"I love s'mores," he hinted. "I love cookies," he hinted. So I went to the kitchen to heed the hints. I heated the oven, whisked, poured, whirled, and then swirled homemade fluff into a chocolate dough. I crushed whole-grain graham crackers and sprinkled them over the swirls. I watched as the warm oven solidified the textures into a magical campfire cookie. I tried to savor the moment - the warm kitchen, the chocolatey smell, the way he smiled after the first taste test.
The internet is ablaze with ideas for holiday cookie boxes, which require careful packing and shipping. Though this makes for a beautiful snail mail surprise, it does diminish the appeal of the assembly. However, with a vintage crate or a pretty tray, you can take a similar idea and enjoy the sweet bounty in person.
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.