Originally, my plan was to post this recipe about a week ago, and then post a couple more before the big Christmas holiday that I adore oh so little. But, to be honest, I haven't been able to really focus on very much this past week. The tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut a week and a day ago hit me harder than anything's hit me in a long, long time. Seriously, there was one night where I just completely broke down just thinking about it. This is going to be a short blog post, mostly because I just don't have it in me to write a longer one. Before I continue with today's [very, very easy] recipe, I'd like to make a request of all of you, if you're up for it.
Some of you might be aware of Ann Curry's #26acts movement, in which she encourages Twitter followers (and, really, anyone) to perform 26 acts of kindness in honor of the 26 people who died in Newtown on December 14th. I'm going to commit myself to doing this, and I'd like to ask you all to do the same. Now, as many of you know me as a shy, quiet sometimes-grump, you know this will not be easy for me. But it's a challenge worth taking up. Let's do this, readers.
It could be as simple as:
- Baking something for someone you know and appreciate but don't get to tell as often as you'd like
- Baking something for someone you don't know personally but appreciate, like your mail carrier, doctors and nurses working on Christmas Day, police officers, etc.
- Writing thank-you cards to emergency workers and dropping them off at your local post offices, fire stations, hospitals, etc.
- Paying a stranger a [G-rated] compliment (New Yorkers, I realize we're all more skeptical than most, but maybe let's play nice?)
- Keeping up the donations to Sandy victims
- Dropping off new/gently used children's books and toys to a local elementary school
- Mailing a letter (A paper one! With a stamp and everything!) to someone you love, near or far
- Letting someone ahead of you in line
- Thanking the cashier at the grocery store, the barista at the coffee shop, the guy behind the counter at your favorite record store, for all they do
- Paying for some/all of the items belonging to the person behind you in line (if you can afford this, of course)
There are a LOT more that are probably much more creative than the ones I've listed. And yes, of course the first two suggestions involve baking. But hey, baking's not as difficult as you think it is. I mean, if I can kind of do it, anyone really can. In fact, to get you started, there are easy recipes here, here, here, here and here. Oh, and here. See? So many easy things to get into. There's also the below recipe, which I made for my coworkers as part of a little holiday assortment. There are five ingredients in this thing. It seriously does not get easier!
Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes about 30 cookies)
1 11-ounce jar of Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter or Biscoff spread (yup, I sure did tweak this)
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer on medium speed, beat together cookie butter and eggs until smooth, about two minutes. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time, until a dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips and stir until distributed evenly.
Using a tablespoon, scoop out balls of dough onto sheets. Don't worry about spacing these out, since the batter won't spread while this bakes. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tops are no longer shiny. Make sure not to over-bake these, as they'll dry out with too much time in the oven.
Tiny and adorable, right? They're also kind of ridiculously tasty, with a hint of gingerbread-y, creamy, crunchy, buttery goodness on top of all of the awesomesauciness that is to be found in regular chocolate chip cookies.
I give you not only my blessing, but my please do-please do-please do- encouragement to make these. Seriously. They're so easy, so good, and so quick (both to make and to eat). Make them for someone you'd like to hold tight, someone you'd like to just shake hands with, someone you've always appreciated. Just make them.
Have a safe and happy holiday, readers. I hope you all know how much I love and appreciate each and every one of you. If I could, I'd bake a batch of these for each of you. Please accept this virtual hug instead, and please join me in committing to 26 acts of kindness. Love to you all!