Here is a picture of said basement.
Note. These men are not really tall. The roof is really short.
I loved the basement - the part I could go in. When we think of basements, though, you and I both, might think of the underneath of houses that are somewhat unfinished with dirt floors and spiders. Not so with this basement. My great-grandparents had a nice, perfectly groomed home. It was white. Perfectly white. We would only gather long enough for hugs and greetings in the glorious upstairs, then down to the basement we all went - which is why after 6o plus years of marriage, they still had the beautiful brand-spankin-new-looking couch they acquired when they were first married. This family-gathering basement was pretty nice. A childhood memory firmly planted in my brain. It is a memory that is occasionally brought back by certain smells. Scents of parsley (we kids loved to eat the parsley they had growing in the garden), gas (the old stoves leaked just a bit, I think), and pomade. You know. The 'old man' smell.
Ok. Ok. Enough of the basement, but good foods are made even better by the stories that go with them. Don't you think? Here is the recipe. You can refer to my Vegan Biscotte Recipe for a tutorial on how to shape the logs, if you would like.
Wine Cookies4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground anise (I use a coffee mill)
a pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups toasted & cooled almonds
In the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer with the wisk attachment, beat eggs. Add sugar, then butter beating till fluffy. Now using the paddle attachment, mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and anise. Add in the vanilla and almonds last.
This dough will be sticky. Using flour on board and hands, shape into 6 logs, putting 2 on a greased tray at a time. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or so, until bottom gives a hint of turning brown. They will be a smidge under cooked in the middle of each log.
With a spatula, remove from tray to a cutting block. Cut into 1 inch strips, giving all the ends to husbands, children and neighbors who by this time will have gathered as these are fragrant cookies.
Put the sliced cookies onto a tray with the cookies cut edges up with air space between cookies. After getting all the logs cut and onto trays, lower the oven temperature to 200 degrees. Put them in the oven for their second baking. After 30 minutes take out the trays and turn over each cookie so the other side can dry and return them to the oven for another 30 minutes. After cookies cool completely (I leave them in the oven over night) store them in an air tight container or a ziplock.
Enjoy in the morning with a cup of coffee, or at night with a glass of port wine!
Hmm. I just realized that the wine glass in the picture actually is from my Great Grandparents which reminds me of just one more thing. Whenever they would argue at the big family table (pictured above), which was quite frequently, they would do it in Portuguese so we wouldn't understand, but, we pretty much knew they were using words that would have been inappropriate for our young ears. We all would just laugh.