When Life Gives You a Hurricane

Make cookies, I say! Yes, of course, first make all the necessary arrangements, take all the necessary precautions, heed the advice of public safety officials. But after that, while you're sitting around, tapping your fingers, waiting for Mother Nature to descend, get out your cookie ingredients, people. That's what I did anyway.

I find that there's something comforting about having a warm oven, a little jazz music playing and getting my fingers all doughy and sticky and flour-y when inclement weather is imminent. Mother Nature is saying, "slow down, do something soul satisfying." At least that's what I heard.

Looking for inspiration, I turned to smitten kitchen, which was a brilliant idea, really, as this site has loads of interesting and unique cookie recipes. I was looking for three or four recipes because I was in a baking mood, but I also wanted to make enough cookies to give to neighbors to munch on while they weather the storm. About 6 hours, 13 and 1/2 dozen (164, to be exact) cookies and five deliveries later, mission accomplished. Oh, I think the plumber who came by this morning to fix the sump pump was happy, too, when I handed him a baggie full of about a dozen as he was leaving.

My favorite of the four I made is this peanut butter cookie. The recipe calls for chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. However, peanut butter chips have always worried me a bit. I'm not sure what they are, really. Really, what are they? But, I adore the combination of peanut butter with milk chocolate, and I happened to have a Trader Joe's Pound Plus Milk Chocolate bar hanging around, so, instead, I chunked up some of that into the mix. Think Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in a cookie. If only we could still hand out homemade baked goods at Halloween.

Second place ended in a tie between the oatmeal, dark chocolate chunk and pecan cookies (the dark chocolate chunk was my variation. Again TJ's Pound Plus bar - keep those on hand, my friend) and the toasted coconut shortbread cookies. Very different, yet very delicious. I'll be honest. I was a bit dubious about the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but somehow the spices all combined delightfully with the dark chocolate, oatmeal and pecans. The spices actually had the effect of giving the dark chocolate a Mexican chocolate-like taste and, of course, those spices always go well with oatmeal and pecans. So, why was I was so skeptical? Maybe I was having some pre-hurricane jitters.

I find that coconut is one of those things about which people feel passionately - they either love it or hate it. I'm suspect, though, of anyone who dislikes coconut. If the person has an allergy, fine. Otherwise, that person is not to be trusted. So, when I came across this recipe, there was no question I would be making it. How often do you see coconut and shortbread together? Never, that's how often. I rushed the chilling process a bit (put it in the freezer instead of the refrigerator) because I was in a hurry to make my deliveries before the rain started. Trying to speed up the chilling process violates Rule Number One in Shortbread 101. I managed to get the dough rolled out, though. After resting for a day in an air tight container, these cookies were a contender.

Last, but not least, I went a bit wild and crazy with the traditional chocolate chip cookie. Ready for this? Milk chocolate chunk and dark chocolate chunk! Oh yea, I'm kooky. Hey, life's short. If you like chocolate, this is the cookie for you, my friend.

Truth be told, an epic weather event unlike anything seen in ten years shouldn't be the reason to slow down and make a few batches of cookies. Life is short, and cookies rock, that's reason enough.

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