Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cookie Jar

Matt is a firm believer that "dessert is part of a meal". He's usually pretty proactive about procuring said dessert, but since he knows how much pleasure I get out of sweetening his life, he's generously appreciative when I fill the cookie jar.This jar is my new favorite repository for delicious things, from granola to rugelach, because it doesn't hide the goods. Pictured on the bottom of the jar are NY Times chocolate chip cookies (yes, these cookies), with some kasha and cacao nibs thrown in, via the Wednesday Chef. This batch, both before and after a 24 hour rest in the refrigerator, seemed to have a little extra accidental butter, so the cookies were thin and crispy, honeycombed with holes. Matt compared them to Pepperidge Farm Brussels cookies, but mostly they were just themselves, large and lovely.

The top of the jar is filled with these things called Vienna Punch Cookies, from Nick Malagieri's book The Modern Baker. I think these butter cookies sandwiched with chocolate-crumb-jam-kahlua filling are a great idea,
but the picture in the book is so enticing because the cookies are sporting a flawless royal-type icing. The recipe given, however, makes a poorly dissolved and lumpy version. Next time I'd make the cookies just the same way but change the icing.

Worries about money combined with the coming of fall have been inciting powerful subconscious urges within me. I want the freezer stocked (corn, blanched beet greens, stock, chicken dumplings, eggplant parmesan, cookie and pie dough), the cupboard full of flour, tomatoes, beans and other staples. I've been poaching quinces, making fruit butters, and stews with a vengeance, and dreaming of freezing whole lasagnes. I do so love being a good provider. Sometimes I overdo it and provide more than anyone can possibly eat, or want to eat, but I am lucky to have good friends and loved ones who take my efforts in stride, come to dinner often, listen to my obsessions, cook for me too, and happily empty any cookie jar I fill. It's a well-documented sign of love (or pathology) to lavish a family with food and hospitality. It's a somewhat underappreciated gift to respond properly to that hospitality, to receive that proffered love and nurturing with gratitude and delight and equal responsiveness. I'm so grateful that my love and my family have good shares of both of these essential talents.

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