Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cookie Thursdays

Hello! Thank you so much for your patience with me in this last month+ as I disappeared from the food blog world. I especially appreciated the occasional comments I still received!

I will admit that this little "fast" of mine ended more than a week ago, but I've gotten out of the blogging rhythm, so it's taken me this long to finally sit down and write. I have also found the idea of picking up again a bit daunting because so much has happened since my last post in February. So, I'm going to go ahead and fill you in on a new ritual of mine and point you toward the recipe it revolves around. Then you can keep reading if you're interested in a broader life update...

Envision cookies, dozens of them, pushed into crooked rows on a counter top after the one cooling rack in our kitchen has overflowed.

Out of the freezer comes a cold, sweet log of dough; a long blade precisely slices, slices, slices until there's no more to slice; a baking sheet comes out of the oven; another goes in; the timer is set for nine minutes; I have seven minutes to breathe and get out of the hot kitchen until the ritual starts over again.

When I offered to provide cookies for a work-related meeting I had no idea they would be a success, that this pattern--measuring, sifting, whirring, rolling, freezing, slicing--would become second nature to me in a matter of weeks. Yet, here I am on another Thursday evening, having risen at eight o'clock to turn the oven on before jumping in the shower and thinking of the two containers of cookie crumbs sitting in the break room at my office.

It really has been a joy to provide cookies to such an enthusiastic group of co-workers (actually, they're all pretty much my bosses). After that first batch of cookies was made and the leftovers were devoured in the break room a note appeared in their place proposing a "Lael, please, oh please, refill the cookie box" fund.

Ever since the end of February I have been taking this fund and delivering batches of cookies to the office on Thursday mornings, for which I receive elated faces and satisfied moans. Honest. These cookies are serious business. And I wish I could take full credit for them, but all I did was snag the recipe from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from Dorie Greenspan.

I have to admit that Deb of Smitten Kitchen hit on something pretty amazing. The crumb of these cookies is delicate and modestly sweet. The whole thing melts in your mouth and the base is so versatile that you can customize each batch to almost any palette.

The office's biggest fan of these cookies is Steven, and one day my friend and I were cruel enough to convince him that they had all been eaten before he had a chance to get any. You should have seen the look on his face. But when he found out we had lied this was his response:

"I was mad, but after one cookie, I was filled with nothing but grace."

And this is my absolute favorite quote of his:

"If I were single, these cookies might make me give up my search for a meaningful relationship."

I really don't know what else to say. You're just going to have to try them!

Not wanting to take any credit away from Smitten Kitchen for these little wonders, follow this link to the recipe for her
Slice and Bake Cookies.

Here are just a few of the variations I've made:

  • zest of two limes and 1/2 cup coconut replacing equal parts flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (replacing flour) and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 t. fennel with pine nuts on top (inspired by this cookie recipe)
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachio and sesame seed combo (lightly toasted) and rose water (replacing vanilla)

Okay, so I think that's where I'm going to wrap things up tonight. I promise I'll be back to fill in some gaps (e.i. post artwork, etc.) later. The sun has gone down, friends are coming over soon, and I need to scrub some spots on our kitchen floor. Ciao!


deb said...

Wonderful! I'm so glad you're enjoying, and being creative, with them. Lovely pictures, as well.

kristin said...


Yay! It's so nice to have you back! What a great debut blog. I love the quotes and love how everyone loves the cookies. I am jealous that I don't work there and are wondering if they are hiring! Thank you for the recipe - I might need to get in the kitchen and get a mixin'!

Elise said...

I'll just have to try these sometime soon and at a time when I'm not the only one around to eat them! Thanks for coming back into this world and sharing your delicious creativity with us. Can't wait for you to be home and so we can concoct up some raw food dishes. Hope it comes soon!

Rachael said...

I'm not surprised that your talents are being discovered on campus...
little do they know...(smile)
You and Uncle Jordan need to team up--that would be a delicious combination.

Lael said...

Deb: thanks so much for the compliment on my picutres! It means a lot, coming from someone who's photography I admire so.

Kristin: you're comments always brighten my day. I'm glad to be back too!

Sister & Mother: ...oh, we talk all the time...

Brent Johnson said...

how is the cookie dough for these cookies? could be slice and eat? or just slice and bake?

the cookie dough is a big part of my considerations on making cookies these days.

Lael said...

hi there Brent! do you mean: how good is the raw cookie dough? honestly, it's not the sort of dough you'll find yourself wondering if you should set partially aside to nibble at from the fridge. It's not particularly remarkable until it's baked because it's not very sweet, and the baking of them really brings together all the flavors and enhances the melt-in-your-mouth experience.