Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

Recently, on a mild midweek evening, my guy and I ate dinner at his house and then went for a walk through the neighborhood. We have savored these midweek dinners in this season; they began as taco nights, but have evolved to include lasagna or hot dogs or whatever is in the fridge or pantry on any given week. They also, sometimes, include episodes of Black-ish or The Mandalorian, but on this particular evening, we wanted to wander.

He lives in a mostly residential area, leafy and quiet and hard to get to by public transit; I like it, except that it’s not all that accessible. The houses are a mix of single-family, classic Boston triple-deckers, brick mid-century apartment blocks. There were, on that evening, so many climbing vines and blooming roses and blowsy, beautiful peonies.

We ended up at Kiki’s, a nearby market whose name always makes me smile, because it’s what my nephews call me. I’d never been inside, so we decided to go in for a browse. And to our surprise and my utter delight, we found the aisle you see above: lined with every conceivable kind of digestive biscuit, Cadbury chocolate bar, and various other British treats.

Suddenly I was 20 years old again, standing in the smallish Sainsbury’s on the Woodstock Road in Oxford, or in the tiny post office around the corner on North Parade. I was gazing at the unfamiliar chocolates in their purple wrappers, trying to decide which one to take home for my study session that night. I was in the House 10 kitchen with Jamie, late at night, munching on an orange-wrapped roll of Hobnobs biscuit, talking about dreams and travel and love.

There was more: custard creams and bourbon creams, jammy tea cakes wrapped in marshmallow and chocolate, the orange-scented Jaffa cakes that are my friend Cole’s favorite. I was taken back, too, to the tiny newsstand across from St Anne’s College, Oxford, where you could once buy a bag of broken biscuits (exactly what it sounds like) for a pound or two.

We brought home an assortment of biscuits, plus a Cadbury Mint Crisp bar (still my favorite), and some spicy beef jerky (G couldn’t resist). I was – am – completely surprised to find all these treats in such variety and volume, three blocks from G’s house in Brighton. It kicked my ever-present wanderlust back into gear, of course, but more than that it simply made me happy: so glad to find these goodies that are part of a place I love, and happy to share them with my favorite man.

What local adventures are you having, these days?

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‘Tis the season for treats – because it’s cold outside (good baking weather), because the holidays are coming, and because we are in month fourteen thousand of this pandemic year. (And because we got over a foot of snow here in Boston last night/today.)

I’ve been doing a bit of baking myself – mostly scones and superhero muffins – but have recently found myself the glad recipient of cookies made by friends. A girlfriend handed me a container of margarita shortbread cookies (with plenty of citrus and salt) on a recent walk in Cambridge. The following week, another friend texted to say she’d dropped off a tin of cookies (above) on my front porch. It contained crinkly chocolate cookies dusted with powdered sugar and, underneath, some classic sugar cookies. I stretched them out over nearly a week, to make them last.

The loneliness is hitting hard this week, but I am – as always – grateful for kind gestures from friends, which add sweetness to my life in more ways than one.

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This year, Valentine’s Day coincided with my first day at a new job. We hadn’t planned a big splash, anyway, since it fell on a Monday, and we’d celebrated early with a yummy dinner date in the North End at the weekend (the best lasagna I’ve ever had, finished off with cannoli from – where else? – Mike’s.)

However, I’d been hankering to make Jen’s Valentine sugar cookies, and I was also brain-tired and longing to do something tactile when I got home on Monday. So I tied on my favorite striped apron and began pulling ingredients out of the pantry.

The first thing I noticed? We had no powdered sugar. So I shed the apron, pulled on my coat, and dashed to Walgreen’s, just up the street. No dice. They had regular sugar, but no powdered. I headed home, and discovered via the Internet that if you don’t have powdered sugar, you can in fact make your own – by whizzing regular sugar and a little cornstarch in the blender. Excellent.

When I opened the flour canister, I realized there was no way I had enough flour to make a whole batch of cookies. So I halved the recipe. (The hubs doesn’t have a raging sweet tooth anyway, although I do.)

Problem #3: Not enough shortening. So I substituted butter, hoping it would work. (It did.) And started to wonder if I should have even bothered – but by then, of course, I’d poured half the ingredients into a bowl. So I pressed on, mixing, chilling, whisking up some pink icing (no sprinkles, but the pink looked properly festive), rolling and baking.

And when J walked in, as I was putting the cookies onto sheets, his face lit up. And – bonus! – he had brought me a Valentine cupcake from their office potluck.

I could have given up on the cookies for lack of flour, sugar, shortening, sprinkles, energy or the will to fuss with it. But I’m so glad I didn’t. Because even with limited, imperfect ingredients, I was still able to make something special for my love. And – true to form – he walked out of the kitchen later, munching on a cookie, and declared, “These are delicious.”

Happy Love Thursday, all. May you find some sweetness today.

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Naturalized French writer Kristin Espinasse begins her blog today with the plea, “Write it down while it is fresh in your mind, fresh as the hand grated parmesan that falls over scalding hot risotto.” The rest of the entry is a tour de force for the senses and an inspiring urge to write. I’m completely addicted to her blog already, but after this, I shall be even more. Go here to read the rest of it.

I had a sartorialist moment today and came up with a chic new outfit: cropped pants with tights, black heels and an eggplant-coloured shirt. I feel very fashionable. And comfy to boot.

Item: I DID whip up some cookies the other night, after the “cookies are love” quote. Gingersnaps that night for J, who loves them more than any cookie but snickerdoodles (I’m the chocoholic in the relationship), and oatmeal chocolate chunk last night, with leftover frozen dough. Both turned out rather well, if I do say so myself. Yummmmm.

Finally, here are some pictures of my adorable little flat, all decked out for Christmas. 19 days…get excited!

My little tree, all decked out (though it now has a star atop it)…

My festive kitchen…my friend Tiffany made me this tree out of coat hangers, garland and lights in the seventh grade. It’s held up well!

The wreath I made from last year’s decorations…it’s amazing what can be done with a few balls, snowflakes, some ribbon and a wreath.

And me next to my little tree…wishing all of you a VERY merry holiday season!

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cookies are love

From a daily quote email I get from Real Simple magazine (to which, by the way, I am becoming completely addicted):

Cookies are love, the love of making them and the love of sharing them.
— Maida Heatter

Mmmmm…cookies. 🙂 I think pumpkin bread might also be love. Or scones. To that end, I think I may whip one of those up tonight. But if I can’t, I think Kandy Kisses candles (red and white, melting into pink) and wrapped presents under Christmas trees and choir concerts of Christmas music (with a guest harpist!) might also be love. After a hectic day at the office, I’m looking forward to a lovely evening.

The swing night on Friday was fantabulous. Thanks to Cole for talking me into going, giving me a ride, being my favourite partner, and taking me to Half Price Books the next day. More to come (and pictures!). Adieu…

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