saffron threads

Ceres’ rose, lavender, and saffron tea cookies from ‘A Red-Rose Chain’

The second Ceres offered the motley crew these colorful cookies, I knew that I had to make them myself. What’s better than flower-themed cookies in a time of crisis? When the world is falling down around your ear and there are magical murderers around every corner, sometimes you just have to take a breath and have something sweet with your tea or lemonade. These are nice mild shortbread cookies with subtle flavors in them, so they’re perfect to have as a little sweet snack.

(Thanks very much to @seananmcguire  for writing such a truly wonderful series and giving me an excuse to make flavored shortbread cookies as a minor tribute to them).

- MJ & K

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Buttons in a Blanket and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

When I first leveled Botanist back in 2.2, my boyfriend was elated to have a new source of Button Mushrooms – a key ingredient in the prized Buttons in a Blanket. Cabbage rolls became a CUL recipe again in Heavensward, too, with Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (mmm, Loaghtan… Chump? It doesn’t sound appetizing, but it is.) I’ve never had cabbage rolls before, so this was fun to make! My understanding is that they’re usually wrapped in parbroiled green cabbage leaves, stuffed with all kinds of ground meat or mushroom mixtures, and baked in sauce. Since these two recipes are so similar, I prepared two kinds of rolls in the same pan. This recipe made 15 cabbage rolls. 

For the Buttons in a Blanket, I decided to make a duxelles-like stuffing with white rice, shallots, button mushroom, white wine, Worcestershire, thyme, and sage. 

For the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, I prepared a mixture with ground pork, white rice, onion, garlic, raw egg, thyme, sage, rosemary, and finely chopped green bell pepper. Could probably benefit from some celery, too, if you have any lying around. 

My favorite part was making the sauce. I love tomato sauces (and make a mean marinara), and it’s great to have an excuse to cook with saffron. I’d suggest using red wine in the sauce, but I only had white on hand. It still tasted yummy and tangy. 

Buttons in a Blanket and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls! 

1 large head of green cabbage 

About 1-1.5 cups cooked white rice

Mushroom Roll Ingredients

8oz button mushrooms, diced small 

1/3 cup white wine 

1 shallot, diced small

2-3 tbsp butter 

Drizzle of Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp dried thyme 

½ tsp dried sage

Ground Pork Roll Ingredients:

1 lb ground pork

1 egg 

About ¼ cup green bell pepper, diced very small 

About 1/3 an onion, diced 

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Drizzle of Worcestershire sauce

About ¼ tsp dried sage 

About ¼ tsp dried thyme 

Pinch of dried rosemary (¼ tsp or so) 

Tomato Saffron Sauce 

2 cups of crushed tomatoes (canned are fine)

1 healthy pinch of saffron threads - 10-15ish threads

About ½ a large onion, diced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced 

½ cup of white wine 

3 cups of chicken stock 

Big pinch of sugar 

Splash of white vinegar (~1-2 tsp) 

Lengthy shake of paprika - I’d guess ¼ - ½ tsp? 

3 tbsp butter 

Before you start prepping anything else, let’s deal with the cabbage. Cabbages have a rigid core that will keep the leaves tightly wound and hard to peel off, so turn your cabbage head over and cut around the core with a knife. You can remove it if you want, but it’s fine to leave it; we’re just after the leaves. Dunk the entire head of cabbage in a large pot of salted boiling water. When the leaves begin to separate, pull them off gently with tongs and submerge them until they are slightly translucent, then pull them out and place them on a plate. (A paring knife will help separate any stubborn leaves from the base.) Repeat until the cabbage head is shorn of its leaves. Any leaves that tear can just go on the bottom of the baking dish - tastes pretty good baked in sauce too!

Next, I made the fillings. Melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a skillet and add the mushroom and shallot, along with a pinch each of thyme and sage and salt and pepper. Cook until the mixture starts to look dry, then add one or two more tablespoons of butter, a dash of Worcestershire, and the white wine. A traditional duxelles is cooked down into a paste, but we’re going to stop a little short of that. When there’s almost no loose liquid in the pan, take it off the heat, mix with about ½ cup of cooked white rice, and set aside. As for the ground pork rolls, sauté the onion and bell pepper in your fat of choice until they begin to soften, then add and sauté the garlic until the pepper is just tender. Combine the ground pork, ¾ of a cup of rice, the onion/garlic/pepper mixture, a big pinch of thyme, sage, and rosemary, and one egg together in a bowl and set aside. 

