I know it’s a great time of year when my two favorite pastimes – spending an afternoon strolling around the city with a constant supply of overpriced artisan coffee, and staying in bed, under the covers, for the entirety of the day – are totally socially acceptable. Especially the latter.
Take today, for example: I woke up at noon, threw off old pjs, took a hot shower (which consisted of equal parts Broadway singing and equal parts leaning against the tile wall and falling asleep), changed into a fresh pair of pjs, and sat on the couch watching chick flicks and bemoaning the difficulties of adulthood with Roods.
Now, I’m sprawled on the bed (and let me tell you, it took considerable effort to move from the living room to my bedroom), typing this up, and feeling so lazy that I’m not even sure I’ll muster up the strength to cook dinner. I may, in fact, just meld into the mattress and die here.
I’d feel a bit worse about it all if it hadn’t been such a busy weekend otherwise. Roods and I attended a really fabulous James Bond-themed after-hours event at the International Spy Museum on Friday, which was mostly an excuse to wear lots of black and gold and silver and layers upon layers of eye makeup. It was all very theatrical and exciting and made me want to dedicate my life to being a seductress of diplomats.
Yesterday was just as busy, after waking up
with maybe a mild headache to meet with an old friend from out of town. We went to a largely underwhelming brunch at an overpriced restaurant (a very typical DC morning) before walking over to the flea market for its last weekend of the season. I have a favorite vendor (DC Puddin) that had set up for the day, so we chatted for a while about butter sauces and caramel as I nibbled through a sample of her famous bourbon bread pudding. I then spent the next 20 mins of the market waging an internal battle about whether or not I wanted to buy a 16-oz tub of the stuff. I did, obviously, but decided against it in the end, which was both difficult and physically painful.
But, I was going to be baking cookies later, and God knows I’d eat at least half the batch. I did, obviously.
I was going to meet a friend, Sharon, for a potluck dinner yesterday, where she would formally introduce me to an old friend of hers, M. He and I have been Facebook friends for some time now, since he’s a food photographer and cook and Sharon figured we’d get along well. They both live in the area, though, so after I moved up here a few months ago I decided we should all do something together so we could get to know each other beyond Facebook ‘likes’ of food photos and recipes. Sharon, turns out, had to rush home for a family event this weekend, so it ended up being just M and I.
It was quite lovely to meet such a food enthusiast. We swapped stories about traveling and uni (we all attended together, though he and Sharon graduated a few years before myself) and eating, exchanging favorite restaurants in the city and bitching about the difficulties of finding decent Vietnamese food, all over plates of homemade Thai stir fry on a bed of orange-scented Jasmine rice. My culinary skills felt painfully inadequate as he told me about his favorite dishes to cook and ingredients to cook with,
while I mentally pictured myself huddled in a sweatshirt, eating eggs with cheese on toast every weeknight for the past 2 months.
He and I had decided a while back that he would cook and I would bake (our respective culinary ‘talents’). Though I would have very much liked to impress with a layered sponge cake with fruit compote or dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel sauce, I figured either would be a bit difficult to transport on the metro and decided on ginger cookies with honey cream. Not exactly the most glamorous of foods, but seasonally appropriate and an excellent accompaniment to cider and, as it turned out, Thai. Besides, M found them tasty, so I could sleep easy.
After chatting with M, I feel distinctly more inspired to try my hand at some new dishes. Deciding to actually flip through some of my cookbooks for the first time in ages – my dinners have too frequently become peanut butter and banana sandwiches, raw cherry tomatoes, and boiled eggs – I’ve bookmarked a few recipes in memory to try my hand at in the upcoming days. Chickpea-and-bread stews, grilled root vegetables with lemon-yogurt and capers, stewed apples with quinoa-cookie crumble. Hopefully there will be some successes to share, too.
Now, though, it’s less than two weeks to Thanksgiving, and I feel as though I should eat lightly until I consume a year’s worth of calories in one night.
But there are leftover cookies in the fridge, I’m gonna scramble some eggs for dinner, and, you know, it’s just one of those days.
Ginger Cookies with Honey Cream Filling
Adapted from flourishing foodie
Yields 12-14 sandwich cookies
Ingredients for the cookies:
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 heaping tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated (alternately, use 4 tsp ground ginger)
- 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
Ingredients for the honey cream:
- 1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
Method to prepare the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger (if using) until blended. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until fluffy. If using grated fresh ginger, add to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla, and beat until blended. Reduce mixer speed and gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
Place golf-ball sized balls of dough on a baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Press down on the tops lightly with the pad of your thumb. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until edges are crispy but cookies are still soft. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Method to prepare the filling:
Beat cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and gradually add the powdered sugar. Add honey and heavy cream. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for 45-60 seconds, until fluffy. Add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon add a time, if cream is too runny.
Spread a spoonful of cream on the flat side of one of the cooled cookies. Sandwich with another cookie of comparable size. Cookies will keep in the fridge for up to a week.