God, how I’ve missed this.
It’s been months…MONTHS since I’ve had time to lose myself in the groove of making something intricate in the kitchen. Of course, I’ve cooked the occasional steak or chicken dish for dinner but never one I felt I could call truly creative. This is the first time in months I’ve had fun baking something.
As I’ve stated in nearly all my blogs this year, I’ve been going through some stressful changes. I’m a week away from closing on my first house and have been feverishly working on my novella, “The Collection” in order to have it ready to print in July. Today in particular, I was really feeling the pressure. I’ve been packing my apartment up bit by bit for over a week, my life slowly being boxed away and the place I’ve called home for the last five years is beginning to feel less and less so.
Similarly at my job, one of my wonderful co-workers is moving on to bigger and brighter things with a new job. I decided very last minute that I’d make him something as a going away gift. I’d seen a recipe for some Mocha Crinkle Cookies on Pinterest yesterday and decided that those would be the perfect thing to try. They are an uncomplicated cookie, one that doesn’t take too long to make and that I don’t have to stress about as far as clean up is concerned.
And damn if they’re not f-ing delicious.
Throwing on my Kiss the Sky radio station (a funky mix of Kid Loco, the Thievery Corporation, and The Heavy to name a few), I breezed into the kitchen and started out collecting the dry ingredients for the cookies. In my small ceramic bowl, I mixed 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, and 1 tbsp. coffee grounds. The original recipe called for instant espresso powder and I didn’t have any on hand. Coffee grounds make a perfectly fine and marvelous substitution.
Sifting the ingredients together with a fork, I lost myself in the groove of the music and felt for the first time today that I could get lost in an act as beautiful and simple such as baking. It is true that I’m often terrible at reading directions, frequently injure myself in the kitchen, and sometimes take risks I shouldn’t with strange ingredients. I don’t feel a burst of energy with this recipe as I’ve had with others, rather it’s like a meditation, losing myself in the swirls of the cocoa and flour beneath me. It seems silly to describe it that way but it was a relaxing experience and just the one I needed.
In a second larger glass bowl, I melted 3 tbsp. of butter, then added 1/4 cup brown sugar plus 1 tbsp., 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and egg whites from one large egg. Everything went fine until the egg, of course. Eggs in cooking are my sworn enemies. This battle with them resulted in egg white getting on the rug. And then, just as I made to throw it away, I found that I hadn’t put a new trash bag in the trash can.
After I’d stirred the wet ingredients together until they were smooth, I dumped 1/3 of the flour mixture into the wet. Doing this really helps to make sure that the flour is completely mixed, otherwise you are liable to get chunks of flour and cocoa powder in with your cookies. I added section after section, the batter becoming harder and harder to stir and, eventually, rather difficult. I ditched my fork in favor of kneeding the dough with my hands. This worked and at the same time…didn’t. My hands stuck to the dough in places and I ended up with a bit of chocolate on my hands. No matter; it was all worth it.
I laid out some spoonfuls of granulated sugar on a plate and shifted it until an even coat covered its surface. Then, I picked pieces of the dough apart and rolled them into inch sized spheres before rolling them around in the sugar. I already knew how amazing these were going to be and I couldn’t keep from imagining how mouth-watering they’d smell once they came out of the oven. The batch made about 27 cookies but that’s only because they varied in size, some too big and some way too small.
After they’d gone into the oven at 350 for 10 minutes, they came out smelling like a dream. That little hint of coffee really pushes through the rich chocolate flavor. I ate one to try it and by the time I realized it, I’d eaten five. Addictive little buggers.
Seriously, give this one a try. You won’t be sorry.
And while you’re at it, have fun with it. Don’t like coffee? Mix in some orange or raspberry extract. Or how about a little bit of mint? This is a cookie you can be very creative with. It doesn’t take much time and you can utterly relax and enjoy yourself while making them.
Until next time,