Time for the sauce!! Sauté the diced onion til soft in a large pan or pot (I love my Dutch oven for sauces), then add the garlic. Add the paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, and saffron, then deglaze the pot with the wine. When the wine has mostly cooked off, add the crushed tomatoes and chicken stock, along with the splash of vinegar and the pinch of sugar. Bring it to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Taste it, adjusting for salt and pepper, and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. 

Put a heaping spoonful of mixture into each cabbage leaf and carefully roll them up, then put them seam side down into a greased baking pan. Make as many as you want/can, then pour enough tomato sauce over them to come halfway up the pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, or until the cabbage is tender. (As with many baked dishes, there is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to doneness - a little extra time won’t hurt.) Pull them out and serve! 

Dragons revelry Starcake

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This was a sumbitted idea form Dailyhitofdahlias. Hope you like them!

The Dragon bash was one of my favorite Living World Events that Arena Net has ever presented us with. Who here remembers it, back in June of 2013? The achievements ran something along the lines of smashing piñata, launching fireworks, watching fireworks, and my personal favorite; eating so much candy that you throw up. If you were so inclined, you could sit your digital butt in the grand plaza and just watch the giant hologram of The Shatterer swoop around the city.

These were simpler times.

Happier times.

But soon everything goes to The Mad King’s Realm in and hand basket, and we’re left rubble and wreckage to instead of festivities and fireworks. Stupid Scarlet.

The Dragon’s Revelry Starcake is a craftable consumable first introduced during the Bash. It combines 2 White Cakes, 50 Saffron Threads, 40 Pieces Zhaitaffy, and 1 Pile of Crystalline Dust. It provides the consumer with some pretty excellent boosts, buffing every stat you have with a +45 and more.  But granted, it is a freakin’ CAKE. And though I love cake, it usually takes forever to eat. I am not going to subject any of you who want to try this so suffer ¾ of a cake that you can no longer eat. Cookies are a smarter alternative. Tea cookies, to be more precise. The recipe is below the  cut. 

-MJ & K

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Riverhead Table: BIG MAGIC and EAT PRAY LOVE

How do you design one meal around the concept of creativity? That’s the challenge we faced when we found out we would be sharing our next #RiverheadTable with internationally beloved and bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to celebrate the paperback release of her latest book BIG MAGIC. We tossed a few ideas around before Liz’s brilliant editor, Rebecca Saletan (who you’ve probably seen in other #RiverheadTable posts like this one), suggested we focus on color. Bingo. After all, BIG MAGIC’s cover art depicts a literal explosion of vibrant color, and the book itself is all about finding the courage to pursue your boldest creative impulses. And is there no more colorful cuisine than that of South East Asia, which also happens to be a region Elizabeth Gilbert explored in a little book called Eat Pray Love?

With an arsenal of recipes in hand for brightly hued curries, sunny saffron rice, fruit sorbet and more, two carloads of Riverhead staffers drove out to Elizabeth’s beautiful home in Frenchtown, NJ for a day of creative cooking!

Thanks as always to our friends at Jones of Boerum Hill for our custom Riverhead aprons, and a special shout out to Rosa and Emily of Marie Claire! They bravely rolled up their sleeves to peel shrimp and crack coconuts (on the sidewalk with a hammer) alongside us. If you somehow didn’t catch their epic Facebook Live tour of Elizabeth’s house then you should definitely do that here ASAP. 

We hope you’ll try one or all of these recipes for your next book club or dinner party! If you do, don’t forget to tag us using @riverheadbooks and #RiverheadTable.


Fresh green salad with edible flowers

Paneer Makhani (Indian cheese in butter-tomato sauce)

Baked tandoori shrimp

Basmati Rice with Cinnamon Saffron

Chapati bread

Coconut, red chili and mint coriander chutney

Cucumber-mint raita

Homemade blueberry, strawberry and mango sorbet

Hibiscus tea

Lots of white and red wine, because why not?

FRESH GREEN SALAD WITH EDIBLE FLOWERS (6 servings; 5 minutes total cooking time) From Martha Stewart Living

1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

12 cups tender baby salad greens (about 5 ½ ounces)

1-2 packages edible flowers (We bought ours from the lovely folks of Windfall Farms!) 

Combine vinegar and mustard in a bowl. Gradually whisk in oil, then season dressing with salt and pepper. Toss dressing with greens and top with flowers. Serve immediately.

