Imperfect and Sweet

Nothing perks up a Winter’s Day like Baking a Batch of Cookies!
This week was a time to delight in Baking!
People have told me over the years that the timing in January is quite ideal, as having gotten through the Holidays and all of the treats that they bring, it is just the time when a new treat may be welcome!
I send Holiday Baking to my Accountant’s office every year!
It feels good to let them know that their hard work behind the scenes is Appreciated! They do such a great job, and are among the many unsung heroes that fill our Day to Day Lives.
I bake a few extra for MOM, my Partner, my Office, the Neighbors…

Baking is always Fun to do! It is also a bit of work!
I find that quite often in Life those two things go together.
The things I find to be the most Fun and the most Rewarding require a bit of work!

Cleaning Up Before & After

When I bake, it is not just the mixing of ingredients and the Baking of the Cookies… That’s the Fun part!
There are also lots of bowls and beaters and cookie trays to wash, there is the shopping for ingredients, the packing and shipping of the finished product, and the trip to the post office… It takes some time and effort!
And that is what is so beautiful about it!
Love is often evidenced in time and effort for another person.
What a joy to experience Love so tangibly in this way!

Plenty of Dishes and Pots and Pans to Wash Here

Brother Lawrence, a Seventeenth Century Monk, referred to himself as “the Lord of Pots and Pans.”
He famously said, “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament”
The Prophet of Pots and Pans! In a kind of a way, I see this as the very best kind of Prophet to be!
If I were to be a prophet, I would certainly want to be one bearing cookies!

This week, I baked six recipes!

Original

 

Cacao

My traditional Triple Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Nut cookies, in both Original and Cacao.

This recipe you already have — Just take your Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, and Change Your Chocolate — Instead of using bagged Chocolate Chips, Chop up some of your Favorite Quality Chocolate and toast up some of your Favorite Nuts! I use Dark, Milk and White Chocolate and Fresh Roasted Macadamia Nuts. What will you use?

Millionaire’s ShortBread

I have been wanting to try a recipe for Millionaire’s ShortBread for some time.

I used the one from COOK’S ILLUSTRATED, which I received on a free trial. I cannot publish it here because they require a subscription to get it. But if you internet search “Millionaire’s ShortBread,” you will find many recipes worth trying!

Peanut Butter Bars

I found some copycat recipes for Mrs. Fields Peanut Butter Dream bars… another biggie on my list to try.

The Peanut Butter Filling came a bit too dry and crumbly, perhaps because I used Natural Peanut Butter with no added oils — so I added in a tablespoon or two of Peanut Oil and a quarter-cup of Heavy Cream to smooth it out, which seemed to work just fine!

 

Fudgy Oat Bars

I made Fudgy Oat Bars, which this past year have become a staple in my repertoire.

These my Partner fell in Love with in Canada — they have some version of them at StarBucks there, but not here in the States. They are essentially an Oatmeal Cookie Dough made as a Bar Cookie, with the Sweetened Condensed Milk Fudge Recipe we all knew as kids poured in as filling! YUM!

 

 

Burnt Butter Chocolate Toffee Chip Cookies

And finally, I experimented with a Burnt Butter Cookie recipe. I took the dough recipe from the back of the See’s chocolate chip bag, but I altered it based on a cookie my friend ANGELA brought over at Christmastime, BON APPÉTIT MAGAZINE’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie which also used burnt butter. So following her lead, I replaced the very Delicious Sees Chips with some equally Delicious but less sweet Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate, and added some butter toffee (actually about ten Skor bars which I chopped up).

Here is the recipe from the back of the Chocolate Chips Bag.

 

Here is the original BON APPÉTIT´ Recipe.

These were a success! The sweetness of the ten Skor Bars balanced the bittersweet chocolate nicely. I think next time I would be more careful to cook the butter until the moment it just turns amber, before it turns brown.
More experimenting to do with this one…

One of the things most noteworthy about this week’s Baking Adventure is how Imperfect these Creations came out!
They didn’t look at all like the pictures I saw posted with the recipes.
Perhaps it was that I did not let them warm enough after chilling in the refrigerator to set the chocolate on top, or perhaps it was because I cut them too small. But it seemed as though most of the chocolate tops cracked and crumbled.
I have no problem with this!
I grew up in a time when homemade was preferred!
The Act of Love was appreciated!
And it was not about expertise.
It was not about getting it perfect.
It was about being Fully Present and doing it out of Love!
I remember my Mother would sometimes say when I was frosting a cake or taking care of some other activity in the kitchen, “Don’t make it look too perfect! You want it to look HomeMade! That’s nicer!”
This is how Life was in the 60s and 70s — before everything became about how it could be sold.
Or maybe it was just because I was a kid at the time!
But MAMA’s lesson has stayed with me!
I feel no shame in my cracked chocolate tops!
I feel Joy!
I feel the Act of Imperfect Love — that is the only kind I have to Offer — and it feels very Truthful to me!
Oh, I have friends who bake the most perfect creations, and I have always admired that! Their Skill and Artistry is exceptional!
But I am not that person!
I am an imperfect Lover of Life!
I offer what I can: HeartFelt… Imperfect… Yet, it is offered with Love!
And it tastes Delicious, by the way!
It’s very Beauty lies in its Imperfection.
Just like many of us!
Like most of the Creative things that I do, my Baking is not perfect!
Even when I take a photo, the flaws are evident.
That’s okay!
Perfection does not happen to be my Gift, and insisting upon it can be a prison in which I did spend some time in the folly of my Youth.
THE COURSE IN MIRACLES reminds us:
“To think like God is to share His certainty of what you are! And to create like Him is to share the perfect love He shares with you!”

Mixing the Caramel

We were created in the image of the Creator!

Mixing the Butter and Sugar and the Burnt Butter…

That means that our destiny is to Create!
How truly Full of Wonder!
Yet, I find it valuable to remember that I have never met a perfect human being!
Still, I have met so many very Full of Wonder ones!
And so, I bake to Create in the image of my Creator!
I am making Imperfect Cookies in an attempt to make the world more Delightful and that I Hope may be Enjoyed!
Just as God has made so many Imperfect People who seem to make the World more Delightful!
And I enjoy Every One!
HomeMade Cookies are Delicious Little Miracles!
As BING CROSBY reminded us “It’s not the things you do at Christmastime; But the Christmas things you do all year through!”

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3 Comments

  1. Darcie

     /  January 27, 2018

    BEAUTIFUL post! I’m inspired on many levels. . .Now I want to bake, eat chocolate and read A Course in Miracles!

    Reply
  2. Ah, the miracle of baking. Every ingredient is love. Every bite is love. All the disparate pieces come together in a combination that is new and unexpected and delicious. Life at its best!

    Reply

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