Nothing makes sense anymore.
You can feel it too right? I feel heavy all the time, like one thing after another is being piled on top of me until there's so much that I can't move. I had to completely remove coffee from my diet because the caffeine pulsing through my veins was so much that I almost couldn't drive home from work the other day. I've got this seemingly everlasting pain in the back of my neck and I can't tell if it's a tension headache or just a physical manifestation of my feelings towards the current administration. Sure, it's temporarily relieved by the hoards (millions) of likeminded people gathering around the world in protest, but sometimes it's hard to feel like our voices mean anything, even when they are joined together.
Really the only thing that does make sense to me right now is my deep familiarity with baking. I might not know what the the future of my country looks like, but at least I know what happens when you cream butter and sugar together. So once again I've found myself in the kitchen, toiling away at a recipe, trying over and over again to make it something I'm proud of. I actually tried three (!!!) different variations of this recipe before I found the right ratios for it's cake like texture. And in my brief and joyous reprieve from the nightly news, I found an an interesting source of inspiration.
There's a very popular episode of Seinfeld. Where Jerry and Elaine are at a bakery and Jerry goes into a monologue about black and white cookies. It's a cute little beat, where Jerry waxes poetic about black and white cookies being a metaphor for the peaceful cohabitation of the races. His motto, which he enthusiastically spouts when given the opportunity is, "look to the cookie!".
It'd be nice if it was that simple right? If all of our problems could be reduced down to a baked good you can find at the deli on the corner. If we could just go back to a few months ago when we were all so sure, so hopeful for our candidate to win the election. We'll remember those days for awhile, just like we'll remember the events of last weekend, just like we'll remember the countless executive orders, the blatant sexism and racism, and the so many other things we still have yet to experience. Because it's going to be a long four years.
It's all a mess, and I'm not okay with any of it. My blog is certainly not the place you should be looking for political pieces, or for anything more substantial than a memoir style essay about my most embarrassing moments. So forgive me for this brief sidebar into what may be deemed political territory. It feels irresponsible to not at least say that I refuse to be complicit in any of things happening around me. For posterity I need my readers, my friends, my family to know that my heart is hurting for those who are having their civil liberties stripped from them. I'm not okay with a border wall being constructed and I'm not okay with the ban on issuing visas and immigration benefits to members of the seven countries that have been deemed unsafe. I've added links into the sidebar of this website that lead you to the donation pages for Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, and I invite you to join me in donating to them to show your support for their organizations and everything they stand for.
If you're one of those people that enjoys well written essays about the recent election and thoughts on the current political climate, here's a list of a few of my favorites:
Look to the cookie.
Vegan Black & White Cookies
yields about 8-10 large cookies*
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup plant based milk ( I use a coconut almond blend)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract**
- 1 Tablespoon aquafaba (chickpea brine)
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup vegan butter (I used the Earth Balance buttery sticks ***), room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- black food coloring (wilton brand is vegan friendly) ****
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside and then combine the plant based milk, vanilla, and lemon juice. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer cream together the vegan butter and sugar. Then, slowly add in the flour mixture, aquafaba, and the milk mixture, alternating each time you introduce a different texture. The batter will start to form and should be very similar to a cake batter, fluffy and light, but still hold together.
After the batter is complete, scoop out small balls of dough and place onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. These cookies are notoriously big, so I only leave room for about 6 on each baking sheet. Because the batter is so sticky, you can use a small piece of wax paper and a spoon to flatten the cookies slightly. This will ensure that they bake flat and don't puff up in the middle.
Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 17-20 minutes. Let cookies cool completely before icing.
To make the icing, combine the corn syrup and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Then add into a separate bowl and add in powdered sugar and vanilla. Now, melt the chocolate by microwaving in a small bowl for 30 seconds at a time, stirring well in between each session.
Divide the icing in half, and mix in the dark chocolate into one portion of the icing. As it thickens, you might need to add a little hot water so that it spreads a little nicer. Flip each cookie over and use an offset spatula to ice each cookie with the black and white icing on each half of the cookie. Allow icing to set before enjoying.
Cookies will store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
* - recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to suit your needs
** - I'm obsessed with vanilla bean paste lately. I use this one from amazon.
*** - I've only ever made this recipe with the buttery sticks, so I can't guarantee how the recipe will work with other substitutions.
**** - food coloring is totally optional, I just love enhancing the black color to give these cookies their classic look.
Additional photos for this post by Brianna Brennan.
Icing recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.