Elizabeth Gilbert and a very colorful BIG MAGIC-inspired salad.

Emily from Marie Claire using a widely used method called “hammer and sidewalk” to open coconuts for our chutney recipes.

NOTE: You’ll need a good blender or Vitamix for the following chutney recipes! And if you don’t yet know what “tempering” means, we suggest reading this helpful NPR article before you begin. It never hurts to learn new cooking techniques, especially when they are integral to a culture’s cuisine!

SOUTH INDIAN COCONUT CHUTNEY (makes approx. 1 cup; 10 mins total prep/cooking time)


1 cup of grated coconut (We cracked open fresh coconut but pre-packaged is also fine. No judgment here.)

¼ cup of roasted Bengal

3-4 of green chilies

1/2″ piece of ginger

2 tbsp of chopped cilantro

3 tbsp plain whole-milk yogurt

For tempering:

1 tsp of oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

¼ tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp of urad dal

¼ tsp of asafoetida or hing

1 of dry red chili, torn into halves

1 sprig curry leaves

Grind together the coconut, Bengal gram, ginger, coriander, green chilies and salt. Add about 3-4 tbsp of water until you get a smooth consistency. Add yogurt and mix well. Next, heat oil for tempering in a pan and add the ingredients for tempering in the order listed above. When the mustard seeds start to pop, dunk the contents into the yogurt mix and stir.

RED CHILI CHUTNEY RECIPE (makes approx. 1/3 cup; 10 mins total prep/cooking time)


1 cup of peeled and sliced shallots

10-12 dry red chilies (you can add less or more, depending on how spicy you like things!)

1 pinch of asafoetida or hing

1 small piece of tamarind (or 1 tsp tamarind paste)

1-2 tsp of salt (adjust to taste)

2 tsp of oil

1 clove of garlic

Heat the oil in a pan and add the chilies. Keep the flame on low and fry for one minute until the chilies start to look glossy and smell roasted. Remove the chilies and add the sliced shallots to the same pan. Fry until golden. Add the hing, garlic and salt. Stir and then turn off the flame. Add the tamarind. Cool completely and grind with the chilies in the blender until it becomes a smooth paste.

 Art Director Helen Yentus considers a piece of tamarind.

MINT CILANTRO CHUTNEY (makes approx. 1 cup; 10 mins total prep/cooking time)


2 cups of fresh cilantro leaves

1 packed cup of mint leaves

2-3 green chilies

¼ cup chopped onions

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 pinch cumin

1 heaping tsp chaat masala

¼ tsp sugar

A squeeze of lemon or lime juice

Adding a little bit of water a time, grind all ingredients together to a smooth chutney. Taste as you go along and adjust the ingredients (even adding salt, if you prefer) until you reach a flavor you like.

Publicity Director Jynne Martin gives the mint cilantro chutney a nudge. 

CUCUMBER-MINT RAITA (Makes approximately 8 servings; 15 min for prep + 2 hrs minimum refrigeration) From Bon Appétit


1 large unpeeled English hothouse cucumber, halved, seeded, coarsely grated

2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt

¼ cup packed chopped fresh mint

1 tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp plus pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper 

Wrap the grated cucumber in a kitchen towel and squeeze until dry. Whisk the yogurt, mint, cumin, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper in medium bowl. Add cucumbers and toss well. Season raita to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (You can also refrigerate it up to one day ahead of time.) Sprinkle the finished raita with a pinch of cayenne pepper before serving.

BASMATI RICE WITH CINNAMON SAFFRON (Makes approximately 4-6 servings; 10 min prep; 3 hrs inactive time; 37 mins cooking time)

From Madhur Jaffrey’s “From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Kitchen” 


1 tsp saffron threads
3 tbsps hot milk
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp sugar
2 cups basmati rice
2 tbsps corn, peanut, or olive oil
2 medium cinnamon sticks
2 2/3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

Place the saffron on a piece of foil. Fold some of the foil over the saffron and crush it with a rolling pin or wooden potato masher. Put the crushed saffron in a small cup. Add the hot milk, cardamom, and sugar. Mix with a small spoon and set aside for 3 hours. (NOTE: We definitely did not let the saffron sit for 3 hours and the flavor came out great. You should be fine after an hour!)

Put the rice in a large bowl and wash in several changes of water. Drain well then add fresh water to cover generously. Leave to soak for 30 minutes. Drain well again. 

