One-handed Cookies

6 01 2011

My cookie exchange anxiety abated whenever I gazed at my tree.

On the Thursday before Christmas Eve, I broke my hand. This, as broken bones generally are, was an unexpected turn of events. It’s a funny story, really. The short version is that I fell down the stairs in the middle of the night. The longer version is more complicated.

Before I went to sleep that ill-fated night, I kicked our little menagerie out of the bedroom – two big dogs and one cat who suffers from a pattern of weight gain and loss not unlike Oprah. If I let them sleep in the room with me, they inevitably wake up in the middle of the night and rattle around. There is a lot of collar-jangling and moaning and meowing as they beg to go in and out, and in and out, and in and out. Why? Why so much movement in the night? It’s just easier if I shut them out. Then when Robert comes to bed, he lets them back in.

SO I drifted off into an uninterrupted slumber. Apparently, at some point in the night the dogs were making a big racket, trying to get back in. I didn’t hear it, but I imagine it involved Scrappy making his usual donkey noises and Lily stumbling repeatedly into the door headfirst, like a zombie. Robert, who had been up extraordinarily late due to a looming deadline, came out to the landing from his office to try to settle them. He sat down and petted the dogs, and Paul the cat snuggled up, too. Because he’s been so tired due to the aforementioned deadline, Robert promptly fell asleep. On the landing. With all the pets.

When I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I opened the door and quickly shuffled, all squinty-eyed, and focused on getting the job done, through the door and across the landing. I felt my foot catch on something that felt strangely like my husband’s arm, and I launched, with a surprising amount of momentum, headfirst down the stairs. I was really traveling fast, it was kind of amazing. Apparently Robert had to grab my legs to stop me just before I bashed my head into the wall where the staircase makes a sharp turn to the right. My left hand took the brunt of the impact, and it seems the fourth metacarpal just isn’t meant to cushion 130 pounds of human because it snapped in two, like a twig.

Well, you might be wondering, that is a great story and I’m glad it wasn’t worse, and wow you are kind of klutzy, and it’s sort of weird that your husband was sleeping on the landing, but what does that have to do with anything?

It is so much harder to do things like fix dinner, walk dogs. fold laundry, and most important, bake cookies with only one hand. And I signed up for Steph’s (of Steph Chows) cookie exchange! I owed my partner 12 delicious cookies, but how to bake when you only have one good hand and you need to sit around and feel sorry for yourself?!

I had really wanted to impress with these cookies. My partner is Marina, and here’s her website. I KNOW, right? How can I possible compare with that? She must be amazing! That Honey Nut Banana Butter looks like it’s to die for. But it seemed all I was going to be able to do was throw a few things in the stand mixer and then gob it on a cookie sheet. No rolled cut-outs, no decorations, no fancy macarons. Oy vey.

I looked through my recipes and couldn’t find anything appropriate. I Googled something like “i have a broken hand and need to make fabulous cookies or else i am going to cry”. Nothing. So I poked around on the interwebs some more and found two recipes that seemed like they might just do. Both are from The Kitchn, and I won’t reprint them, because, seeing as how all of my energy was being channeled into sitting around and elevating my hand, I had nothing left for adapting recipes. So I didn’t change them at all.

Gouda cookies. Oh. Mah. Gawww.

The first recipe is for these Gouda Apple cookies. And holy crap, were they amazing. Very savory – you totally need to get past the fact that they aren’t sweet in order to really enjoy them. The olive oil shines in these. And I used a very aged, very delicious gouda, which meant that the cheese flavor is anything but subtle. I think these make a great post-holiday-gorge-fest cookie. They are also going to make a fantastic mountain biking snack. If you only have one hand, you might need someone to work the grater for you, but they are otherwise a cinch to throw together.

Maybe the world's best gouda.

