Sunday, July 8, 2012

When life hands you lemons

It's 11:30pm, and I'm still up.  J headed up to bed, but I didn't feel wound down enough to sleep yet.  Then I realized that I hadn't had my nightly mug of tea yet.  I'm drinking Christmas Morning, which may not seem appropriate for a late night in July, but it's one of my favorites.  Normally I'd be stressing about getting enough sleep, since I tend to get up early for work, but I'm on vacation for a couple more days.  It's amazing how much better I feel, after getting a decent amount of sleep and some naps in over the past few days.  I needed this break.  A lot.

There has been so much going on.  When I saw my mother-in-law a few weeks ago, she commented that she could tell I'd been busy with work because I hadn't been posting here much.  (The fact that we were having the conversation in person is an indication of how crazy things have been, since that wasn't really planned.)  She's right.  When I'm just stressed about work, or stressed about my personal life, I can usually manage.  But both have been kind of out of control, which tends to make me shut down.  I do what I have to in order to survive on a daily basis, but that's about it.  Fortunately, I think I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm starting to feel creative again, which I haven't in quite a while.  One nice thing about having some vacation time is that I've had a change to play around in the kitchen, and I actually feel like writing about some of it.  (So hopefully you'll see some more posts after this one!)

Right at the beginning of this month, one of the work stresses sort of resolved itself.  I'm taking on a new position, which will mean more stress in the short term, but it's a better sort of stress that what I've been dealing with for several months.  It's a pretty big change for me, since I realized that I'd been in my previous role for 7 years.  New location, new people, lots to adjust to.  (plus I'm still helping out my old team for most of this month)  But I'm excited about the change, and I realized that having new (to me) employees has an advantage--more taste testers!  My new team is over twice the size of my old one, so even if some are on diets, there will be others willing to eat baked goods. =)

We had a staff meeting last Monday, and I figured that bringing dessert would be a great way to get off to a good start with everyone.  I wanted to bring a couple of things--something chocolate and something not.  Fortunately, I already had an idea for the non-chocolate one, from one of my favorite sources, King Arthur Flour.  They featured a recipe for Molasses-Raisin Cookies on their blog recently.  I love raisins and spice cookies, and was looking for a good excuse to try the recipe. 

The recipe is pretty straightforward to make, using the creaming method.  The one unusual step is that you put the dry ingredients and raisins in the food processor and pulse to chop up the raisins.  I generally avoid using my food processor because I hate to wash it, but I was intrigued by the idea of the small pieces of raisins blending into the cookies better.  So I pretty much followed the recipe as written.  I did make my cookies bigger than the recipe said to--I used my #40 disher, and got two dozen.  Because they were bigger, I baked them for 13 minutes.  I also skipped the coating of sparkling sugar.  Since the blog post suggested lemonade to go with the cookies, I whisked together some lemon juice and powdered sugar and drizzled the glaze over the cookies.

The verdict?  These cookies are awesome. I took them to the meeting along with a batch of brownies, and the cookies were the clear favorite.  The lemon glaze was nice with the spices in the cookies, although I kind of wish I'd applied it with a heavier hand. =)  I can definitely see how these would pair nicely with lemonade.  I like raisins, but since they're chopped up, they're not very noticeable, and might sneak past the raisin haters if you don't tell them they're there.  The cookies definitely wouldn't be the same without them.  I'm seriously considered making another batch of these cookies just so I can crumble them into a batch of lemon ice cream.

If you'd like make these cookies for yourself, you can find the recipe here at King Arthur Flour.


  1. These cookies are beautiful (and what a great idea for the lemon icing) but the more beautiful part of your blog is the home baked gift to your new team. Happy Baking - We hope you enjoy your new job as much as we enjoy reading your blog! Irene @ KAF

  2. Oh, those do look good. Love molasses in cookies.

  3. These cookies would be a huge hit around here - we like raisins but I often chop them before adding them to recipes. Here's hoping that things ease for you soon and you have more time to bake and post on your blog.