Pour the oil in a heavy, lidded pan that will just hold the cooked rice comfortably and set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, put in the cinnamon sticks. Stir for 10 seconds, then add the rice. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir the rice around until the grain look translucent, about 2 minutes. Add 2 2/3 cups of water and the salt. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce the heat to very, very low and cook for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat. Carefully lift the lid and quickly dribble the saffron milk in any haphazard pattern. Quickly cover again and leave for 10 minutes. Mix the rice very delicately with a slotted spoon before serving.

TANDOORI SHRIMP RECIPE (Makes 4 servings; 40 mins prep time; 10-15 minutes cooking time) 


Bamboo skewers, soaked in water before using

1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails on (tiger prawn preferred)

Olive Oil, for basting

½ tbsp chopped cilantro

1 lime, cut into wedges 


1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt

1 tsp finely minced garlic

½ tsp Garam Masala

¼ tsp chili powder

2 tbsps lime juice

1 tbsp oil

1 ½ tsps salt or to taste

¼ tsp turmeric powder

Red coloring, optional 

Mix all marinade ingredients in a medium or large bowl. Stir well. Add the shrimp to the mixture and marinate for at least 30 minutes, or best for two hours. Thread the shrimp onto the bamboo skewers, set aside. Line a large baking sheet (or two medium sheets) with aluminum foil or parchment paper and arrange the shrimp skewers in a single layer. Using a small brush, baste both sides of the shrimp with the oil. Roast for 10 minutes or until the shrimps are cooked. Broil for 1 minute or until the top surface is slightly charred. Remove from the oven, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges.


(Makes 15-20 servings; 30 mins prep time; 15 mins cooking time) 


3 lbs fresh Indian cheese (paneer), cut into chunky cubes (pictured above)

6 cups (2 28-oz cans) tomato puree

4 fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 quart heavy cream

3 tbsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger

4 tsp garam masala

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp sugar

4 fresh hot green chilis, finely chopped

2 tbsp salt

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tbsp ground cumin

4 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), crumbled (optional)

freshly ground black pepper

1 stick unsalted butter

4 tbsp olive or peanut oil

2 tsp whole cumin seeds

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro 

Combine the tomato puree, cream, ginger, garam masala, lemon juice, sugar, green chili, 1 tbsp of the salt, chili powder, ground cumin and fenugreek leaves in a large mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly and set aside. Put the cubed cheese into another bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Toss well to mix. Put the butter, oil and cumin seeds in a medium, non-stick pan and set over a medium heat. Put all the cheese cubes in the pan in a single layer and brown them very lightly on at least two sides. Pour the tomato sauce over the top and carefully stir to mix. (Use two pans if it looks like the sauce will overflow.) Bring to a simmer, then heat very gently for 4–5 minutes, stirring with a light hand as you do so. Sprinkle the fresh coriander over the top before serving.

Director of Marketing Kate Stark peels ginger for our blueberry ginger sorbet.

NOTE: You’ll need a good blender or food processor, plus an ice cream maker for each of the following sorbet recipes! 

BLUEBERRY GINGER SORBET (Makes approx. 3-4 cups; 40-50 mins active cooking time; 4 hours total)


4 cups blueberries, washed (about 1 ¼ pounds)

2 tbsp minced ginger

¾ cup sugar

2 tsps lemon juice, to taste

¼ tsp kosher salt, to taste

Purée blueberries and ginger in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add sugar and blend for 30 seconds. Add lemon and salt, blend, and adjust to taste. Strain purée into a bowl and transfer to refrigerator; chill for 2 to 3 hours until very cold. Churn sorbet in ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sorbet to freezer to firm up for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

MANGO SORBET (Makes approx. 3-4 cups; 40-50 mins active cooking time; 4 hours total) 


4 ½ to 5 cups ripe mangoes, peeled and diced (about 2 pounds)

¼ cup water

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp lime juice, to taste

½ tsp kosher salt, to taste 

Put diced mangoes in the blender with water and blend on high speed until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup, pushing purée through strainer with a spoon, until you have 3 cups of purée. Reserve remainder for another use. Transfer strained purée into a large bowl and whisk in sugar until well dissolved. Whisk in lime juice and salt in small increments, adding more to taste. Chill purée in refrigerator until very cold, 2 to 3 hours. Churn in ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then transfer to airtight container and chill in freezer at least 4 hours before serving.