The second recipe I found seemed appropriate, as I was doing a lot of sitting around and reading British mysteries. I totally have a thing for British mysteries, it might be a little unhealthy, actually. These Earl Grey Tea Cookies aren’t too sweet, and they’re almost delicate. The Earl Grey flavor is perfect – not overwhelming, but certainly there. The dough did need to be formed into a log and chilled, but it was easily done with one hand. *I am having a hard time getting the link to work for this recipe–

maybe try copying and pasting this:

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

Now, because Steph’s exchanges aren’t complete without a great deal of worry on my part (remember all of my jam anxiety?), of course I am convinced that something is going to go wrong. In this case, I made the cookies the day before New Year’s Eve, and then shipped them on the 31st. What was I thinking? They probably didn’t go anywhere until the following Monday, and who knows when the heck she will receive them. Meaning, she will probably take her first bite and break a tooth on a desiccated fossil of a cookie. OMG I hope she doesn’t break a tooth. I probably should have included a check to cover the cost of a crown from her dentist. If you’re reading this, Marina, I am so sorry!


Cookie Coma, part 2: Shortbread

1 01 2010

For Round Two of holiday baking, one type of cookie wasn’t enough. I wanted to go with a classic, but I had already done sugar cookies and gingerbread during Round One. So I turned to shortbread. Because what’s not to love about a recipe that calls for 3 sticks of butter?

These shortbread cookies come from Ina Garten, who is welcome, at any time, to come to my house and cook for me. (That’s an open invitation for you, Ina. Any time, I mean it.) They were really perfect. Really, really perfect. Ohmygod buttery, and with the perfect amount of sweet. I dipped about half of them in melted chocolate, which was good, but not necessary. On their own, they’re so… elegant. And if there’s one thing I could use, it’s a little dose of elegant.

If you want to impress anyone, make these cookies! If you want to add a little bit of loveliness to life, make these cookies! If you want to increase the size of your butt threefold, make these cookies (and then shamelessly consume nearly all of them, like I did.).

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Cookie Coma, part I (Cranberry-White chocolate-orange cookies)

28 12 2009

Does this happen to you? I get so jazzed up for my yearly cookie-making extravaganza, and then by the time I’ve mixed the first batch of dough, I’m feeling a little… done with the whole thing. So by the time night falls, I’m cursing the holiday season and each stick of butter it requires. Terrible thing, to resent cookies.

This year I made it through round one okay. But soon those cookies had been doled out (treat week at work, Robert, friends, family, etc), and I realized it was time for round two. Really. A round two of Christmas baking. So it couldn’t just be typical sugar cookies or gingerbread this time. No, I needed THE MOST AWESOME COOKIE ON THE PLANET. And, people, I found it. I did. I. Literally. Couldn’t. Stop. Eating. These. Cookies. I was in a cookie coma.

I couldn't stop eating them, and now I can't stop looking at them.

I found these online, here, and I have to say, they are the most delicious cookies. They have all the Right Flavors of the holidays. You must make them. You must. They are all the good things from the holidays, like happiness and Santa Claus, and they will make you forget the bad things, like angry relatives who’ve had too much sherry.

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Ginger cookies

29 10 2009


What is it about ginger?

Does anyone want gingery foods when they’re NOT feeling sorry for themselves? Or when they’re NOT cold? Or when it’s NOT gloomy out? Or when they’re NOT obsessively listening to their old Thelonius Monk albums? Maybe it’s just me.

I also never want gingery foods in the summer or spring. It’s a fall/winter flavor for me. I dig my corduroys out from the bottom of my dresser; I buy giant chunks of ginger. Gingerbread, ginger-studded granola, ginger-miso soup – It’s a seasonally-influenced MOOD thing, you know?


I bookmarked this recipe last year from the blog Christie’s Corner, and I’ve been going back to it whenever I’m feeling sorry for myself, or when I’m cold, or when it’s gloomy, or when I’m listening to jazz, or, of course, when I’m wearing my corduroys. Finally, this weekend, all of those events converged. A sign, I was sure, that it was time to finally make the darned things.


Can you see the chunk of ginger in this one?

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