I’m rather neglectful of cookies, because I’m usually not very good at doing much other than eating them(so champion). This time round, however, I think I’ve nailed it, thanks to some basic recipes I’ve tracked down with delicious results. This isn’t a sweet, syrup-y and crystallized cookie, but it’s purpose is to give energy and be a solid snack. My recent experience with store-bought cookies has proven dismal, with airy, puffy nonsense that’s a waste of time to eat. I’m happy to say that these are anything but air – nice and dense with a soft bite. Also, gluten-free! Can’t beat that! 😀
Despite being something of an introvert, I nevertheless still secretly thrive on small bursts of contact with people. They help focus my life by including them in my thought and decision-making processes, subconsciously or otherwise. When I’m around friends and family especially I can channel my self into being positive so that I don’t leech energy from others, because negative people are truly draining. I’ve spent way too much of my life being negative and thinking I was thriving on it, not realising I was destroying my relationships with others, and then wondering why no-one wanted to spend time with me. Durr!
These days I tend to grin foolishly and laugh like a chorus of cackling frogs as if I the Tigger song thrumming through my body non-stop. I suspect people may think I’ve dropped myself on the head a few times, but I’ve found that once I start smiling, it kick-starts happy feelings, and then my whole body and mind become activated to enjoying being in people’s company. I still get days where I want to crawl into the back of a cupboard and sit quietly, but much less so than in previous years.
Working in a library, there are naturally (and sometimes unfortunately) people milling around everywhere. Most are either friendly or neutral, but I’m noticing grumpiness, puffed egos, and a lack of compassion, all of which get me down. I try to be something of a backstage actor at work, facilitating rather than forcing my personality or space upon people, but when they get snarky or cruel for no reason it is rather perplexing. By experiencing this very unnecessary behaviour, it makes me even more determined to not inflict the same on others.
Marriage has taught me some valuable lessons in this regard. On one hand, it’s amazing to share space with someone and not feel the tightening chest or sense of invasion I get after a while when around others. Admittedly Man-thing is rather bothersome when we sit in the study at our own computers and he stands up every few minutes to hug me or threatens to hug me when I’ve got a carrot in one hand and a mug of tea in the other, but it’s actually rather unique to be squished and squashed so I’m learning to be less uninviting on that front. Having someone you can eat dinner with or do mundane chores with is really beyond awesome, and something I never expected after years of insisting that being alone equalled self-sufficiency, and that surely people in relationships were just too emotionally lazy to be alone (obviously a bunch of rot).
Being around someone all the time, however, can mean that one can easily become unthinking. I’m sure many people can agree that the most hardcore fights or ugliest words said have been with immediate family members, simply because they are the people you can truly be yourself with, warty thoughts and all. If the true person you are can be something of a witch, however, then it’s probably time to work on being a more positive person in general, so that the extremes of emotions and situations are not likely to send a relationship (whether it be romantic, familial or whatever) over the edge of a cliff. I constantly catch myself being less compassionate or less outwardly appreciative than I could be, or actually am experiencing on the inside. My heart may be brimming but I tend to appear aloof or dismissive, but that’s a lifetime of social awkwardness that I’m actively trying to combat, not just for others, but also so that I can live with myself and take responsibility for who I am each moment.
It may seem trite, therefore, but baking or making things for other people is part of the bridge I’ve been building to reach others, and in doing so reach a part of myself that needs to grow. It’s actually less calculating than it sounds, because I instinctively want to create physical proof of my regard for others, since I’m not so good with the words (let’s pretend I’m not writing a 10 page essay here – it’s easier to blog than it is to compliment someone without a five minute build up and internal pep-talk!).
With my colleague and friend Marmiet leaving soon, it’s very difficult to truly show how awesome she is and how much she will be missed, so I’m continuing on my attempt to make her filling snacks and other treats. When moving there isn’t the inclination to buy ingredients and make anything wild, so I decided to put together a filling stuffed cookie for when she needs a protein kick between packing and one of her many, many send-off parties!
