|First photoshop experience: air-brushing the gross stain off the pretty turquoise oven mitt. It looks perfect again!|
I just googled my own name with the words “fall” and “melancholy,” and got 4190 hits. Enough said, right? Maybe almost literally enough said.
I do love the leaf smell, the cold nights, the deeply misted mornings, corduroys, soup, fresh bread, acorns, apples, my down vest, dead mosquitoes, bright skies, and the changing light against the changing trees. But I’m tired today. The weird ChopChop voting thing makes me insecure—like I’m finally showing up for the middle school party in knickers, and everyone else has already moved on to jodhpurs. It’s an old feeling, largely unrelated to the contest, I’m sure. Mostly I just miss the kids while they’re at school. I come at the pussycat with need so frank that he scrabbles away from my empty arms—unless he’s sleeping, and then he’s too lazy to move, so I can kiss my loneliness into his fur. The weekend barely gets started, it seems, and it’s over already. Sigh.
As always, I find myself expressing my love via the children’s lunchboxes, in the form of cookies. I always bake on Sundays, and heading into the week with a tin of cookies is simply good for my soul and sanity. Plus, the kids are around to help me, or at least to dart in in their jammies and nab still-warm cookies from the racks. These are favorites: sweet, a little spicy from the ginger, tart with cherries, and striated with chocolate. They are crunchy on the outside and a tiny bit soft in the center, which I like. And they’re fragrant and wheaty and gorgeous.
Cherry-Chocolate Ginger Cookies
Makes 4 dozen
Active time: 1 hour
This recipe is adapted from one in Heidi Swanson’s gorgeous, inspiring Super Natural Every Day. I have made the recipe exactly as written by her—with the spelt flour and the apricots—and the cookies were terrific. But I like cherries best, and so I like this version even more! These are small cookies, which I love. Then you can pull one from the tin without making a huge commitment.
2 cups spelt flour or whole-wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole-wheat flour this time)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
½ cup (1 stick) butter (I use salted), melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup molasses
2/3 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 large egg, well beaten
1 cup dried sour cherries (I love the ones from Trader Joe’s), chopped (or one cup dried California apricots, chopped)
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped/shaved (or use chips)
½ cup large-grain sugar (mine is Turbinado) or even just regular sugar works fine
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir the egg, molasses, sugar, and fresh ginger into the melted butter.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dries, add the cherries, and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate. At this point, you are supposed to chill the dough for half an hour. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.
Heat the oven to 350, and line two cookie sheets with Silpat liners (or parchment paper).
Scoop the dough into tablespoon-sized lumps (I really do love my dough-scooper for this), then tear each lump in two, roll each half into a ball, roll it in the coarse sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Leave a little space: sometimes they bake up sort of squat and puffy, and sometimes they spread into broader, flatter cookies—I don’t know why. I get about 16 cookies to a sheet.
Bake the cookies two sheets at a time for 7-12 minutes (mine take about 11), until they puff up, darken a bit, and crack across the top. Cool on wire racks.
|The cookies are good for lots of reasons.|
|Two kinds of ginger, for example.|
|Cherries. And the fresh ginger. I kind of spaced and chopped it fine instead of grating it, but all seems well.|
|The dough, which is very stiff.|
|The cat, which is very lazy.|
|It could be that these are a pain to shape and bread in sugar, but I love it for some reason.|
|Unbaked cookie balls.|
|Cookies, baked. Sometimes they spread more, so I give them a bit of room.|
|Children, in pajamas.|
|I told him the funniest joke!|