasure of feeding each other wee roseate bits of heaven, but the cookies garnered me requests for catering: one wedding and a big birthday party, as well as a possible contract to cater for some Ohio University employees.

Maybe, instead of talking about how good my food is, which still makes me blush, I should just pass out those cookies, and wait for people to fall at my feet and beg me to cook for them.

Sounds like a plan.

Photographs of the wee delights do not do them justice: they are tiny, pastel things which look somewhat washed out on the screen. When they are seen in natural light, they are unassuming and very innocent looking– ivory cookie bases topped with rosettes of creamy pink icing. But when you pick them up, and raise them to your lips, their scent gives them away as the breath of roses tickles the nostrils and whispers naughty thoughts into the olfactory centers of the brain.

When you bite into them, the tender domed cookie melts on the tongue, releasing the butter and vanilla cloaked in their hearts, while the icing dissolves, jolting the senses with the sweet kiss of rosewater, evoking sunwarmed summer skin, the laughter of a lover and the fleeting touch of trailing fingertips.

These cookies are potent.

I wrote an article about them entitled “Whispered Secrets of a Kitchen Tantrika” that was published a couple of summers ago in SageWoman magazine, and am reprinting it here for everyone to read, as it not only describes the origin story of these wicked morsels, but a good chunk of my own kitchen philosophy is contained therein.

Whispered Secrets of a Kitchen Tantrika

Some flavors haunt you, like a ghost of a half-remembered dream, hidden in a dusty, dark corner of your mind. Amidst the cobwebs and skittering shadow creatures live golden nuggets of crystalline sensation live, waiting to be discovered, dusted off and brought to life upon your tongue.

An unabashed sensualist, when I am in the kitchen working my alchemy, I continually seek to bring memories to life for people, to give them flavors that inspire the closed eyes, and the reverent rolling of the tongue that presages a whispered, wordless utterance of awe. Like Tita, the main character of Laura Esquivel’s novel, “Like Water for Chocolate,” I know that cooking is essentially a sacred act, and an intimate one. In making food for others to consume, I am giving part of myself to them, which, when they eat it, joins with them, and becomes a part of them, forever. With food, I can make love to the entire world, if I so wish, and never be considered a slut for it.

When I cook, I want it to be an act of kitchen tantra.

So, as a kitchen tantrika, a seductress and enchantress of the cookstove, there are a few flavors which I will use in order to induce the voluptuous pleasure that falling in love gives the human psyche. I think of these flavors as an extension of my own energy, as elixirs and philters which help transfer my life-giving force into a physical form which seeps into another person by way of their lips, tongue and tastebuds. These flavors are like my signature, and are very personal to me.

I am told by other alchemists of the culinary arts that I should hide my secrets, keep my flavor riches to myself, and cloak my magicks in mystery. To these assertions, I shrug and say, “Even if others use my flavors, they will not taste exactly as they do in my hands.” This has proven to be true, for even accurately reproduced recipes transcribed from my hand, and recreated by perfectly competent cooks have not resulted in a dish exactly like mine. That is because the energy is different, even if the flavors are the same, and not every cook knows the way to imbue every dish with their essential nature, such that they give a bit of their spirit away with each bite. Nor should they.

My Gram, a very wise old woman indeed, once told me that the saying, “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” did not only refer to the fact that if too many people work on one project, they will not agree. She said it also meant that too many people’s energy put into one thing, in this case, food, would make that thing confusing, and not focused or well directed. In the case of the broth, it might not taste good, because it would have the conflicting energy of disagreeing cooks in it.

What flavors, then, do I have in my palette, that I save for those moments when I want to entice, beguile and tantalize the senses?

There are several, but one of my favorites is the essence of rose: also known as rosewater.

Roses have been known as the Queen of Flowers, and a symbol of love and sensuality for thousands of years. Roses were one of the symbolic flowers of Aphrodite; the other was the lily. Interestingly, when the Virgin Mary came along, she took on much of the symbolic content of the mythos of Aphrodite, including the roses and lilies. I find that fascinating, that what had once symbolized sensuality and carnality, had become a symbol of purity and innocence.

