Elaine Revelle: Putting strawberries to ultimate use

wooden spoon

While I’m on a temporary hiatus from the 'Spoon,' I decided to take a dive into my files/archives.

I’m relying on an old pensioned-off computer and a neighbor’s internet access to get this to the publishing power.

I figured it would be fun if I could find another Dec. 10 'Spoon' that would work under these circumstances.

I didn’t have much luck finding an appropriate Dec. 10 column that I could plunder. Closest I could come up with is from 2007. Notice that the No. 13 factors into this dilemma; not a coincidence and, trust me, I’m not (really) superstitious.

First off, my computer is at the computer doctor and I’m, as the say, off the grid.

It’s been diagnosed as “not terminal” (pun intended) so I may be back live soon.

In the meantime, here’s a pair of Christmas cookies to consider adding to your repertoire.

Friend and former Valley-ite Greta Morss’ spritz are unbeatable, and I found an interesting new cookie to add to my collection.

I figure cookies are a safe bet this year because, after all, they are baked. And if packaged with love and rubber gloves, they should be sanitary.

So, without further ado, here’s something for Christmas 2020, and hold a good thought we’ll all have a healthier 2021.

Greta’s spritz are legendary and she, Greta, says that this is her mom’s recipe and that they are “the best." I agree. She credits the egg yolks for their delicate texture.


2/3 cup sugar

1/2 pound butter

3 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2-1/2 cups flour

Cream sugar with butter and egg yolks. Add almond extract and vanilla and continue to cream. Stir in flour and mix until well blended. Press dough through a cookie gun or press onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 to 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Did you notice that this calls for egg yolks only?

Save the whites and bake the following. A delicate meringue that calls for six egg whites and has a surprise ingredient — pepper!

By the way, the recipe calls for pink peppercorns, and when I got ready to bake, I found that I only had "rainbow” peppercorns. After spending a considerable time sorting, I was able to come up with the right amount. However, all peppercorns are black inside and only small bits and pieces of the “pink” showed in the finished cookies. So, use any color peppercorns you have in your cupboard.

One note, be sure that your bowl and beaters are absolutely clean. The slightest bit of fat will make these fail. Also, glass or metal bowls are better than plastic, which tends to “hold onto” oils.

Also, while the spritz can be made ahead, these are best eaten fresh.


6 egg whites

2-1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons crushed pink peppercorns

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and vinegar and continue beating until egg whites mound into soft peaks. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until whites are stiff and glossy. Stir in half of the peppercorns. Spoon mounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet (can be lined with baking parchment if you have it), sprinkle tops with remaining crushed peppercorns and bake in a preheated, 275-degree oven for 45 minutes or until dry and lightly browned. Cool on a baking rack. Will keep in an airtight container for up to one week.

An interesting side effect of our COVID-19 quarantine is the food. We are cooking more since we’re eating out less; we’re exploring new recipes, because we’re eating out less and growing gardens, again, we’re eating out less.

Longtime Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at "mailto:thewoodenspoon@juno.com" thewoodenspoon@juno.com