As much as this whole grain peach pie was a gift for Annie, it was also a gift for me. It felt so good to be able to bake for someone else again, to share, even if sharing looks differently these days. It felt reviving to truly play with food again, not for work, not for money but for the delight of someone else.
If there's one silver lining to social distancing, it's a very stripped-back, honest look at time and fulfillment. How often do I turn to Netflix aimlessly? How often do I pick up my phone to fill a void of companionship? How could I fill my life with more joyful creation... and more cookies!
I made these mini cakes to reclaim my birthday cake tradition but also as a way to choose life and joy instead of fear. It seems appropriate that now, as I'm sharing the recipe, the world is in the grips of fear. We're in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and when I start to feel overwhelmed, stressed, scared or all of the above, I remind myself to return to gratitude.
Adapted somewhat by pantry necessity and by a grainy curiosity from Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook. The original recipe comes from Avery Ruzicka, the baker behind Manresa Bread in California, and the result is a recipe with careful and precise instructions that yields the most fragrant, gooey cookies. I'm not one for superlatives in blogging & baking, but these are the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made!
Somewhere in that process of creating my book and fostering connections for others, I lost a little of my own space for connection. I lost that little voice that said, “why don’t I invite so and so over,” or “why don’t I call so and so.” Mostly, why don’t I pause? "Because," that inner voice said, “there is more to do. You don’t have time.” But that voice stems from a place of scarcity, not creativity or purpose. So on a summery weekend, I adjusted my compass. And through it all, there was always Julep, reminding me that in exchange for her constant support and unconditional love, for the joy she brings me daily, she requires just a mere blueberry taste test.
When it comes to coffee consumption, I lean toward the Lorelai Gilmore school of thought, ie: more, more, more! I like black coffee with a splash of cream in the morning (followed by a refill). I like short, concentrated cortados in the afternoon, or iced lattes when it’s hot. When it comes time to cheers to the weekend, why stop the coffee? Pair it with a splash of bourbon, and we’re en route to a Cold Brew Coffee Cocktail. What else is in store for the weekend?
Exfoliation is a necessary step to keep skin glowing, and making a homemade sugar scrub, it turns out, is easy- just mix the ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a jar, and … that’s it! Plus, homemade scrubs give you the power to customize the scents to your fancy and to make sure every ingredient is top quality.