Each of us finds joy in particular things in life, and for me, one is baking. I can't explain exactly why, because to be honest with you I don't have a sweet tooth at all... I suppose it could be due to the pleasure of creating something from scratch, transforming the ingredients into something completely different. Every time I wait for the oven to ring with a slight heartbeat, hoping that my efforts were worth my time, like when a man watches a football or basketball game. It's always the same pattern or scheme, but one can never be too sure about the result until the whistle blows! Also, my love for baking could be due to the fact that for what concerns savoury food, I prefer fresh and simple dishes (mainly vegetarian), which involve little or no transformation.
From a certain point of view I could say that my daily diet seems boring, revolving all around grains, greens and legumes. So I'm always making soups, dips (my latest, white cannellini beans with turnip tops and garlic...so good!), sautéed veggies and salads. The ingredients change all the time, following the seasons, but more or less the idea at the basis of the dishes is the same. While when I bake, I feel as if I was experimenting, not for mere nutrition but for pleasure and delight, in other words... for a treat. When I was a teenager I was a terrible baker, but I can proudly say that I have improved a great deal and that the people in my neighbourhood, with whom I share all my preparations, give me enormous satisfaction and are always happy when I bring them something. I have learned who prefers chocolate and who, instead, prefers fruit. The young man downstairs is my number one fan, a real glutton; he goes mad especially for my meringues, and the one time I made them with dark chocolate he was about to fall head over heels for me... ah, ah...so funny! I gave him about 15 and when I asked him if his brother and dad liked them too, he replied they hadn't even had the chance to see them! Now, this is what I call satisfaction...
Vittorio too gives me a lot of joy. He too has his preferences... and one definitely involves chocolate! I am a mean wife though.. because I always make sure to give away enough of my goodies to others. Yes...I ration the amount of sugar he can have...I know it's awful, but I do it for his (and my own) good ;-) Anyway, we both love cookies, so the other day I made crinkles. OMG... absolutely mouthwatering.
I make cookies a lot because they last longer than other cakes and also because they are perfect for breakfast. Morning is the one time of the day when I really need sugar... when I wake up it's always coffee and cookies or toast and jam. Like when I was a child, I love to dip them into my hot drink, and always keep a teaspoon next to me to recover them from the cup in case I dip them too much and they crumble apart... Do you do the same (admit it, come on...)?!
I decided to make crinkles because right now I see them as a metaphor of what is going on... All cracked on the top, broken looking, but with a heart that is at the same time tender and solid. The world is currently experiencing a real crack, a big problem... but most of us are also undergoing a change that is making us softer yet stronger.
Nature is gradually regaining space, making it quite clear to us that a better air and a less polluted planet are priorities we can no longer ignore, and people are realising how important it is to help one another and that the best things in life are the small ones, like going for a walk, meeting friends and spending quality time with our dear ones. None of my friends seem to be missing going crazy shopping at the mall, but all miss being outdoors and being with others. Even going to work has acquired a new appeal...
Many are the initiatives of solidarity, from donations to hospitals, people that bring the shopping to the those more at risk, and more. We all know we have the duty to learn from this situation and possibly make some improvements to the way we live. Meanwhile, let's stay home and rediscover the pleasure of the hearth.
Bye for today and will be back very soon with more recipes!
Ingredients (for about 26 cookies):
130 gr 00 flour
50 gr dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 free range eggs
130 gr brown sugar
60 gr melted butter
1. In a steel bowl, whisk sugar and melted butter until you get a foamy mixture. At that point, add one egg at a time, whisk and let amalgamate well.
2. Add the previously sifted dry ingredients (flour, cocoa and baking powder) and gently mix with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
3. When the time has passed, pre-heat oven at 180° (fan oven). Grease a sheet of parchment paper, remove dough from fridge and with your hands shape round cookies of about 1 inch. Pass them into the icing sugar, place on the parchment paper and gently press with the tips of your fingers to flatten.
4. Bake for about 12 minutes. When ready let cool and serve.