March 22, 2010

A Sweet Note

We might very well have to end supper on a savory note tonight. The cake dome stands empty. Perhaps we could go a day without. Gulp.

Yesterday, for Sunday supper, Roberto made carbonara (his mother's request). It was followed by venison, salad, and fried artichoke hearts (they reminded me of fried oysters—a vegetarian Po-boy didn't seem so crazy to me as I popped one after another into my mouth). Dinner closed with a wedge of sponge cake taken with our espresso ("taken" like a drug, if you like—maybe I do have a problem with sweets).

Petite, bite size, a bit. That's all it ever really is. We never engorge ourselves with mounds of creamy things or forkfuls of luscious this or that. We satisfy our sweet tooth with a single knobby and irregular shaped cookie, a tiny square of brownie, a petite wedge of cake. Always homemade. What's the harm? I ask.

There is no harm. It's all good. Everything in moderation. What we're looking at isn't a matter of should or shouldn't we, it's really a matter of Is there time to throw together a batch of maple walnut cookies tonight, before we have something to nibble on with our espresso?

I have to think with reason and logic. The recipe calls for one stick of unsalted butter at room temperature. There really isn't time to wait for such a thing.

But these cookies are good and worth the wait. The first time I made them, over Christmas holiday, they were received with such warmth and praise. It's the maple syrup, grade B, that does it (but grade A can be used in a pinch).

These cookies are to be fawned over. The flavor is remarkable, and the body, so versatile. I don't have to put walnuts. I can put pecans or chocolate chips. I can put anything, really.

It's just a matter of time, really. Can I hurry home, pull out the butter (cubing it so that it comes to room temperature faster) while I throw together a salad? Then, perhaps I can mix up the dough and set it to chill (only 30 minutes) while we preheat the oven and compile tonight's pizza.

Oh balls, now I remember why I didn't make the cookies yesterday. Not enough all-purpose flour (I made pizza dough). I'll have to run to the store at lunch, but first I must write it down or else forget when I run to the store why I'm even there.

Oh, it does feel a bit rushed...but I don't have to bake them all tonight. I could do just one sheet (that's about nine cookies—we only need two cookies).

Oh, really, what am I going on about? This can be done and without rushing (maybe a little rushing, but not so frantically).

Seriously. We live for this—coming home after a long day of cubicle sitting to twirl around and putter in the kitchen. It's what we do.


  1. I love this post! It sounds and feels just like me! I will plan all day to figure out how I am going to fit in time to make sure that I get my sweet fix and also my kitchen-puttering time. In my case the sweet is usually something involving chocolate. Should our house ever be devoid of chocolate, well, that could never happen, so why even worry?

  2. Such a great post and I would just adore to have dinner at your place - carbonara, fried artichokes and then these amazing cookies. I love your agonising over getting dessert in - it doesn't have to be enormous but dinner without dessert is a sad day in my view. Last Saturday, I had dinner at a friend's house. She's small and slim, counts every calorie and never eats dessert after dinner which somehow gave me the irresistable urge to pig out yesterday in defiance, as silly as that sounds. I agree with you, everything in moderation and Katie has the right attitude, a house should never be without chocolate. Regarding the butter at room temperature, sometimes what I do if I can't wait that long is to put it in a bowl in the microwave on its lowest setting for a few seconds but of course, having the patience to wait is better.

  3. I love that you have little bits of dessert, no matter what. That is beautiful and wise celebration. :-)

  4. sounds like an amazing meal! and i always end my day with a little something sweet. glad to see you do, too. what's life without those simple pleasures?

  5. this post is adorable and the cookies sound incredible. i need to bake more, it's as simple as that!

  6. Katie - We ended up putting some chocolate chips into the mix. Simply couldn't resist. :)

    Vanessa - No microwave...but I did cube the butter and it was ready in no time at all. Dinner without dessert is a sad day, indeed. :)

    Tart - Wise celebration...I like that. :)

    carolyn - I'm glad you end your day on a sweet note as well. It's good to know that we're not the only ones. :)

    Blair - Thank you. :) They were quite good out of the oven, but they'll be even better tonight.

  7. My favorite sweet indulgence after dinner is a nice piece of chocolate--we usually have some in the freezer and it's just enough to satisfy. Now that it's getting warmer out, though, we'll be walking to the Upper West Side to satisfy our cravings for the dessert that defines summer to me--Rita's Water Ice.

    These little delights look utterly divine!

  8. I love how you write about cooking, eating....
    It is one of the true pleasure of life, indeed...

  9. Oh, maple-walnut cookies, never had them, and what a Splendid Idea.
    (almost as splendid as those fried artichoke hearts--that's Really got me thinking!)

    Yes, it is rather nice to have a small bite off sweet to cap off a good meal.

    Happy Spring!

  10. elizabeth - Oh Rita's! Yes, we have Rita's here as well. I've only tried once, but I suspect on a really hot day it would be quite nice.

    Elisabelle - Thank you :)

    Nancy - The fried artichoke hearts were completely addictive. We really couldn't stop popping them into our mouths. They were simply dipped in egg and then shake and bake style coated with flour and breadcrumbs.

  11. I love that you live to come home to each other at the end of the day and cook and eat together. Cennt'anni!

  12. really wonderful post. i think i might like maple better than chocolate, which may be blasphemy. i need these in my life. completely drooling over carbonara and the fried artichokes. i'm actually heading to italy in a little less than 2 months and plan on gorging myself on both things when i'm in rome. i don't care that i've been vegetarian for a year now-i am having carbonara at the source!

  13. Michele - :)

    sarah - I'm jealous...Italy. I think now is the time for artichokes. You will be eating very well. :)

  14. Sweet greetings from Frog Hollow Farm. Just beautiful writing - peaceful and believable! Ciao, bella!

  15. These cookies look and sound so delicious....and the spring is hear and summer is coming.... dresses and bikinis....damn cookies..... I WILL HAVE ONE!!!

  16. Frog Hollow Farm Girl - Thank you :)

    M. - Have one. It won't hurt. After all, they've got walnuts. Walnuts are good for you. ;)

  17. Maybe this is blasphemy, but sometimes after a heavy dinner, a nice piece of fruit can really hit the spot. Maybe a little cheese with it. Not to say I don't love all the decadent stuff as well. Though fruit can also be decadent, depending on the treatment you give it (ie: poached pears, baked apples, etc.).

  18. I love a full cakestand! Though I must say the word moderation is something I struggle with. My cakestands are never full for long because I eat all of their contents! Kudos to you for sticking to that nibble.

  19. Apples and Butter - My single nibble almost turned into two tonight. Thank goodness I ran out of coffee. :)

  20. Oh what a lovely blog you have!! Exp for a girl like me, whos always on a diet ;-)
    I'll deffianately be back

  21. those last 2 sentences sum me up completely. cubicle dweller by day, manic baker by night :)
    and now I want cookies. damn.


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