Most ridiculous stories start with one of a few lines. “Remember our last night in Boston…?” ”So it seemed like a good idea at the time, but…” and “When I was eighteen…”
When I was eighteen.
I bought a pack of cigarettes on my eighteenth birthday. ten years years ago. My mom rolled in her grave. No wait… dad I still have them unopened. A friend called me a masochist. I wonder if she remembers that. It made me wonder what she knew about masochism.
I got them on a whim. Mostly because I could and I did. No wait… it was more than that. I felt like the only way at the time I could show I was an adult and be “free”… It was better than picking out a tattoo showing my individuality was with a Japanese character I picked out of a plastic-coated tattoo artist book. I probably would have only lived to be eighteen.
This pack of cigarettes is the first in a long string of impulsive things I could do and did do as an adult in the world… including but not limited to: Going to a few northern/ southern states and only $973 and staying in them unemployed, that one thing I did on that bridge, and all the ridiculous things my Dad should not know about, ever… thanks.
This pack of cigarettes aren’t a sign of freedom to me anymore. It’s a sign of this impulse that lives inside me. The impulse that packs up and moves to Miami. The impulse that runs recklessly through a thunderstorm (though one should never involve oneself with the words reckless and thunderstorm). It’s the impulse that totally knocked that drink out of your hand while we were dancing.
It’s the outward expression of I’m sorry/I’m totally not sorry.
On a scale of 1 to tacky…. it’s totally tacky. Let’s just be real. I’m sorry sometimes… but I take it back, because it’s just me.
You know what’s amazing?
When you add it all up. The moving here and there and there, the friends come and gone, the text books, the early morning baker’s hours, the scrapes, the scars, the dinners and drinks, and flights and fights.. the big loves, that thing on the bridge… when you add all up, it’s so weird that the sum of these parts is a bad decision on buying a pack of now stale cigarettes, a cat, baguette, and this space on the internet.
I never could have known…
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans
makes 24 cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
coarse sea salt for sprinkling
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
Start by browning 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted completely, it will begin to foam and froth as it cooks. The butter will also crackle and pop. That’s the water cooking out of the butter. Swirl the pan occasionally, and keep an eye on the melted butter. The butter will become very fragrant and brown bits will begin to form at the bottom of the pan. Once the bits are an amber brown, immediately remove pan from the heat and pour browned butter (bits and all) into a small bowl. Leaving the butter in the pan will burn it. Allow butter to cool for 20 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream remaining 1/2 cup of butter with brown sugar. Cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and molasses and beat until incorporated.
Once the brown butter has cooled slightly, pour the butter (brown bits and all) into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Add the granulated sugar and cream for 2 minutes, until well incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat for 1 minute more.
Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that everything is evenly mixed. Add the flour mixture, all at once to the butter mixture and beat on low-speed until the flour is just incorporated. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a spatula to fold in pecans and chocolate chips.
Spoon batter onto a piece or parchment paper or plastic wrap and wrap into a disk or cylinder and seal at both ends. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees f. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough by the two tablespoonful onto prepared sheets. Be sure to leave about 2-inches of space between each cookie.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes of until cookies are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Serve warm or allow to cool completely. Cookies are best enjoyed within a few days. Duh.