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!