Thursday, March 28, 2013
I feel as though the last three weeks of my life happened in a matter of hours. One second I was talking about being real with pancakes and the next thing I knew, three weeks had passed. As I pressed post on all that pancake talk, unexpected things began happening left and right. People moving on, being forced out, going new places, breaking things off, making amends, not getting what they deserve, doing the unexpected, and being altogether crazy.
Despite all of it though, I was seemingly handling myself pretty well. All the uncertainty was rolling right off my back, like nothing had happened. Then, I almost severed the tip of my left ring finger. As in, I cut more than halfway through, nail and all. Standing over the cutting board, staring down at bloody bell pepper, I slowly realized how bad it was. I transitioned to the sink, and placed my hand under the running water, holding the tip of my finger on. I kept thinking how it was weird it didn't hurt and how those knives were actually pretty sharp, despite my complaining otherwise, and how I really freaking wanted some tacos damnit. I was completely composed as Dale cleaned and bandaged me up. And then, I sort of lost it. I was suddenly full on hysterical. It sounds silly, but apparently this was my breaking point. Dale, knowing it was about more than a cut finger, finished the tacos. And I ate them, through tears and despondence. Because I was determined to have those tacos. I had been "fine" this whole time--you know, that "blessing in disguise," "things will work out," "nope, haven't heard anything yet, but it's ok because," "things will be hard but we can do it," etc., attitude. But I guess I needed to just be sad, to be scared about the future, to be angry that life isn't fair. So I had my moment then gathered myself again over the next day then made cookies.
These cookies aren't anything fancy, and they don't purport to reinvent the chocolate chip cookie or anything. They aren't gooey, chewy chocolate chip cookies but are instead tender and crumbly. They aren't all the same size, and they aren't all perfectly round. And I love them for it. Because they taste like a cookie. Like a really good cookie. That's all I wanted--a soft, crumb-leaving, delicious, straight forward cookie, studded and sprinkled with chocolate. And I can tell you with certainty, these are all those things.
Also, if you get a chance, please venture over to steadyhandcoffee.com and read about a little coffee shop that could.
Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from How To: Simplify
makes 18-24 cookies
140 g (1 cup + 2 Tbsp.) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
large pinch salt
113 g (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
90 g (1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp.) granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
small splash almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk, dark, whatever you prefer)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add vanilla and almond extract and mix until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and mix until almost combined. Paddle in chocolate just until evenly distributed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake, no more than two days. (I usually refrigerate cookie dough overnight before baking.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and stack on top of another baking sheet. Spoon tablespoon-size pieces of dough onto cookie sheet about two inches apart. Bake until puffed and lightly golden on the edges, about 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet about 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
(And in case you were wondering, my finger has healed magnificently.)
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Lately I've been thinking a lot about living and experiences and simple things. About image and how people portray themselves, announce themselves, cloak themselves. This started to come out a little bit in my last post, but I've been struggling to put into words what I've been thinking and feeling. Then I read some posts that really resonated with me and brought everything I'd been thinking together (this one for example). The yearning for honesty. The desire to really feel and experience things.
I find myself continuously questioning all the moments and images that seem too easy, too perfect, too deliberate. All the pretend friending and pretty lifeing. Because my reality looks very little like all the dreamy, filtered pictures and nice outfits and styled life settings. And quite frankly, that's ok. In fact, that's pretty great. I want real connections, real people, real moments and memories. I want to experience everything genuine and be present in reality and be myself with other people being themselves. Lately I've felt like everything is a big competition. I look around and wonder if I'm losing. And I compare and overanalyze and even get upset sometimes. But then I stop myself and refocus my gaze upon what's right in front of me, what matters, and I realize that I'm definitely not losing. Sometimes life is messy and hard, but it's real. And real may be less pretty in some respects, but it’s far more beautiful in so many others. It’s fulfilling and disappointing and happy and sad and hectic and lazy and ridiculous and nowhere near perfect, and that’s what’s so great about it. Although I love adventures and fresh, wholesome, seasonal meals and beautiful photos, sometimes I’m tired and overwhelmed, and I eat chips and drink soda and lay on the couch with my boyfriend and my cat, and I’m totally ok with that. So I'm going to work on expressing that more here. I'm going to freaking live y'all, and it may not always be picturesque, but it will be real.
My pathetic attempt to get my gif on à la Izy.
These pancakes have become my go-to Sunday breakfast. I love how puffy and fat they are, and they stay that way sitting in the oven while you scramble to fry some eggs (!!) because you didn't time breakfast so well and you broke the yolk when you tried to flip the first egg and the bacon is still crisping and the coffee isn't ready and maybe you want to shower before you eat. They're patient pancakes. Real life pancakes.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
This is such a simple recipe that I almost didn't share it here. Then I saw a post over on London Bakes, eloquently discussing how great simple can be in the midst of all the stuff and the fuss and the noise. So on point. After reading her post, I realized that my latest favorite baked good had been exactly that--simple. A vanilla bean bundt cake, whipped up by hand, in one bowl, with one whisk. I am certainly a lover of recipes with many parts and steps (as I am sure can be gleaned from some of the more involved recipes here). But sometimes, I want cake y'all, and I want it now.
I think part of what I love about this recipe is that the steps usually completed by a stand mixer or electric beaters--whipping the butter and sugar, beating in eggs one at a time, etc.--are instead done by hand. I realize that may turn some people off, but I feel a sense of satisfaction in putting a little elbow grease, a little extra love into it. Especially when the results are as moist and delicious as these.
The ingredients for this cake are things I virtually always have on hand, and the method is super quick and easy. The only prep required is room temperature butter, which is typically not a problem for me since I usually keep at least a stick of butter out of the fridge at all times anyway (ya know, just in case). But if you aren't crazy like me and need room temperature butter in a flash, simply cube the butter and let it sit in a sunny window for 20 minutes or microwave it on low power in 15-second intervals until soft.