Rainy afternoons spent in the company of friends

These sesame poppy seed crisps demand a glass (or two) of wine, a rainy afternoon and the company of dear friends. I was lucky enough to extend the whole experience for an entire weekend. I flew myself, and these crisps out to North Carolina to spend a few days revisiting old haunts and experiencing new ones all the while talking, laughing, crying and avoiding the rain with two of my very closest friends.

I don’t form friendships easily. But those I do, run deep and strong. I am tempted to be angry at this cruel world of academics for scattering us across the country (California, Minnesota and North Carolina), but the truth is, it was academics that drew us together years ago as grad students in Durham. It’s not to be taken for granted, these friendships. I treasure these people who I can talk to about everything and nothing over the course of brunch.

But I miss them, and surprisingly, the South, terribly. I didn’t quite realize how much my heart ached for it until I was there, amidst the sultry smells and heavy air (with the exception of the passing of Ammendment One … how disappointing). The conversations, but not necessarily the content, were easy and fluid. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years since we all at Duke, toiling away at our PhDs through our young adulthood. But, two years it’s been and life marches forward. Despite the time, the distance and life, friendship survives. It might only be through emails, texts and the occasional weekend, but there it is.

And this particular weekend it involved sesame poppy seed crisps. Crisp like a cracker, sweet like a cookie and seemingly lighter than air. An excellent use for any leftover egg whites (perhaps from a recent batch of ice cream …). I stumbled upon the recipe here, a useful collection of uses for egg whites, sorted by how many the recipe calls for. One bite and visions of rainy afternoons with heartfelt discussion were dancing in my head. And I was lucky enough to have that turn into a reality.

Sesame Poppy Seed Crisps
from The Washington Post
makes approximately 4 dozen
**********
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 large egg whites
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon walnut oil
**********

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Toast sesame seeds in a small, dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and/or fragrant. Cool for a few minutes, then stir in the poppy seeds.

Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat on low speed until smooth, then on medium speed until fluffy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg whites in thirds, beating on low speed to incorporate after each addition and stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the flour; beat (on low speed) until just combined.

Stir in the walnut oil, sesame and poppy seeds by hand. Transfer half of the batter to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip or ziploc bag with the corner cut. (The remaining batter can stay at room temperature.) Pipe out 1-inch-wide disks on each baking sheet, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cookies are just lightly browned on the edges.

Transfer the sheets to the stove top (off the heat) and let them sit for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing. Repeat to use all of the batter.

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