When I was a little girl surrounded by my colouring pencils with nothing but blank white paper and empty hours to fill my afternoon I dreamed of a cottage to call my own. A dark grey pencil sketched the outline of thick stone walls. Walls that would keep me warm during the long, cold winters, which I imagined essential for a landscape where such a cottage would exist. A chimney, too essential, poked up from one end of the house with a little puff of smoke to indicate that the colouring-pencil Amy was home somewhere within and baking something delicious in the hearth. Windows with diamond panes and rounded tops. Lead glass that would colour the sunlight streaming in on my wooden floors. A red front door, always a red front door, would greet any guests who meandered up the winding cobblestone path.
Every brightly-hued pencil was recruited to create the garden of my dreams: cerulean bluebells blossomed next to spears of lavender; fuchsia peonies unfurled their baby-soft petals under swaying smiley-faced sunflowers; and tall, leafy trees surrounded the borders of the property lending shady spots perfect for summer picnics and populations of birds and squirrels.
I imagined that I would tread the boards of this house with an apron tied over floral skirts that would swish about my knees as I crept barefoot out to my vegetable garden to harvest produce for dinner. I would spend long afternoons walking over the emerald green hills and down to the ocean that always appeared in the background of my imaginary home. Evenings would be spent curled up in my favourite red tapestry wingback chair with a book in one hand, and a cup of tea balanced beside a pile of volumes yet to be read. I would fall asleep in my white-curtained canopy bed listening to gentle rains fall down to nourish my garden.
Friends would be always welcome to my scarlet door, and there would be tea parties galore. Especially in the heady days of late summer when all you ever really want to do is wear a big hat, lie in the garden, and sip iced tea while nibbling on dainty treats.
While I don’t have the cottage quite yet, I do have the perfect sweet treat to whisk me off to colouring pencil dreams again.
Cranberry, Orange and Poppy Seed Cookies (gluten free)
If you aren’t catering for a gluten-free diet you can of course replace the gluten-free flour with 300 grams of ordinary plain flour.
- 150 grams butter, softened
- 150 grams caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Zest of one orange
- 1 large egg
- 300 grams gluten-free plain flour (I used Orgran brand)
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two cookie sheets with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, poppy seeds, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl cream butter, sugar, vanilla, and orange zest until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat to combine.
- Add flour mixture and cranberries to the batter and mix until completely incorporated.
- Pinch off tablespoons of mixture and roll into balls. Place on lined cookie sheets and press down gently with your fingertips to flatten slightly. Leave a few centimeters between cookies because they will spread a little during baking.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. The tops may crackle a little.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on cookie sheets before storing in an airtight container.
Tell me dear reader, where did you dream yourself away to as a child? Any treats that bring back tea party memories?