But, be that as it may, the rose has emblematic of love and sensuality for a very long time. Think of it, the velvety petals, cupped and softly unfurling around a secret center, the intoxicating fragrance, both honey-sweet and musky: how could the rose -not- be seen as a potent avatar of love and beauty?

Rosewater is the distilled essence of roses, known as attar of rose, combined in minute amounts (for it is one of the most expensive botanical products in the world) with pure, distilled water. It is clear, and ranges in scent from light and sweet to heady and intoxicating. The brands made in Persia (Iran), Lebanon and India are among the most strongly scented, while some of the brands made in the United States and France are very sweet, and more light in fragrance.

Whatever can one flavor with roses one might ask? Well, it would do one a bit of good to know, first of all, that the use of rose petals, rose water and attar of roses in cookery has a long and noble history, dating back to the Greeks in the West and the Persians in the East, and likely they both got the idea at the same time, while they were at war with each other, during the age of Alexander the Great.

Rose petals have been candied and used as decoration for thousands of years, but roses have better uses than as a garnish. They have been made into sauces, jellies, preserves, liquors, and fillings for cakes. Rosewater and essences have flavored dairy products, drinks, primitive and refined sorbets and sherbets, pastries, main dishes and more for as long as mankind has been growing roses.

With a pedigree like that, you can bet that I wasn’t about to be shy with the use of rosewater. It is one of my “secrets” in my arsenal of flavors which are meant to induce diners to shed their dignity and become unabashed voluptuaries. And I have to say, every time I use rosewater, people know that there is -something- special in there, but they seldom guess what it is.

I mostly use it in conjunction with fruit. I find that it adds a breath of freshness, a spring-like innocence that belies a flagrant sensual nature that lies underneath the surface. It adds depth to a fruit salad, when combined with a dash of champagne. It is particularly effective when combined with its kin, the bramblefruits: raspberries and blackberries. Because they are cousins to roses, these fruits really shine when they are kissed with the essence of the Queen of Flowers. Rosewater is subtle with these fruits, sliding into the flavor mix like a nymph sinking into water, until she is but a shimmer beneath the surface: you know it is there, but you cannot tell what it is. It is only a flowery scent, a flicker of something familiar that is just maddening to the senses, but that cannot be grasped: the nymph dances laughingly beyond the satyr’s reach.

Last year, my friends, the very friendly and very healthy hippie organic farmers at the farmer’s market, had a banner crop of blackberries, so they were selling these plump, shining beauties for next to nothing. These berries were so soft, so yielding and so full of sugar, that you could barely pick them up without bruising them and being stained with roseate juice. Just driving home with them filled my car with a miasma of sweetness, and when I brought them into the house, my kitchen smelled like the very tumescent essence of summer Herself.

I ate some by themselves, but I also decided to create a fitting frame for these lovely wonders. I baked a batch of sweet cream scones, a very rich and short pastry that is still moist, due to the addition of cream. They are not overly sweet however, because they did not need to be: the berries were dripping with fructose by themselves. I took some of the berries, the prettiest, and left them whole. The others, I macerated with just a touch of sugar to get them to release their juices, a squeezing of lemon juice to balance the sweetness with a note of acid, a goodly dollop of Chambord to add richness, and a few crystalline drops of rosewater to deepen the flavors.

I split the scones while they were barely warm, and spooned macerated berries over the first layer, then laid a spoonful of softly whipped, barely sweetened cream over it. I capped it with the top of the scone, added another spoonful of berries and juice, then the cream, and topped it all with three whole, perfect berries.

Then, I served them, and watched the reactions. Ah, the eyes closed, and the corners of the mouths tipped up in soft smiles, and the inarticulate vocalizations began. Rosewater had done it again.

Rosewater is also very friendly with strawberries. There is something just special about the scent of strawberries anyway, that brings to mind a sun-warmed afternoon, with breezes carrying the scent of early summer blossoms to your nostrils. If you add a bit of rosewater to that, it carries one’s senses over the top, and there is no turning back from the fact that magic is taking place right there, inside your mouth.

