oatmeal raisin cookies

One thing in my defense, not that it matters: I know something Carter never knew, or Helene, or maybe you. I know what “nothing” means, and keep on playing.Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays

As I write this I’m in a hotel in downtown Toronto, recovering from two exhilarating weeks of ideation, collaboration, innovation and creativity. To say I’m spent would be an understatement. In fact, I’ve got a horrific chest cough and I’m watching Rosemary’s Baby while swathed in blankets. And although I’m drained and hoarse from a day of client presentations, I feel humbled with the hand that has been played. Often, we take it for granted the life we live and the minor luxuries afforded us, and I couldn’t feel more passionate about the work I do and the people with whom I’m privileged to work each and every day.

Yet over the past few weeks I’ve had all sorts of conversations about what it means to be in your 30s versus your 20s. A decade ago I would’ve fed on the feverish thrill of long days that ebb and flow to cocktail hours in glittery hotels with crystal chandeliers and vaulted ceilings. Cocktail hours dovetail into drinks in the gloaming, and I’d wake at sunrise without not really having slept, invigorated. I could go on like this for weeks if I had to.

But there’s a moment — a minor keying, really — indiscernable to no one else but yourself, that those days are far behind you. You start to take comfort in early evenings in and quiet dinners with friends. When this happened to me I was startled by the shift and wanted to rally and revert back to the old life, but it felt rusted, old, like an old pair of shoes worn down to the sole. And I soon excepted that this was the next phase of my life, one where I valued quality over quantity. Where I cared less about having the perfect, thin frame. Where all I wanted to do was spend more and more time pursuing creative pursuits while still keeping my passion for business alive and kicking.

So this month many of us having been talking about balance, ratios, and when we’ll find ourselves at the optimal mix. I’m not there yet, but I like the hand I’m playing now and the thrill of the wild card. Of a hand that continues to be played, and a heart that plays it as it lays.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery Cookbook, with slight modifications
144g (1 cup + 1 tsp) all-purpose flour
7.7g (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon
7.4g (1 1/2 tsp) baking soda
3.6g (1 1/4 tsp) Kosher salt
140g (1/2 cup + 3 1/2 tbsp) light brown sugar, lightly packed
69g (1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp) granulated sugar
155g (10 tbsp, 5.5oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
62g (1/4 cup, 1 egg) eggs
7.7g (1 1/4 tsp) vanilla paste (or extract, if you don’t have paste)
155g (2 cups) old-fashioned oats
156g (a cup) golden raisins
Equipment: 1 2 1/2inch (#10) ice-cream scoop

Sift + whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugars, getting rid of any lumps.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium/low speed until its the consistency of mayonnaise and holds a peak when the paddle is lifted. Add the sugars and mix until fluffy (3-4 minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs + vanilla and beat until just combined (15-30 seconds). The mixture make look broken, but that’s fine.

Add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing on low speed for 15-30 seconds after each, until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the oats and pulse on low for 10 times to combine (you can also fold in the oats as I did). Pulse the raisins. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 325F, and position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking/cooking sheets with parchment paper. Using an ice-cream scoop to divide the dough into 12 equal portions (6 on each sheet).

Bake the cookies until golden brown, 21-23 minutes, reversing the sheets half-way through the process. Set the pans on a rack to cool for 5-10 minutes and EAT AWAY.


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