The Five Year Disengagement

I know, I know.

But how do YOU know I wasn't on a crime-fighting spree, or a long holiday, or in prison because I got caught during an unsanctioned crime-fighting spree? 

We've been watching a lot of Daredevil. And I caught the new Batman/Superman epic. So pretty much I'm now convinced I could very easily become the superhero no one really wants, but probably deserves. Sad Shibow: the clunkily-named, oft-depressed baker with astonishingly terrible reflexes, an unhealthy love of [street] justice, and a tendency to totally neglect her blog. 

But YOU try spilling your figurative innards for an online audience! It's very exhausting, sometimes fun, extremely scary, and mostly I'm over it. That's right! It is time to dial back the sadsies in favor of coming up with new and interesting ways to take down the corrupt, infuriating, totally useless MTA with my subpar fight methods and devastating verbal takedowns.

Whoops. That's for a different blog entirely. Anyhoo, let's really real talk: I completely blanked on the five year anniversary of this blog, which was a week ago. And as much as I hate to admit this, I really would not have remembered it without Facebook Memories, which I think is a function that mostly blows but proved somewhat useful in this case. It lit a fire under my brown tush, a fire it badly needed as it has been unseasonably nippy and my butt is usually the first thing to get cold. This is all relevant, I promise. Maybe not the butt stuff so much, but we can't very well go back now, can we?

Anyway, a couple of months ago, Something Happened. It's dumb to be vague, but I'm still working through it. One little baby thread on a very large and poorly made sweater was pulled, and the whole damned POS came undone, pretty quickly, too. I went through a period where I questioned my talents as a writer and wondered if I should just shut this blog down, because it's exhausting to talk about money probz and why Stamos is still popular (TWO shows?! You give him TWO, cruel world?!), and I wasn't really baking very much anyway. I also questioned what I do for a living, my hair, my life choices, the way I freaking made eggs, and even--steady yourselves-- whether or not Road House was a legitimately good film (I know, you guys, I know. OF COURSE IT IS.) So, yeah, I was totally in a solid place mentally, which is essentially why I avoided writing or baking or doing anything I loved: it felt a little pointless. The big questions were "Do I want to be doing this?" And, more importantly, "Is there room for me in a world that gives John Stamos two shows?" 

Maybe. 

This blog is going to be going through a bit of an evolution, because if Daredevil has taught me anything, it's this: adapt and get yourself a new, badass, almost indestructible superhero suit or die. So, today, to both celebrate the past FIVE wonderful, tumultuous, fun, funny, ridiculous years of this blog and hopefully toast to an equally interesting future, let me catch you up on the past few months, while hoping you'll all join me for more nonsense in the future:

Choc-o-late Death Stars

And Peep Cakes with 'staches

 

uh...Snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes

My special take on some yummy "Ring Dings"

These are a few of my favorite things.

WHEN THIS DOG BITES

IT F*CKING STINGS

(But he's pretty rad)

I'm fully aware this song's totes amazing 

(I know that it sucks. Real bad.)

(Also, look guys! I made babka and Kouign-Amann, and both were very complicated and very buttery and involved a lot of layering and twisting which required more upper body strength than I'd ever expect for something you're just going to gorge on in your apartment while binge Netflixing. But they're PRETTY, no?)

And, bakers and non-bakers, this is delightful

I Took A Break to Eat Cookies. So Sue Me. Please Don't Sue Me. I Brought You Cookies. (Also I Have No Money)

Oh you guys.

It's been, as the kids say, a minute. Or, as this overgrown baby would say, it's been a freaking month, Sad Shibow, you swine.

Blue period. I don't know what else to say, guys. There are entire weeks where I cannot handle bad combos of bad badness, or even meh mehness, or sometimes, just, you know, days in general. The holidays are hard as it is, and much of the past month could be described as "baby steps halfway up the mountain, then Donkey Kong comes out of nowhere and kicks my brown butt all the way back down to the sharp, rocky bottom." That's about as good as it's going to get in terms of articulating this latest awesome sad segment. Maybe this time the magic mixture for my Crap Pie was 1 part holidays, 2 parts weather, 4 parts financial probz, 3 parts friend/family bull, and equal parts David Bowie isn't here anymore and Trump is still talking. All of these things combined to create a great disturbance in the force.