For some friends from Pakistan and Bangladesh, I made an ice cream that included strawberries, cardamom (another of my secrets), a bit of vanilla and a smidgen of rosewater. They come from a culture which uses rosewater in cooking, but they were confounded by the flavor. It was indefinable, indescribable, and very, very intoxicating. They said that it almost tasted a bit sinful, it was so good.

My best use of rosewater came about as an offering for the wedding of two friends of mine. They were having a very sedate Pagan wedding: sedate in that they had Christians from the family coming and they didn’t want to upset them. But, they had a Pagan minister marry them, outdoors, in a very non-traditional wedding. But no God or Goddess was invoked, so, since they had me catering the affair, I decided to create a dish in order to invoke Aphrodite, and invite Her into their union.

The limitation was that it had to be something small, as it was an hors d’oeuvres buffet.

That let out most fruit preparations, like compotes, or salads. I could make individual tuile cups, and fill them with fruit, but that would be too strenuous a job. I thought of making meringues in the shape of swans and flavored with rosewater, but that, too, was too much work, considering that I was making a wedding cake topper in the form of a Norman castle with five towers out of sugar cubes and royal icing already. Besides which, southeastern Ohio is one of the most humid places on the planet, and meringues do not appreciate humidity. I could imagine an entire flotilla of graceful, airy, crisp swans turning into rubber as the moisture in the air attacked them and made their graceful S-curved necks droop until they looked like little indefinable globs of goo.

My sanity would not allow for me to make eighty individual swan-shaped meringues which were doomed to an early demise, rose flavored or not. If I were fool enough to attempt such a thing, I would have gone screaming down the street, pulling my hair out by the roots.

So, I thought. And puzzled. No petits fours, as I was making a large tiered cake, with a bloody castle on top. No fruits. No little swans to die prematurely, in a most unromantic fashion. I briefly thought of inoculating strawberries with a rosewater-filled syringe, then dipping them in chocolate, but that struck me as a bit difficult to control, and the use of the medical equipment in the process made it feel ever so unromantic and not Aphroditeish at all.

Finally, I hit upon it.

Cookies.

I could make cookies, and top them with icing flavored with rosewater, and tinted palest pink. I already had a cookie recipe handed down from my great-great grandmother by way of my dear Aunt Emma. This recipe had come all the way from Bavaria from before the days of Kaiser Wilhelm, and was a family heirloom. The cookies were white, tender, akin to shortbread, but much more soft and inviting. They were iced with a plain confectioner’s sugar icing that Aunt Emma said was always tinted pink with food coloring, though she remembered that her mother used beet juice.

So, I began to bake. The cookies were simple, the formula was already there. It was the icing that was crucial. I wanted it to be sweet, but not too sweet. I finally ended up making a cream cheese buttercream style icing which was flavored only with rosewater. No vanilla. And, I tinted it pink.

Instead of using a spatula to cover the cookie with a thin crust of icing as Aunt Emma used to do, I used a piping bag and a star tip, and made rosettes. Zak helpfully pointed out that they looked rather like perky little pale pink nipples on the tops of ivory colored breasts, and I shrugged and said, “Well, they are Aphrodite cookies after all.”

I let him taste one.

His eyes closed, and his mouth moved very slowly, as he savored it. Inarticulate utterings came next, and I knew I had done it right.

Those cookies are my best creation, bar none, for they never fail to induce a similar reaction. The cookie base is delicate and soft, yielding and sweet, but it is the dairy-rich icing that melts so willingly, embracing the tongue in a rush of summer-sweet flavor that is the grace note. They are, indeed, sinful delights, fully deserving to carry the name of the Golden Goddess of Love.

I have made them for every wedding I have ever catered, and have never failed to garner compliments. I made them several times when I was in culinary school, to the delight of my chefs and instructors.

My table service instructor took one bite, closed his eyes, went, “Mmmph,” then swallowed and paused. He opened his eyes, and said, “Roses. You put a garden full of roses into two bites of cookie. Hold on.” He ran out of the room, and got my advisor, Chef Rainer. He dragged him in, and said, “Rainer, you gotta taste this. Here.”

