chocolate cloud cookies + rolling with it

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Yesterday I decided to go for a walk because being swathed in blankets, wrapping up your face in tissue like some sarcophagus, and turning your home into a bakery because you’re exhausted and coming down with the sniffles, has an expiration date. After a fit of sneezing that had me bordering on apoplexy, my cat scurried away to the next room and peered out from behind the door. Had his mother turned into a typhoon?

The moment when you start constructing narratives your cat would employ is the moment you leave the house.

Dusk fell and the sky was milky and still, and I found myself surrounded by trees. My friend and business partner phoned, and we discussed our mutual sneezing, our frenetic schedules, and lamented that it’s been too long since we’ve seen one another. I start to tell her about this new project I’ve got going, and she laughs and says, It’s like you’re a management consultant. The line was small, insignificant, a throwaway piece of conversation, but I paused mid-step, and said, I don’t know about that. To myself I thought, I don’t know what I am.

I’ve deliberately put writing + editing of my novel on hold until I get to Fiji next month (note to self: don’t book expensive vacations while drunk and mourning the loss of your cat, because you’ll pay for it, literally, later). I’ve got projects to keep me busy. I’m baking all these sweets you see here. But what does it all mean? All signs point to…

BLANK.

Part of me wants to roll with it, play the hand out, see how the cards fall. While another part wants to make a decision. Should I formally train in pastry making? Should I commit to this partnership I’ve got with my friend to take this consultancy off the ground? Should I map out a series of books? Should I start this magazine I’ve been talking about?

Suddenly there is stasis. There is this great chasm (or perhaps one that I’ve architected) between me and the thing that I ought to be pursuing. I’m in ether, floating, indecisive, and I’ve never quite been like this. There’s always be a plan, an objective, something very clear to which I’ve to work toward. Now, there’s this. There’s the joy of baking chocolate chip cookies and finding something new in so simple a recipe. There’s the relief from being an office but not having to adopt it and a company’s culture. There’s the thrill of finally being able to write, to finally have found my voice.

As you can see, I’m meandering. My mentor once told me that people who give long responses to short questions do it because they don’t know the answer. It’s like filling your test blue books with words in hopes that the answer might emerge from the rubble. You’ll talk and write your way there.

Part of wonders if I want is right in front of me but I can’t see it yet…

INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours
1 1/3 cup superfine sugar
1 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
16 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine sea salt
2 cups (8 ounces) toasted sliced almonds
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 3 half-sheet pans with parchment paper. Rub the superfine sugar and brown sugar together through a coarse-mesh wire sieve into a medium bowl; set aside. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar mixture, then the vanilla. Beat, occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, until the mixture is pale yellow and light-textured, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer speed on low, add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until each addition is incorporated. Add the almonds and chocolate chips and mix just until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Empty the dough onto the work counter, and use your hands to thoroughly distribute the almonds and chocolate chips in the dough.

Using a 2-inch diameter ice cream scoop, portion the batter onto the prepared pans. Using the heel of your palm, slightly flatten each ball of dough. Bake two of the pans with the cookies, switching the position of the pans from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through baking, until the cookies are evenly golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. During the last 3 minutes, rap each pan on the rack. The cookies will deflate and their signature cracks will appear on the tops. Repeat with the third pan. Cool on the pans.

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10 thoughts on “chocolate cloud cookies + rolling with it

  1. it’s a hard answer to find/give. who or what am I and what am I going to do… I would give a very long answer too. for me the problem is that I still pursue too many things. I narrowed it down to four, but it still feels like I’m squandering precious time by not focusing on one. or maybe two. see, here we go again. I try to convince myself that most of my interests are kind of related, but fact is, by doing them all I lose time to learn and become really good at one of them, I’m all over the place. with all over connections. I desperately cling to the conviction that it’ll all work out in the end. but, you know, I’m already 247 years old. so how much time do I have left? yadda yadda.

    anyhow, all I’m saying is that I think I know where you are coming from. I can’t tell you anything else. you’ll figure out where you’re going next. I’ll figure it out too. in the meantime, I think it’s great that you honestly share what you are going through. the world is too full of people who stick to a ‘plan’ because that’s what’s expected of us. to have a plan and to ‘know’.

    xxx

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  2. Your last line said it all.

    I recall a friend who is a poet and teaches part time telling me about how she set a creative exercise for her student one day (a mature French business woman increasing her English fluency) and asked her to describe in writing her perfect day if she didn’t have to work full-time in an office. She told me, you wouldn’t believe it, she described my life exactly. It was a life where she had time to write, time to work, time to go to the sea, to see a friend, time to meditate.

    My friend and I both know that juggling multiple activities requires a number of sacrifices, and so she was surprised to see that someone she perceived as being “successful” would want soemthing like she had. We know that there is less security but it also generates great personal satisfaction. When one activity becomes so great that it nearly eliminates the time to do others, it’s like a part of us is missing. When our day is patterned to enable us to push all the buttons that make us who we are, we are working towards that often elusive balance, one that many people aspire towards, but it is considered a courageous (some might even say foolish) thing to let go of being “owned” by one organisation.

    All the things you are doing seem to be satisfying the different aspects of who you are, if you look forward to them, they are, if you feel any resistance against them, they are not.

    I say roll with it :)

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