Depending on who you ask, those powdered sugar-covered nutty wedding cookies are either called “Mexican wedding cookies” or “Italian wedding cookies”. Unless you ask me, because I’ve always just referred to them as “almond cookies”. I’ve only ever tried almond versions of those cookies, but (apparently) they are often made with pecans or walnuts. Hmmm… maybe Italian weddings have an inherent almond bias.
Let’s talk about weddings for a moment: I have been to many weddings in my life and they’ve all been on the Italian side of my family. It would be rude to say I have “too many” cousins, but I do have a lot of them. So while many people may going to weddings and get all excited about it, for me it’s simply, “Another wedding? Yeesh!”
Sure, I love seeing the dresses and comparing the occasion to the other fifty million weddings I’ve gone to, but there are a few things that become tedious after a while. Firstly, (Italian) weddings take all day. The church service will be at around midday, and then you’re expected to go home and change into an evening dress (or suit, if you’re a man) and arrive at the reception at around 6pm. Of course, everyone will arrive late, because that’s just what happens in my family. The reception will then last until around midnight, and will involve round after round of food, ending with an inedible cake. Admittedly, I once went to one wedding that deviated from this standard form (thanks Marco and Sarah), but that wedding was held in a Protestant church, so that was a total case of “Woah! Not used to this!”
Also, I have this one uncle who always turns up in the same plaid shirt and jeans. He’s like a cartoon character – never changes clothes, and has one hell of a monobrow.
As it’s Cinco de Mayo and I love holiday-themed food, I decided to call this breakfast “Mexican Wedding Cookie Baked Oatmeal”. Speaking of holidays, did you know that May 4 was International Star Wars Day? Why May 4? So you can say to people, “May the Fourth be with you.” I wish I’d made a breakfast in the shape of a Death Star or something, but unfortunately I didn’t get around to it – I had to spend the weekend writing an essay about Bush v Gore. So it was an interesting, albeit frustrating and somewhat infuriating, weekend.
The basic recipe for this baked oatmeal is sugar-free! After my experiment for the ANZAC Cookie Baked Oatmeal worked so well last week (if I do say so myself), I decided to use the same technique and sweetened this oatmeal with dates. I thought it was sweet enough, but when someone else tried the recipe their reaction was, “It definitely tastes like those almond cookies, but maybe it needs to be a bit sweeter? Then again, maybe not…”. Hence, the optional sugar or maple syrup in the recipe. Unless you know that you have quite a sweet tooth, I’d recommend that you try the non-sugar version first, since you could always pour over some maple syrup (or powdered sugar) after it’s baked.
You know what’s weird? I used to have a sweet tooth but I don’t anymore. I suppose your tastebuds can change over time.
Question for anyone and everyone:
Are you doing anything fun for Cinco de Mayo? Also, what do you think about weddings – love them, hate them, or somewhere in between?
And while I’m asking all these questions, have you lost (or gained) a sweet tooth over the years? Or is that just something odd about me? :/
- 3 dates (dried), finely chopped
- ¼ cup hot water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds (divided)
- 3 tablespoons almond milk
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Tiny pinch of salt
- 1 - 2 teaspoons maple syrup or sugar (optional)
- In a bowl, combine the dates, hot water, vanilla extract and almond extract. Leave to sit for at least 15 minutes, or preferably in the fridge overnight.
- Grease a small ramekin. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind 1 tablespoon of slivered almonds into a sand consistency. Add the remaining tablespoon of almonds, and pulse a few times to roughly chop the nuts.
- Add the almond milk to the date mixture. Then add the almond mixture, rolled oats, baking powder and salt. If desired, add the maple syrup or sugar. Mix until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekin. Bake for 22 to 27 minutes, and enjoy!