Chef Rainer, who is also from Bavaria, took a bite, and had a bit of a swoon. He finished it, opened his eyes, and said, in his accented baritone “It is like going to Church. It is better than communion. What do you call it?” I said, “Aphrodite’s Cakes.” And he smiled, and said, “Which would you rather eat, Christ, or Aphrodite?”

Aphrodite Cakes

Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 lg. egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt

Icing Ingredients:

½ stick butter
4 ounces light cream cheese
1 pound powdered sugar
3 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tsp. rosewater (or to taste)
food coloring as needed to tint icing pale pink (I use Wilton paste coloring in burgundy, with only the amount you get by dipping a toothpick into the jar then dragging said toothpick through the butter or cream cheese.)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla and beat well.

Sift together flour and remaining ingredients and gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until well combined.

Roll into 1” balls and flatten slightly unto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake ten minutes; do not brown. (If you have a convection oven as I do, you only need to bake for eight minutes.)

Allow to cool a minute on the baking sheet, then carefully transfer to wire rack to finish cooling completely.

To make the icing, blend together butter and cream cheese, then blend in the powdered sugar. Add rosewater and enough cream to bring it to a spreadable consistency.

Add food coloring to tint it pale pink, and pipe rosettes onto the cooled cookies.

46 Comments

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  1. Fine. Fine fine FINE. I will print out the damn recipe and make the damn cookies. Woman, quit tempting/teasing me!

    Actually, I just had a nice lunch that included asparagus, so I’m not drooling quite as much as I usually do.

    -Amy

    Comment by Amy — June 20, 2005 #

  2. As usual, Barb has given a full description with the expected vivid colorfulness one can come to expect from her entries.

    As for me, being one of the lucky benefactors of the cookies, my suggestion is bring a towel and a change of undergarments.

    Comment by Bryian — June 20, 2005 #

  3. Poor Amy.

    Even if I baked all day, every day, I don’t think that i personally could make enough of those cookies for everyone who loves them.

    It would be fun to try, though!

    Bry, btw, is one of the folks for whom I invented the cookies in the first place.

    And when I wrote the article, it was true that I had baked them for every wedding I have ever catered. However, the last wedding I catered, for my dear friends Dan and Heather, did not include the Cakes of Love and Beauty. So, Heather tasted them for the first time Saturday night.

    But, I promise, it will not be the last time.

    When she gets back from Lebanon, I will bake another batch to celebrate her return.

    Oh, and interestingly–the rosewater I used for them, Cortas, which is my favored brand, is made in…Lebanon!

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — June 20, 2005 #

  4. Although plauged by family deaths and non-working internet access, I have been delishously reading your blog.

    I make wine and fruit punch for our Summer-time celebrations with rose-water as the mysterious good-tasting ingrediant.

    Redbud Twig has only one tiny sprig of leaves.

    Comment by wwjudith — June 21, 2005 #

  5. Where, exactly does one find rosewater? I’ve seen it in bath shops as a facial toner, but I have my doubts as to whether that is safe for cooking. Any other suggestions, for a small-town girl in the middle of Illinois?

    Comment by Kari — June 21, 2005 #

  6. How, How HOW is it possible I have never seen your blog before this minute? It is like finding an easter egg full of chocolate a few days after the hunt. I am thrilled and excited. Your writing is inspiring.

    Insert a big huge happy grin,
    Rachael

    Comment by Rachael — June 22, 2005 #

  7. Hello, Judith–I am sorry to hear about your family’s grief, and the net access issues–but I am happy to hear about the redbud twig. Hopefully its roots are growing deep into the earth and setting a good foundation for a fine little tree to grow in years to come!

    Kari–I suggest you look for either a Middle Eastern Market or an Indian Grocery store–the brand I like the best is Cortas, as I said, but there are other really good brands you can get from any store that caters to Arabic people or folks from India. A third place you can go is to a health food store–look in the cosmetics section for pure rosewater–on the label it will say that it is food safe.