STRAWBERRY SORBET (Makes approx. 3-4 cups; 40-50 mins active cooking time; 4 hours total) 


2 quarts strawberries (about 2 ½ pounds)

1 cup sugar

2 tsps lemon juice, to taste

½ tsp kosher salt, to taste

Remove tops from strawberries and purée in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add sugar and blend for 30 seconds. Add lemon and salt, blend, and adjust to taste. Strain purée into a bowl and transfer to refrigerator; chill for 2 to 3 hours until very cold. Churn sorbet in ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sorbet to freezer to firm up for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

HIBISCUS TEA (Makes 2 quarts; 5 mins prep time; 25 minutes “cooking” time)


2 quarts water

¾ to 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you would like it to be)

1 cup dried hibiscus flowers

½ cinnamon stick (optional)

A few thin slices of ginger (optional)

Allspice berries (optional)

Lime juice (optional)

Orange or lime slices for garnish

Put 4 cups of the water and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Add cinnamon, ginger slices, and a few allspice berries if you would like. Heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in the dried hibiscus flowers. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain into a pitcher and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice berries. Add remaining 4 cups of water (or if you want to chill the drink quickly, ice and water) to the mixture, then chill. Alternatively, you can add ice and chilled soda water for a bubbly version. Add a little lime juice for a more punch-like flavor. Serve over ice with a slice of orange or lime.


It was a gorgeous evening and our hostess happened to have the most beautifully decorated wrap-around porch, so we decided to have an outdoor dinner party! Our BIG MAGIC / EAT PRAY LOVE meal was feast for the eyes as well as for our hungry bellies. Keep scrolling to see more behind the scenes photos from our day with Elizabeth Gilbert. 

Senior Publicity Manager Liz Hohenadel sets the #RiverheadTable on Elizabeth Gilbert’s porch.

Head Designer Taylor Grant, Associate Publicity Al Guillen and Marketing Manager Mary Stone prep the shrimp!

Rosa of Marie Claire in one of our custom made Jones of Boerum Hill aprons.

Celebrating BIG MAGIC in paperback!

Liz and Liz (ha!) decorate the salad with edible flowers.

Our hostess with the mostess. Let’s eat!

The full #RiverheadTable team :)


Have you ever cooked mussels? I consider myself a seasoned, talented cook, but this was a first for me. I was looking for something that was completely different than the turkey dinner we’ll consume in a few days, and two of my good friends suggested this outstanding recipe.

The mussels were perfectly cooked and fun to eat. But I might argue that the garlicky, winey broth that those beautiful mussels cooked in was the best part of the meal. We took our chewy pieces of baguette and sopped up that gorgeous sauce.

The recipe says three pounds will feed two people, but I think we could have invited a couple of friends to share this meal.

Happy Tuesday!

Mussels in white wine, a recipe from Ina Garten.


  • 3 pounds cultivated mussels
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
  • ½ cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, drained (4 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon good saffron threads
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup good white wine
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with 2 quarts of cold water and the flour and soak for 30 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand. Drain the mussels, then remove the “beard” from each with your fingers. If they’re dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren’t tightly shut.

In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don’t burn on the bottom. Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot.

Samhian “Soul Cakes” Recipe!

What you will need:

  • 2 c of all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pinch of Saffron
  • ½ c milk
  • 1 stick of soft, unsalted butter
  • ½ c sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ c currants

For glaze:

  • 1 beaten egg yolk
  1. Pre- heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt in bowl (small or medium size). Mix with a fork.
  3. Crumble saffron threads into small saucepan, heat over low heat just until they become aromatic (make sure not to burn them). Add milk, heat till milk turns a bright yellow. Remove from heat.
  4. Mix sugar and butter with a wooden spoon into a cream. Add yolk and blend thoroughly.
  5. Add spiced flour to the mix, blend thoroughly as possible; mixture will be dry and crumbly.
  6. Little at a time, add the warm milk, blending vigorously with spoon. When you have a soft dough, stop adding milk.
  7. Knead dough on a floured counter, with floured hands, till dough is uniform. 
  8. Roll out gently to a thick ½ in sheet. Cut out circles with a cooking/biscuit cutter (try getting as many pieces as possible)
  9. Place on ungreased cookie sheet (I like to cover sheet with wax paper or parchment paper)
  10. Decorate with currants. Brush with beaten egg yolk. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden and shiny.