Guilt. Â Confusion. Â Heartbreak.
Nervousness. Â Excitement. Â Relief.
If you’ve been following my tweets (@onebitemore) you may have noticed, in amongst my other natterings, that I’ve made the decision to pull up stumps and move jobs. Â It was an immensely difficult decision to make, and one that I am still coming to terms with in alternating waves of excitement and trepidation.
But the news, it is out there. Â And the relief I felt when I was finally able to tell my colleagues was beyond description.
There’s a bond one builds with workmates that is unlike any other. Â A familiarity that comes with seeing the same faces day-in-and-day-out-five-days-a-week-48-weeks-a-year-for-years. Â The minor meltdowns. Â Celebrations of success – personal or vocational. Â The knowledge that there is always chocolate in the second drawer down, and tissues on the shelf, whenever you need either or both.
And in the better workplaces, like the one I’m in presently (the one that I’m leaving… oh dear!) it starts to feel a little bit like family.
Bad days are understood as bad days.
Break-ups are quietly publicised to the powers that be so that workloads can be managed and offers of tissues and chocolate can be extended.
Weddings are celebrated (whether publicly or not) and birthdays are marked with a cake or a drink and jovial taunts of impendingÂ senility.
Which makes it that much harder to let go.
The ever-lovely (ever-wicked) Lady Godiva* had been searching for an oatmeal cookie recipe since a time beyond memory.
“They’re all too crisp.” she’d moan, having tested yet another thrown-together recipe.
“Too cakey! And they taste like baking soda!” she’d exclaim the next Monday, having muddled through a multiply-substituted recipe in hopes of finding that elusive just-right texture.
“I’ll never get it right” she said, plaintively, to me one Wednesday morning after her sister-in-law had declared the latest batch inedible. “I just want an oatmeal cookie that’s chewy and tasty without being too dense.”
And then she went to Mexico, where there were salads made of jicama and brightly coloured fabrics. Â Whilst she was there, I happened across this gem of a recipe from David Lebovitz’s site.
I’d planned to make them for her earlier, to soften the shock that one suffers when returning to normality after a holiday, but got sidelined. Â I made them, instead, on the weekend after I found out that there may (perhaps) be an opening for me elsewhere.
To distract myself from the endless scenarios that were playing out in my mind. Â To use the last of the dates in my pantry before packing up for the kitchen renovation. Â To finally test out a recipe from a blog that I’d admired. Â To stave off the guilt I felt at leaving a group of people that I love so dearly.
“You shouldn’t have given so many to me” said Lady Godiva, moments after spotting the ziplock bag I’d placed on her table. “I’ll eat them all up at once and feel sick. Then I’ll have to blame you.”
“You won’t be able to eat more than one at a time” I replied, having tried to do just that the night before. “They’re incredibly satisfying.”
“Just watch me.” said she.
She reappeared a few hours later.
“You were right. One with a cup of tea was perfect.” she said, with a glint in her eye. “I ate the biggest one just in case you were right – I wanted to make sure I had as much cookie as possible for afternoon tea.”
Giant golden orbs with a crunchy exterior and a chewy middle. Â Studded with ruby red cranberries and malty mellow dates. Â Salty. Â Oatmeal filled. Â Pseudo-healthy. Â Delicious.
date & cranberry oatmeal cookies
(adapted, slightly, from David Lebovitz)
you will need:
1/2C white sugar
1C packed brown sugar
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp salt flakes
2 C rolled oats
1/2 C chopped dried dates
1/2 C dried cranberries
how to do it:
1. Cube the butter and let it come to room temperature. Â Beat the butter and the two sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until they are well combined, light and creamy. Â You’ll notice the mixture change from a gritty yellow-brown to a creamy pale tan colour after about five minutes. Beat in the eggs until fully combined.
2. Sieve the flour, baking soda and spices into a bowl. Â Add the salt, oats and dried fruit and stir to combine so that the fruit and oats are covered in the spiced flour mixture.
3. Tip the flour mix into the butter mix and stir until the two are fully combined. Â Rest the mixture in the fridge (David says overnight, I chilled for an hour or so).
4. Line four trays with baking paper. Â For cookies the size of a spread out hand, scoop up 1/4C portions of the dough and roll into balls. Â Place the balls on the baking paper and press down slightly with a fork. Â They’ll spread and melt and puff up to varying degrees depending on how you do this step. Â For crisp, chewy cookies, press them out to about 5mm in height. Â For more substantial centres, press slightly to about 1cm in height.
5. Crank your oven up to 180C and bake for about 20 minutes. Â If you’re making smaller cookies, check them earlier. Â I made palm sized versions and they were well and truly done in 10 minutes.
*named so for her (minor) obsession with the brand of chocolate of the same name.