I feel like it’s been a long week. This one felt particularly long and draining. Maybe it’s the downturn in weather, the shorter days, or maybe it’s the fact that the year itself is coming to a close. It’s kind of a nice feeling I have to say, but I suppose that’s all psychological. All cultures have their own practices when it comes to the New Year, but the common thread running throughout is the notion that the New Year symbolizes new beginnings, new opportunities, and a chance to leave old habits and experiences behind. New goals. New plans. New ideas.
The majority of my past years’ resolutions have resulted in utter failure, as I’m sure you can admit to as well. Whether it was to bite my nails less, drink less coffee, or start going to bed earlier, these things seemed to creep back into life like a cockroach finds the crack in the foundation. Now I think New Years resolutions suit product marketing more than anything else… “Buy this green smoothie, start your year off on the right foot!”, or “Start the year stress free! Great deals on flights nationwide!”, or “Get in shape for the new year, buy this weight loss aid!”…
The best way to make healthy changes in life? Make these decisions all the time.
Don’t wait for good ‘ol January one.
That being said, cookies loaded with chocolate and pretzels doesn’t reflect any kind of plans for healthy life changes… but it does reflect my excitement for a creativity filled 2015. A new stand mixer to boost my baking options, a new job title that provides me the power to be more creative and have more of a say at work, a better salary that provides me the funds for paying off my debts faster and saving for future things, plans for a trip home to BC to see my loved ones I’ve been missing so much, and of course… working on this beast of a blog! Still working away at my plans for writing a cookbook as well.
When I was younger and less experienced my work used to stress me out and frustrate me to the point of convincing myself that I hated it. That it was my enemy. I even quit at one point. I was craving something 9-5, something Monday to Friday. And while I still crave that sometimes, what I don’t crave is cubicle walls, too much regularity, or white picket fencing for that matter. I’m finally a proper adult, managing life stressors and work in a way that allows me to take on challenges and conquer them for the better, rather than cowering and becoming fearful or negative. That’s a nice feeling. There’s a NY resolution for you! – See the bigger picture and make sure you’re always moving forward rather than shying away from things that scare you. Conquering things, even the things you aren’t so sure of, is what projects you forward in life. You don’t always need to know where you’re going, you just need to keep moving. Always be working toward something, even if that something is to do less. You can do less and still move forward too. Maybe you take on too much and can’t balance it all, and your way of moving forward and bettering yourself is doing less… so that you can narrow your focus. So that you can relax. This too is a form of advancement. If it’s positive change – it’s moving forward.
Feel free to share your plans for betterment with me! No need to wait for January! And now some cookies…
Chocolate Chip Salty Pretzel Cookies: yields approx 15 medium sized cookies
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
90 g all purpose flour
65 g bread flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 pinches sea salt flakes
1/2 cup dark chocolate (60%-70%), chopped
1/2 cup salted pretzels, chopped
-Cream together the soft butter, sugar, and vanilla for one to one and a half minutes on low speed until well blended and starting to look lighter in color.
-Add one egg, beat until well blended, then add second egg, blend well.
-Whisk together the two flours, soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
-Add the dry ingredients to the butter + sugar and beat until creamy and well blended.
-Add the chopped pretzels and chocolate and beat again until evenly distributed
***note: I used a specialty chocolate that had sea salt added to it already, but for the purposes of this recipe I’ve added the pinches of sea salt to recreate this flavour. I also prefer to use chopped chocolate in my chocolate chip cookies, because the cookies end up with a range of small and large bits of chocolate, rather than having just chocolate chips. When you chop the chocolate it breaks apart in assorted sizes, and when you blend the dough together with the chocolate in a stand mixer it breaks apart even more… creating a nice range of chocolate bit sizes. I think it lends a better mouth feel as well as appearance.
-Place the cookie dough in the fridge to rest for at least 45 mins, and nearing the end of this rest preheat your oven to 360F.
-Scoop the cookies into portions approximately 1+1/2 TB each, roll them into balls and place them on a prepared baking sheet with 2 inches between them.
-Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes total, rotating the tray once during baking.
-I tried two different methods here: my first bake off was dough rolled into balls and baked this way, the second bake off was squishing the dough balls down with the palm of my hand before baking. The un-pressed cookies will be thicker and slightly cakey, whereas the pressed cookies will be slightly larger in diameter and a little less cakey. I suggest always testing new cookie batters this way, as you never know which version you’re going to prefer, and cookies are something that can change drastically with small changes in preparation.
When it comes to cookies, especially the basic chocolate chip… brown sugar vs. white sugar, melted butter vs. room temperature butter, pressed dough vs. dough balls, cold dough vs. room temperature dough – these are all factors in creating a cookie that is your absolute favourite texture and flavour. Baking temperature is another obvious difference.
There’s no right or wrong cookie method, it’s all a matter of preference!
Oh, and one more thing!
Last week’s chicken tagine. I was promising to share more dinners with you. And yes, it was as delicious as it looks!