Today it hailed. This may sound normal for those of you back East, as us Portlanders say, but in good old Rose City this is an unusual event. As I measured flour, sugar, and of course Nutella, I watched the lamb-grey clouds take a bite out of the cheery blue sky.
The clouds quickly covered the sky and the wind started to blow, and small ice balls the size of bee bees fell to the ground. Unlike most people, when I saw the clouds my mood soared. I had the urge to bake, to create something delicious for the simple reason to cause other people joy, however fleeting.
After I bake, I do my dishes and take more photos. Photography is one of my many passions, along with rugby (although I'm out for the season), writing, volunteering and traveling. Once the dishes were done, I went upstairs to begin this post.
Writing is my happy place, my zen zone. I crank up the music and just let my thoughts flow. I think about my day, the music I played on my sax in band class (another passion of mine), how much I missed M--- as I walked out to the Annex for graphic design, which is an odd sensation for me. I haven't missed anyone like that in a long time.
Sure, I miss my coach C-----, but saying that missing C----- and M--- are the same thing is like calling apples and oranges by the same name. C----- inspired me to trust myself, to become a better person, and, possibly most importantly, to trust. More on him later, though. Anyways, what's the point of wishing for someone who's 3,000 miles away?
My mind wanders to the music, just a different type than this morning. I love all of it, though. The dramatic, sweeping violins and low, steady cello of classical music; the sheer emotion of rap music; the carefreeness and hope of country; and truth of modern rock. All of it seems to wash away the dirt of the day, and in this way baking and music are similar.
Then I'm back to M--- again, even though I know y'all are probably sick of him already. He's one of those people who you have the feeling is going to change you, like the calm before the storm. Just thinking about his laugh always makes me smile.
Now my thoughts go to the 200 pages of Malcolm X I have left to read before Thursday. I'm having problems expressing my thoughts about this book in a politically correct way. It frustrates me that someone could justify virtually abandoning his family for a religion, and although I admire his dedication to the Nation of Islam, his inability to see people as individuals or original thinkers frustrated me. I understand that the world was very different then, but there had to have been white people who were sympathetic to the African Americans in this country.
Anyways, that was my rant on Malcolm X. I hope this blog becomes a sensation like 17 and Baking. I admire Elissa of 17andbaking.com talented writing and beautiful photography, and I aspire to be able to craft words as well as she can. I also hope she reads this! I would be honored.
Now, a couple tips about the cookies.
Watch these very carefully! The first batch burned in less than a minute, so as soon as the edges are brown and the centers are still slightly gooey take them out!
Also, if i make these again I would add an extra 1/2 cup flour and and extra 1/4 cup Nutella, although if you like flat, crispy-chewy cookies leave it out. Another addition would possibly be hazelnut flour to boost the hazelnut flavor. I'd experiment with cinnamon or even chili powder for some extra depth.
Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup shorting (part butter)
1/2 cup hazelnut spread (I used Nutella)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix shorting, hazelnut spread, sugars, and egg thoroughly in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.
2. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined.
3. Roll dough into 3/4 inch balls. Place 3" apart on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 5 minutes (this is approximate. Depending on your oven this may take shorter or longer, but start checking around 5 minutes). Place warm cookies on cooking rack.