Speaking of The Force... who saw The Force Awakens?? I SURE DID, the day it came out, and I've got the videotape to prove it! That's right, folks, Sad Shibow was on the ol' picture box, being a total nerd. And for those of you wondering why I look so spaced, a. I HAD JUST SEEN THE FORCE AWAKENS YOU JUDGMENTAL BUBS! and b. I'd had many many drinks of the bourbon nature the night before and was still recovering. Also, if you happened to see me commuting home that night, drunkenly air-drumming to Bollywood tunes alone on the F train and holding back tears (because hammered Shibow is SAD Shibow), I'm sorry. Also also, if you have film evidence of these happenings, I will pay handsomely to keep it under wraps. Just kidding. I'm broke, you all know this. But we can have a viewing party at my place if you're in the market for a new friend. I know I could always use a new homie. 

So how were all of your holidays, if you celebrate such things? Mine were simple and quiet, just how I like them, and made so much happier by...

Those of you who know me IRL know how much I love, love, love Robicelli's Bakery, a friggin' boss sweet shop that just recently closed its Brooklyn post. While I was at work one day, Jimmy snuck off to Bay Ridge (which is a TREK for those of us without a car, guys) to get Allison Robicelli to sign my copy of the Robicelli's cookbook, mere days before the bakery closed. How wonderful is this? Is he?! And even though the clouds haven't exactly lifted over the House of Shibow, every time I crack that book open and read Allison's wonderful, profanity-laden note and think about what a pain in the ass it is to ride the local R a bajillion stops and how impatient Jimmy is with our transit system anyway, I remember: I am loved. And when you're sad and wondering if most of the people you used to know hate you or if you'll ever find your way in the world or if you'll ever learn to contour your face properly like those Youtube geniuses, feeling loved matters. 

Speaking of feeling loved, how often does a stellar chocolate chip cookie make you feel cared for and happy? What, you say it's unhealthy to eat feelings? You say it's abnormal to feel strong emotions for a cookie? Have you never had a Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip cookie before? The self-proclaimed "Mr. Chocolate" found his way into my probably-clogged heart one day while I was on my lunch break and looking for a nearby, temporary panacea for whatever blues I was experiencing at that moment. I found such a cure at the Jacques Torres shop at Grand Central Station, and direct everyone I know who is feeling happy, sad, hungry, or anything at all to said shop's chocolate chip cookie. Big as your face and probably just as delicious (you hottie, you), these cookies will solve all of your problems, as long as your problems are that you need cookies. And, if you unfortunately don't live near a location, or will be trapped at home during Snowmageddon 2016, here is the recipe of your dreams, people. 

Jacques Torres' Gigantic Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes 15 cookies)

adapted from Tasting Table

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour

1 2/3 cup of whole wheat flour

1 1/4 teaspoons of baking soda 

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons of coarse salt

1 1/4 cups of unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups of light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of white sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

4 cups of bittersweet chocolate discs (I used these which are pricey but the real deal and absolutely worth it, but use any discs you're comfortable with-- each is about the size of an American quarter)

Coarse sea salt, for garnish

(Keep nearby for snacking purposes. This is vital.)

(Keep nearby for snacking purposes. This is vital.)

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together your flours, baking soda and powder, and salt. Set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl and using a hand mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth and pale yellow in color, 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating until well mixed, then stir in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add in dry ingredients, mixing just until combined, about 10 seconds.

Carefully fold chocolate discs into dough (I use a rubber spatula and go slowly to prevent breaking the discs). Cover bowl with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly against the dough, and refrigerate for at least 3 and preferably 8 hours. You can also freeze the dough at this point for up to a month, but if I know there is cookie dough nearby I shamelessly use it/eat it. Yes, raw. I'M NOT A ROLE MODEL DAMMIT.

Once chilled, preheat your oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out 5 fist-sized mounds onto each sheet, about 3 inches apart (you will likely need to use one sheet twice, as we're making 15 cookies and...math). Lightly garnish with coarse sea salt and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. The cookie's edges should be lightly browned and the centers should still be soft. Cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat until all cookies are baked.

So... I don't really want to talk about these.

The layers of chocolate within the cookie. Tell me you see those layers. 

The layers of chocolate within the cookie. Tell me you see those layers. 

I kind of just want to keep showing them to you.

Yes, that is one mostly-eaten cookie on top of a fresh one. Self control is not my strong suit.

Yes, that is one mostly-eaten cookie on top of a fresh one. Self control is not my strong suit.

They are, by far, my new favorite Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I have been spoiled. There is no going back from this.