    A fourth option, if none of those pan out is mail order by way of the Internet. There are a lot of grocers online who will ship international foodstuffs all over the world, and I know you can get Cortas rosewater that way. Google it and you will find it.

    Why, hello, Rachael–it is good to meet you! My blog isn’t very flashy or fancy, I suppose, so that may be why you have missed it, but I am glad to see you here now, and I hope you stay on for a spell. Thanks for the kind words.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — June 22, 2005 #

  8. Just catching up.

    Yes, the cookies were orgasmic.

    And so was the Tandori chicken…And the lemon zest and shitake mushroom chicken, and the ice cream, and…

    Bloody hell!

    Do you realize that I’ve eaten the meals that have been the subject of the last 5 blog entries?

    I count myself as incredibly lucky ;-)

    -Dan

    Comment by Dan — June 22, 2005 #

  9. I am still told I must try your food, Barbara. One of these days… I’ve actually seen you at a couple SCA meetings by now haven’t I? My memory of the past two terms at school is… well… patchy at best. I know Zak was at Torquilstone, because I was drooling over his flute playing… things I must make time to learn (cooking is on that list as well, but I don’t see myself having food people rave over – I just don’t think I love the kitchen enough unless I’m eating in it).

    Comment by Karyl — June 22, 2005 #

  10. Hello, Dan!

    We are having lamb kebabs tonight, if you want to come over and make it six out of six!

    Karyl–love of cooking can come from love of eating–many a person did not learn to cook until adulthood and many a gourmand didn’t learn to eat until then either. If you are ever interested in learning cookery–that is my business you know. Teaching others how to cook….

    I was at Torquilstone, too, btw. The redhead with the glasses and the brassy voice who got quite tiddly on Bry’s Cherry Bomb stuff. Wow, was that tasty!

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — June 22, 2005 #

  11. Aargh – I want, want, want those cookies!!! Sounds so delicious and orgasmic, that I’m going to hunt down that bottle of rose water somehow. Love your blog :)

    Comment by eatzycath — June 22, 2005 #

  12. Glad you are enjoying the blog, eatzy.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — June 23, 2005 #

  13. i was linked here from a friend of mine. i am a culinary student and i have my pastry practical on monday/tuesday. i was wondering if i could use your recipe for 1 of the 4 cookies that i have to make for my petit four platter. i think it would make my chef happy. he and i haven’t been getting along well over the last few days and i’d like to make something incredible to knock his sox off. you can e-mail me at j_bartolotti@yahoo.com with your reply. i would appreciate it very much. thanks in advance!

    Comment by Janine B. — July 24, 2005 #

  14. I finally made them! I finally made them! And they were just as good as you said they would be :)

    Comment by holly — February 27, 2006 #

  15. I am glad to hear it, Holly–I saw the link from your post and went and saw that you had made them and it gave me a little charge in my day!

    Comment by Barbara — February 28, 2006 #

  16. Lovely! I just made these cookies for the first time and while they don’t look as pretty as yours (no icing bag handy) they are certainly marvels of flavor. I am still teasing my hubby and not telling him what the secret flavor is! >:)

    Comment by Robbin — March 29, 2006 #

  17. Good for you, Robbin! Thanks for coming to tell me that you made the cookies and how they turned out.

    For next time, you can make an icing bag out of a ziplock bag. If you don’t have icing tips, no worries. Just snip a hole diagonally in one corner opposite of the ziplock in the bag, and then you can pipe a spiral of icing on the top of the cookies. It works great in a pinch. (You can also use that to pipe drizzles of melted chocolate onto cookies or cakes, too, or caramel…. Works great.

    Comment by Barbara — March 29, 2006 #

  18. Barbara, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this page. I found this link at eGullet where one of the topics on the eForums was rosewater and what to do with it. I am so glad my curiosity got the best of me. The cookies are wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Comment by Rosalind — April 7, 2006 #

  19. Help! I need to make a large quantity of these lovely cakes a day or two before the event. Do I need to refrigerate until the last minute once they have been iced? Can they be iced and frozen? If so, what should I know about defrosting them?

