(There’s a recipe at the end, and it’s my adaptation of someone else’s recipe, with appropriate credit; so it probably has errors and surely has typos, but it might be worth reading to the end to get it.)
(Also: I know I said this week would be morning posts. It’s morning somewhere, right now. I’m certain of it.)
Back in the 90s, my sister and I were, briefly, running partners. To pass the time while we were running, we would often tell silly stories and jokes. Since we were both, at the time, blonde, and since it was the 1990s, we often told one another blonde jokes.
Our favorite blonde joke, one you’ve probably heard before (in one version or another) went something like this:
One day a blonde went to get her hair cut…
She told the hairdresser to cut her hair anyway she pleased, as long as she didn’t remove the blonde’s headphones. No dice. So the blonde went to another stylist, and another, and another, until finally she found one who was willing to cut her hair while the headphones were on. The blonde was so exhausted from all that searching that she fell asleep in the stylist’s chair, and the stylist decided very gently and quietly to remove the headphones so the haircut would be straight. After she finished cutting, she noticed that the blonde was dead! She called 911, and when the police arrived they were stumped. They decided to bag all the evidence and take it to the morgue. The officer who picked up the headphones could hear something playing and decided to listen more closely: Breathe in; breathe out. Breathe in; breathe out….
As siblings sometimes do, my sister and I incorporated the punchline into our private code. Whenever we need a moment of levity, whispering “breathe in; breathe out” never fails to earn a smirk.
Like, at our mother’s funeral.
And our stepmother’s funeral.
And countless other appropriate (but more likely inappropriate) shared moments, including when I walked her down the aisle for her wedding a few weeks ago.
Within those four simple words lives the deepest kind of enduring grace. Beyond the currently popular, even trendy, advice to breathe through life’s challenges, our sister-code phrase is encased in a warped kind of humor that has a magical effect beyond the literal instruction. It’s a two-for-one deal that is as dependable as sunrise, year after year. It’s a reminder not to take life too seriously.
With her permission, I share this little joke with you in hopes that it might add some healthy, helpful dimension to your daily breathing practice (if you have one) or that it might inspire you to give it a try.
And, in case the breathing and the joke don’t quite do the trick at the moment, here’s a cookie recipe:
Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Julia Moskin’s adaptation of Danielle Oron’s recipe, as published on NYT Cooking)
I’ve made these cookies dozens of times now, and I take shortcuts that are not in the NYT Cooking recipe. You, too, might be tempted to take shortcuts to get to the finished product, so I’m sharing what I’ve learned.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (or 320 for a convection oven, which is what I use)
- Stand mixer
- Baking sheets
- Parchment Paper
- Cooking racks
- 1 c. butter at room temp
- 1 c. tahini at room temp
- 2 c. sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp (ish – I don’t measure…) vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. kosher salt (more if you use Diamond Crystal)
- 1 bag bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Guittard, because if I’m going to make and eat chocolate chip cookies I want them to be worth it)
- Fleur de Sel (or similar) for sprinkling
(You remembered to preheat the oven, right?)
- Cream butter, sugar and tahini until fluffy (several minutes, on medium speed)
- Add vanilla and eggs and keep mixing at medium speed for several more minutes (the original recipe calls for 5 minutes in each of these two stages; I do something close to that, but I don’t time it)
- While the mixer is doing its mixing, sift the dry ingredients together
- Turn the mixer down to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until it just comes together
- Stir in the chocolate chips, mixing either by hand or by mixer, on low speed, until they’re just incorporated into the dough
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. You can spoon dough in big heaping spoonfuls, about 6 cookies to a sheet, spaced 3 inches or so apart. Or you can make smaller ones. Or you could do it differently for each batch. There’s no hard, fast rule here. Just know that the cookies spread and that smaller cookies bake a little faster, so you’ll want to check them a few minutes early.
- Sprinkle the cookies lightly with salt and then bake for about 15 minutes (until the edges are lightly browned).
- Let cookies cool on racks for about 20 minutes, then put them in the refrigerator to get a little chill on them. Trust me on this step.
Try not to eat more than one cookie a day (and by “more than one” I actually mean “fewer than six”), but understand that you might be challenged to keep that discipline.
Unless I’m giving cookies to other people, I’ll bake six and save the rest of the dough, covered, in the refrigerator to bake over the course of a few days. I did freeze one batch, once, and it worked out fine.
This post is 15/56 in a self-directed challenge to write (or at least post) something (SOMETHING) every day – a birthday gift to me from me, because writing gives me a place to put the clutter that lives in my head, as evidenced today.