Life has been throwing me some curve balls lately. I wish I could say I’ve been knocking them out of the park, but instead I’ve been striking out. In the relationship sector, things have been the Mount Everest of rocky, and due to money issues at my company, I recently found myself displaced career-wise. This week has been a roller coaster of emotions and challenges.
I remember when I was a child and couldn’t wait to grow up. Remember when you used to put a ½ after your age? Being older was so important. It meant you could one day drive, finish school, own a home and be able to make your own decisions. But no one can prepare you for the moments where you realize that even though you are an adult, and fully capable of making those decisions, many times other factors change the plans you originally made or wanted.
The fact remains: Things are never simple. As much as we may hate the idea of simple, sometimes it’s those simple moments that we hearken back to for comfort. I know nothing comforts me more than a book, a warm summer breeze and a large mug of coffee (or tea). That’s simple. However, would I be content to do that every moment of everyday? Probably not. I enjoy small doses of simple.
I wrote a letter to myself five years ago that I finally opened this year. I was surprised to see that while some major changes had occurred, it was not the ones for which I had hoped. I pictured myself reading this letter in a café in Paris or while sipping wine in Tuscany.
Instead, I read the letter on a bus as I headed to work. However, there were some simpler pleasures that I wanted for myself that I did end up getting (and it was nice be reminded that these things were once very important and also rare). I can blast my music and dance around the apartment whenever my little, bohemian spirit kicks in (and freely admit that I do). I can soak in the tub with a book and a glass of wine until my fingers get all pruney. I have a cozy bedroom I can decorate to my choosing without someone chiming in that they don’t like it. I feel more freedom than I have in a while. And while freedom is ultimately what everyone wants, sometimes too much freedom and too much choice leaves us in a kind of decision limbo. Why is that? Having choices is great, but having too many choices often leaves us following the same path we’ve already chosen because it’s comfortable and familiar.
But after a week full of loss, I am reminded that I didn’t read my letter in a café in Paris or while drinking Syrah at a Tuscan vineyard. I actually haven’t even renewed my long expired passport. So what am I waiting for? Well, I’ve been practical for a very long time; waiting for the right moment: when I have saved enough money, when I have enough vacation time, when I don’t have too many bills to pay. There are so many factors to affect our decisions. See? Never simple. But now that I find myself completely free, I keep asking myself, “What am I waiting for?”
While I may be indecisive in life, I know one thing for certain—I’m decidedly opinionated in the kitchen. Whenever I’m sick or feeling blue or complaining about day 4,032 of winter, I make a batch of hot buttered rum. I swear it’s the closest thing to happiness. It’s like melting a cookie in a warm mug of soothing spiced rum and bubbling water. It’s sure to make anyone’s day a bit brighter. However, since summer is well underway, making a warm beverage under sweltering temperatures isn’t really appealing. However, baking is perfect all year long (as is happiness). So I took the hot buttered rum recipe I use to melt away the winter blues and turned it into a cookie recipe to melt away the emotional blues. Better yet, because it was just me and I was feeling fiercely independent, I made a small batch just for myself… because who really wants to share, anyway?
Hot Buttered Rum Cookies
Loosely based off Emeril’s hot buttered rum recipe
Yields 4 cookies
2 TBSP softened butter
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP granulated sugar
4-6 TBSP flour (I used 6 but I also used a large egg. If you use a smaller egg, 4 TBSP should suffice)
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground ginger*
1/8 tsp nutmeg*
¼ tsp cloves*
¼ tsp cinnamon sugar*
1 TBSP spiced rum (I prefer Sailor Jerry)
* I played around with the spice measurements. Of course, I always recommend doing that as some people love a really intensely spiced cookie, while others may not. These aren’t exact measurements, but they are very close.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream together the sugar and butter until combined.
- Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.
- Add the baking soda, salt and flour and fully combine.
- Add the cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon sugar and mix well.
- Then add the adult fun—spiced rum. Again, Sailor Jerry is fantastic. It’s smooth and has the perfect flavor to mingle and play nicely with the other spices.
- Now add the dough to a greased baking sheet (I like to use parchment paper since we have some seriously old baking sheets that don’t remember the last time they were non-stick). You can make two large cookies or four smaller cookies. I went for the smaller cookies because then it looked like I had more (it’s all about tricking your brain).
- Then put them in the oven and let them bake for 8 minutes.
Eight minutes isn’t a lot of time, but it was just enough to enjoy a sip of homemade iced coffee and clean up the very small kitchen mess I made (even kitchen messes sound less threatening when you’re armed with coffee). I also spent time flipping through magazines, dreaming of faraway trips and crafty home projects.
When I pulled the cookies out of the oven, I let them sit for about five minutes since they are extremely soft and will immediately crumble. I couldn’t wait though and sneaked a taste anyway (that’s the way the cookie crumbles I guess. Yea, I went there. And yes, I’m sorry). It was warm, buttery and the perfect blend of spices and rum. Enjoy with some rum on the rocks or go the early afternoon route, like I did, and enjoy some coffee (or milk) with your warm, crumbly cookies. The only regret? Only making four.
Getting to bake again, after my week-long hiatus, made me feel just a bit better. So for now, I can look at my travel books, enjoy a nicely brewed cup of coffee and dream of where my life will take me because there is always hope…and cookies. There’s always cookies.