The cookie recipe (see below) is pretty awesome, because it produces a soft, crumbly cookie that is plain and simple, without too much sweetness but lots of good protein and clean-eating ingredients. Because rice flour seems determined to disintegrate, however, I figured it called for a gel to keep it all together, and so I couldn’t help creating my very first stuffed cookie. Huzzah!
The filling is something I’ve been dying to try for agggeeess now – Ricki Heller’s vegan chocolate buttercream frosting. Seriously, it is so awesome that I lack the real words for it. It’s just a fantastic frosting, essentially! The carob lends sweetness, and the nut butter just ignites swoons all round. I’m so happy I tried it out, because this is now my go-to for cupcake frostings, without a doubt. All without pesky vegan butter/marg, which I’m not a fan of. As much as I like coconut oil, I don’t always find much glee in making butter, because it’s all gooey in the process, and in any case replacing any type of butter or marg with real ingredients such as sweet potato is grand in my books.
Anyway, can you believe I’m making you wait for the recipes? >:)
I used this cookie recipe from Family Fresh Cooking. The cookie recipe says it makes 14, but I got 20 out of mine by rolling a bit less than 1 TBSP balls and squishing them down rather flat with damp hands. I also added tons and tons of NuNaturals NuStevia lemon drops instead of the other drops (which I’m assuming are just a type of sweetner), because I am *addicted* to that liquid gold, and because I wanted something fresh to counter the density of the cookie itself. I also added lots of ginger spice, because Marmiet loves ginger. Unfortunately it wasn’t nearly as potent as I’d like, so next time I’ll just open the shaker and pour it out liberally. I also think that if one uses a different, non-chocolate filling (a vanilla or cinnamon-custard type filling) then you could easily grind up some crystallized ginger pieces in there for extra oomph and booyah.
NOTE: For those of you with a sweet tooth, don’t feel shy about adding 1 TBSP or two to the mix, or even a packet of Stevia if you don’t mind the taste (it seems some people find it icky). Agave or sticky liquid sweetners & powders will work better in some ways than date paste, for example, because it will be less likely to fall apart.
For the buttercream frosting I did nothing fancy – in fact I was so time-pressed I didn’t get to roast the sweet potato, as the recipe recommends, but I can taste that it would make a delicious difference. I also used peanut butter instead of its drippier counterparts, tahini and almond butter, because I’m out of almond butter (it’s too tempting to keep in the house!) and tahini is rather pricey. It’s still awesome though, just not as “wet” as those in Ricki’s pictures – I used about half the recipe for the filling of these cookies, and will use the rest tonight for something shiny. If you have hazlenuts on hand and a blender/processor that is capable of creaming them up a bit, this would make for the most delicious, indulgent, and fantastic spread on warm toast with sliced bananas and some caramel swirl. *hungry* In fact, that’s going to be my post gym-victory snack tomorrow, because it’s upper body and I think I’ll be somewhere near tears out of weakness :p
NOTE: These cookies are best kept in the fridge because of the frosting, and because cold treats are infinitely superior to all others! 😀
Before signing off, as it were, I have to share – Man-thing and I must be sharing a brain somehow, because when I was busy with today’s baking project he sidled up and stood with arms outstretched to ask for a hug in the kitchen. Usually our rule is he must maintain a safe distance in the kitchen, but he usually breaks it because he loves teasing me when I’m busy with boiling liquids or knives and other objects that don’t go well with lack of mobility. Anyway, he said he wanted to say that he doesn’t show how much he appreciates me, and that sometimes one can get so swept up in the day-to-day negative things that one forgets to take a moment to share happiness or feelings. So he’s also been thinking about today’s topic, which makes me feel less like a witch and reminds me that we’re all just human, trying our best to plod along in the happiest way possible. Cookies help, but I’ll still work on making words less daunting. ❤
What sort of cookie frostings do you use? Are you a glaze monster?