Sous chef Shaeda, here. I’ve been sharing the same mixers and cutting boards with Sarah for a couple of weeks now, and when it came time to whip up some magic in the kitchen I knew exactly what we needed. And how.
It’s just one of those weeks.
There is a sense of heaviness to the air that isn’t normally here this time of year. Winter has been clinging to DC, as of late. The weight of my green wool coat has been replaced by something entirely different, but still present. It’s the feel of a firm palm, gently pressing down onto my shoulders.
It’s spring here, though. Finally.
Nothing is quite the way it’s supposed to be. You know what I mean. The type of week where you long for Friday so much you can taste the anticipation in the back of your mouth. Nothing went quite the way I wanted it to from the moment I opened my eyes on Monday. After an impromptu but much needed trip to the West Coast, jet lag and hours of travel got the best of me. I woke up late, and from that very moment seemed to just escape falling into that weekly rhythm. Left my carefully-packed lunch sitting on the marble counter; neglected to include the address on an itinerary I swore I’d meticulously checked over and over.
After the events in Boston last week, we received an all-too-real reminder of how short and fleeting life is. It’s very easy to get swept up in the day-to-day minutia, to forget that each breath is a gift, not a right. The sudden loss this week of someone dear to me has punctuated that fact to me.
As a child, I had this habit. When things weren’t particularly going the right way, I would turn into myself. I’m almost certain I wasn’t the first (or only) child to use this as a coping mechanism, but I would close my eyes and imagine myself somewhere wonderful. Some place where the air was fresh and full of hope.
As a adult, I’ve learned to keep my eyes open. Gone is the complacent dreamer of yesterday; she stands tall and proud. I’ve learned to confront my demons head on. If that’s not enough, if I still I feel that weight on my shoulder, I bake.
When I stepped into the kitchen this week, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I’d left the oven idle for too long. Whenever I feel remotely stressed or glum, I reach for this recipe. This recipe has watched me grow. It’s held my hand through stress, through heartbreak; its watched me blossom from an unsure eighteen and ushered me into the unknown. Over the years, its become my hallelujah, hail mary, and reason to breathe when life decides to give it me a little too hard, to dig just a bit too deep. This is something I can always do right.
Today will be a better day. On this Wednesday, I hope you’ll join me and give this recipe a shot. The balance of decadent chocolate and coarse salt will give you that extra push to make it to Friday. Try and limit yourself to eating just one–I dare you.
Humpday Chocolate Cookies, egregiously adapted from Martha Stewart
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick butter
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup flour
1 and 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extra
12 oz. chocolate chips of your choice
Sea salt for garnish (we used some Parisian grey salt)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and the coarsely-chopped chocolate. Heat in 20 second spurts, stirring well until chocolate is almost completely combined. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder; set aside.
Combine the sugars, eggs and vanilla extract in the bowl of standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a whisk, if your arm muscles can manage it) on low speed until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate until just combined, and then mix in dry ingredients. Once the flour mixture has incorporated, stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, scoop a heaping tablespoon of the dough. Take care not to crowd the pan, as these puppies will expand. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tops glisten and crack. Sprinkle with grey salt while cooling. Note: you do not want these baked to a crisp. You’ll regret it.