    Thank you for any help you can offer, and thank you for sharing this lovely recipe. I have fallen in love with rose water AND your website!

    Comment by Kathleen — May 18, 2006 #

  20. You are welcome, Rosalind–I am glad you followed your curiosity, too.

    Kathleen–what I do when I need to make a couple of batches before an event is make the cookies, and leave them without icing, sealed airtight, after they have cooled.

    I make the icing ahead of time and seal it in ziplock bags and refrigerate it.

    Then, if I need to transport them to the event, I take the icing bags out, take my piping equipment (bag, coupler, tip) and the cookies in separate containers, and then ice them early at the place where the event is happening a couple of hours before they are needed.

    This accomplishes a few things. One–your cookies and icing taste fresher. Two–transporting them once they are iced is a bear if you don’t want the icing to be all mushed and funny looking, with crumbs in it and all. I have transported them iced successfully, but it requires keeping them in sealed containers in single layers and that is a lot of containers to stack in your car. Three–it keeps you from having to refrigerate the cookies for a couple of days, which takes up lots of room in the fridge.

    Although, if you make them only two days ahead of time, and it isn’t hot in your house–it is sixty degrees or less, you can pretty safely leave them unrefrigerated. The cream cheese is unlikely to spoil in that time. However, if you make them longer before than that, I would worry about not refrigerating them.

    I know that we have kept them at room temperature, sealed up, for as long as three days after they were made, maybe four, without any spoilage, but we tend to keep the house pretty cool.

    I hope that helped you some–and I hope that the event you are making these for is successful and you have a good time.

    And I am glad you love the website!

    Comment by Barbara — May 18, 2006 #

  21. These are a hit every time I make them, which is again and again and again. I cannot thank you enough for sharing the recipe.

    Comment by Danielle — June 6, 2006 #

  22. Danielle–you are very welcome. I like to think that my great-grandmother would be pleased that her recipe (altered a bit by moi) from Germany was being passed all over and enjoyed by new generations far and wide!

    Comment by Barbara — June 7, 2006 #

  23. You are most generous to share such sensuality and does appear to have gone around the globe! When I have more than two mouths to tempt, I’ll have to try these. Thanks for the lead!

    Comment by tanna — June 8, 2006 #

  24. Oh, Tanna sent me this link and I thank her! These delicacies look sinfully good! Your writing is superb. My mouth was watering during the entire article. Thanks for sharing and Tanna, my mouth, yours and one more and we have to make these! Sue

    Comment by Sue — June 8, 2006 #

  25. Why, thank you, Sue–I’m happy to meet you.

    I hope you come back and read more–and when you do make the cookies, drop back by and let me know what you think of them.

    Comment by Barbara — June 8, 2006 #

  26. I have to say this is the best piece on food I have read, ever. I am going to try to make these tonight…hopefully some of your magic will be in them…

    It was delicious just to read…the love of food is just brimming…one day maybe I too can find the time for a blog of my own to share my cooking

    Comment by Anita — July 19, 2006 #

  27. Thank you, Anita. This piece was originally published in SageWoman magazine, a couple of years ago.

    I do have to admit to being rather proud of the essay–and I am glad you liked it.

    If you ever make the cookies, let me know how you like them!

    Comment by Barbara — July 26, 2006 #

  28. This is the first time I have tried one of your recipes and it was amazing. Although all of your dishes look delicious this one definately caught my eye since I love anything sweet. Thank you so much for the recipe and it is definately something that I will make again.

    Comment by Leah — August 1, 2006 #

  29. I am glad to hear they were a success, Leah–and I hope you enjoy making them often. Thank you for trying it and liking it so much, and you are welcome for the recipe.

    Sometimes I think that Aunt Emma and her mother, my great grandmother, must be very pleased to know that so many people are enjoying these cookies.

    Comment by Barbara — August 1, 2006 #

  30. [...] Barbara says that she doesn’t bake much, but when she posts desserts, they are always amazing. She recently posted a recipe for Aztec Gold Brownies that turned out just to be just scrumptious when I made them, sweet and dense and smoky and hot. I still make her delicately delicious Aphrodite Cakes all the time, and they are always universally praised. [...]

