Thursday, September 18, 2008
Blobs Of Peace
There are moments when I am transported into the full realization of just how dumb, as a human, I truly am. One such moment is when I look over and catch one of my dogs drinking water from his bowl, his tail wagging FURIOUSLY. He is ECSTATIC over drinking water. And I stand there riveted, humbled, enchanted. I want to drink water and wag my tail, man! I want that kind of living-in-the-moment, that kind of inner peace. Honestly though, I'm just not that great at the inner peace stuff. So then I was wondering, during my day-to-day nonsense, where ARE my daily moments when I'm actually in the moment and/or cultivating some peace? It's a sad little list:
-The first sip of my morning latte. Aka, the a.m. mouthgasm. OH IT BURNS too, and in a good way. There is no better investment than a good espresso machine. It's the first step toward World Peace. They say it begins at home people. Well, I'm telling you - it begins with a latte.
-Here comes the usual freakdom: smelling my dogs' necks, ears, breath. JUST love it. My dogs just smell so damn adorable, it's ridiculous. I should bottle it and sell it. I'd totally make 2 dollars.
-Hiking. I hike 2-3 times a week and this usually helps me actually notice there is nature outside my door and not just cars, laptops, mail, phone calls, and jerks.
-Baking. Because I'm really quite a scattered baker, I absolutely must concentrate when I'm baking - so I'm often in-the-moment while baking, which can be kind of lovely. Unless it goes wrong, which it often does - and then I just feel like a total ass for concentrating so completely yet still failing miserably. Hmmm, so maybe it's not so peaceful? Where am I going with this? Do we even care?
-Reading. I like to read every night before bedtime. Love how it makes me feel cozy and peaceful and sleepy. Except when the ceiling fan above me is turned on high (too early, that is) and it dries my eyes out completely and I can't even read anymore! Then, buzzkill. Wide AWAKE! See, now why did I have to add that last part? This entire post is just going to shit before our eyes, isn't it?
Okay, see why peace is so tough to pursue? What a sucky list indeed. I used to do yoga quite regularly, meditate, and write a little positive grateful-something each night in a journal. I'm just feeling off track here, big surprise. It makes me curious: what do other people do to ensure some dang peace and serenity in their lives? I suppose the first step might be to not call it dang peace. Oh self, how did you think of that?
So with all this thinking about peace, I really could not resist making Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies. I'd been wanting to try them for months and it seemed the perfect time had arrived.
World Peace Cookies
First of all, if you don't own Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours, I will pray to the Dalai Lama for your souls - past, present, and future. This is, by far, my favorite cookbook for baking - and actually, my favorite cookbook, period. I can't even begin to tell you what a great resource it is for everything baking, how beautiful it is, and how wonderfully it's written - just a fabulous book. These chocolaty cookies are delicious; kind of like a sandy, flat brownie with a bit of soft crunch and nubs of chocolate goo here and there. Now, if that can't foster world peace, what can?
1 1/4 AP flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 t. baking soda
11 T unsalted butter, room temp.
2/3 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. fine sea salt
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. mini chocolate chips
Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda together. In a bowl, beat butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. Turn off mixer. Add sifted dry ingredients, pulsing at low speed to avoid flying flour. Once flour has combined a bit, continue to mix at low speed for about 30 seconds, just until flour disappears into the dough; dough may be a bit crumbly. Toss in chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
Turn dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Shape each half into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap logs in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 3 hours.
Center a rack in the oven, preheat to 325F, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Slice logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick; if rounds crack a bit as you slice, no worries - just pinch the bits back onto each cookie. Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving 1-inch between them. Bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes - they won't look done and won't be firm, which is perfect! Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack and let cookies rest until just warm - then serve, or allow to come to room temp. Makes about 36 cookies. ENJOY!