    Pingback by Habeas Brulee » Blog Archive » Roundup of Food Blog Posts I’ve Enjoyed #4 — August 5, 2006 #

  31. Great Blog.

    Please visit my blog for Weight Loss Tips and diet Information.

    Comment by Weight Loss — November 30, 2006 #

  32. Tried out Aphrodite Cakes this evening and it did come out pretty well. Thanks to you.

    Comment by Indian Blogger — March 20, 2007 #

  33. [...] Dijaj Machboos (Middle Eastern Chicken with Rice) Aphrodite Cakes Strawberry Rosewater Ice Cream Rose-hip Tea [...]

    Pingback by A Rose is a Rose is a Rose! « A Mad Tea Party — May 18, 2007 #

  34. I’ve been making these ever since I read your article in SageWoman, and I absolutely adore them. And so does everyone I give them to :-)

    Comment by Robin — November 16, 2007 #

  35. These have become my new cookie secret weapon. I sent some in a care package and the recipient thanked me for them. Then a few hours later (after she had sampled one) I got an e-mail demanding to know what was the secret ingredient that made them so amazing.

    I brought them to my family’s place for Xmas, and they are his fiancee’s favorite cookie. Thanks for sharing this.

    Comment by Julia — December 26, 2007 #

  36. I do not remember how i landed on your blog, but since that day i am hooked to it and these cookies …oh i could taste them in my mouth with the way you wrote about them and i will surely try them out..till that time i try to appease my tastebuds by reading about them.

    Comment by Nidhi — February 29, 2008 #

  37. Thank you, so much, for sharing this! The cookies sound incredible! The whole article will be printed and tucked into my pagan cookbooks for future use!

    Comment by Carin — March 9, 2008 #

  38. Hi there, I recently stumbled across your blog and have been trying to find the time and guts to try out one of your recipes ever since. I’d love to give these cookies a try, but I’m not much of a cook. I wasn’t 100% sure which flour I should be using – is it self-rising or all-purpose?

    Comment by Amy — May 10, 2008 #

  39. Absolutely gorgeously divine and scrumptious :-)

    Comment by melina — October 11, 2008 #

  40. was poking around looking for recipes for Lunar New Year, and found this… and since the first day is also Valentine’s this year… I may have found my very non-traditional dessert. (also, reading comments above, I didn’t realize you play in the SCA, I do too, but in Atlantia)

    Comment by Magpie — January 24, 2010 #

  41. So I FINALLY got a chance to make these for what turned out to be a just-cancelled Slow Foods dinner party…which means I have an entire batch enticingly sitting on my counter. This is dangerous because:
    a.)The blizzard has me snowed in, and
    b.) SnOMG I made the mistake of tasting one, and then found myself with my face inexplicably buried in the icing bag.

    How am I going to be trapped in the house for days and NOT EAT the entire batch??? :D

    Comment by Evelyn Trester — February 6, 2010 #

  42. I just stumbled on this recipe. CLEARLY I have to make these for the potluck following my Beltane ritual in May. What could be more appropriate? (And to answer that, I’ve already made Nanny Ogg’s “strawberry wobblers” once for the same occasion. These will be tastier, too.)

    Comment by Laura — February 9, 2010 #

  43. I’ve been making these for years, ever since I tore your original recipe out of Sage Woman. I’m making them again, tonight, in anticipation of Litha. Thank you so much!

    Comment by Hecate — June 18, 2010 #

  44. So happy to see the full story online. I’ve loved these cookies since you first published it in SageWoman, Summer 2002. These are definitely a “best of the best” recipe! Thank you so much.

    Comment by Carrie — December 19, 2010 #

  45. Just wanted to let you know I’m making these for my cookie party tomorrow night (for the 2nd year in a row). These cookies really people over and over again!

    Comment by holly — December 15, 2011 #

  46. *WOW people

    Comment by holly — December 15, 2011 #

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