Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kid's Thumbprint Cookies, a Big Hug and Then I Cry


You know how sometimes you have something you need to do that weighs on your mind, nagging nagging nagging you to DO IT so you can cross it off your list and feel the elation of procrastination overruled?

This is not one of those moments.

This is the last recipe in Baking From My Home to Yours for the group of bakers known as Tuesdays with Dorie. As much as I've itched to do my own thing these last few months, I've been dreading this day because of its last-ness. And because I have no words without tears about this, it's best that we proceed to the recipe.

I can only assume that as we neared the end of the book, our fearless leader Laurie asked Dorie Greenspan if she'd like to host the last pick, and what she would like that to be. And Dorie's pick this week is one of those crazy technique recipes that I used to scratch my head over in the early days and now I just go with without questioning. Dorie wasn't done teaching me, showing me new ways to do things.

These cookies are a peanut butter thumbprint cookie rolled in egg white and then peanuts. The dimple is filled with jam or chocolate chips. I opted for bittersweet chocolate chips. The recipe wasn't fussy until it came to dipping the balls of dough in frothy egg white before rolling them in chopped peanuts. In honor of Dorie, I didn't alter the recipe this week because I always tweak it. My balls of dough were a tiny bit bigger than they were supposed to be, but they were done in 11 minutes not 15-18 as the recipe suggested.

The cookies were good, though I didn't swoon the way I did over the other thumbprint cookies in the book. Maybe my tastebuds were depressed about it being the last recipe. Dunno, but I needed a big hug after finishing the last recipe from a book and a group that has been, well, a big hug for me these last few years.

To Dorie, your book changed my life. Truly. You taught me how to BAKE, and to make things I never would have attempted. That confidence seeped into other areas of my life, and opened me up to greater personal and yes, even professional success. The creative yearning I felt inside finally had an outlet, and I no longer had to stifle it in pursuit of my career. I always feel your presence and hear your calm encouragement in the kitchen, especially when the going gets tough. I have had failures, but I learned from them, and I have had successes, and I learned from them, too. It all added up to a strong and stable foundation of dozens of things a baker knows by instinct. I no longer assemble recipes; I am a baker. My heart is full and my eyes overflow with tears of joy, sadness and gratitude. Thank you.

To Laurie, whose personal mission to bake her way through the book started this group, I am forever grateful. You invited us on your journey, never complaining when hundreds of unruly individuals made managing the group more of a labor than a labor of love. That generosity hasn't gone unnoticed, and we love you for it.

I am not an easy person to get close to and yet I have made many friends in this group, and the entire group has been warm, welcoming and supportive. To my buds Margaret, Nancy, Kayte, Tracey and Di - I love you all. Anytime, anywhere.

Tuesdays with Dorie will continue on with another of Dorie's books, Baking with Julia. I contemplated staying on to explore that book, but it didn't speak to me the way Baking From My Home to Yours or Paris Sweets does. I want to return to some if not all of the BFMHTY recipes I missed, revisit old favorites, and take what Dorie taught me to other books, other projects. And so the sadness of the ending merges with the excitement of new beginnings. I can hardly wait to get back into the kitchen.

"The reward of a thing well done is to have done it" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

UPDATE: Due to overwhelming pressure from a few friends (you know who you are!) I took another look at Baking with Julia and decided to stick with the group when they start the new book in February. I'll also be revisiting the 78 recipes I skipped or that were made before I joined the TWD in October 2008. Look for the first one soon!

33 comments:

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

WOW! CONGRATS!
It's an achievement to finish a follow-along-baking. I really admire that

Clivia said...

Leslie, it's been a pleasure baking with you!

Sabrina said...

It's been a fun time! I hope you continue to bake! :)

Mary said...

Big hugs to you. This was a wonderful post. I am so glad I "met" you through TWD. I have really enjoyed reading your blog and baking along side of you through the past few years. I will always appreciate your cool paris tips too..I am going to return in a few weeks :).

Cindy said...

Leslie, I've always enjoyed visitng your blog. Thanks for sharing a part of yourself each Tuesday.
Your're on my reader, I'll still check your blog often.
Have a happy New Year,

Flourchild said...

Your cookies look great! I will miss this group too and I feel the same as you! I have learned so much from baking with TWD! I have enjoyed all the people that have come into my life. Thank you for being so loyal to my blog and leaving nice comments week after week!

Cristine said...

I tear up thinking about it ending, too! What a great ride!

Kayte said...

Great looking cookies, I figured there would be chocolate over here and I was right? lol :-) It's been fun baking with you here and doing Indian food with you on the twitter, occasionally some bread...so if you think you are going to get out of doing the BwJ book, think again...we refuse to let you go. Get the book out, dust it off, and get set for February...don't make me come out there or send Nancy over there to drag you into this. We are ruthless!!! Maybe you can pick and chose your posts for it...but total non-participation is not an option. Okay, now that we have that said, see you in February and before that as well, of course. xo (The cats are on my side.)

slush said...

I had that very nagging that I have come to love and loathe this very morning as I woke up early to bake these cookies. Thank you so much for sticking with TWD til the bittersweet end. I hope you will check in with us as we explore the next book. Ill be keeping tabs on you on twitter, of course. xo

Karen said...

What a beautiful post! I always enjoy your posts and your take on the recipe. It has been fun baking along with you! :)

TeaLady said...

Now, see, I was dry eyed until that 2nd to the last paragraph. Love you, too, Dear!!

Glad we made this last one together. Seemed fitting that we do so. But there are more TwitterBakes to come and more Indian to succomb to!!

Joy said...

Leslie, I love reading your blog and following your baking. I'm looking forward to seeing where you go from here!

Tracey said...

What a touching post Leslie, so eloquent! I loved your words to Dorie, I feel very similarly. It's been my pleasure to bake along with you, and I'm so grateful to call you a friend. Your tips have made me a better baker, and I know I'll continue to learn from you. I won't be baking with the new group either, but I'm sure we'll both follow along and cheer them on :)

Jennifer said...

I have so enjoyed getting to "know" you these last few years. Your thumbprints look amazing!

jillbert said...

Leslie, your cookies look great. Mine were so big I had to use 3 chocolate chips!

I'm sorry to hear that you're not joining the new group, but I hope you keep blogging. You bake such wonderful things and I've benefited from many of your great baking tips! May 2012 bring the best of everything to you.

Judy said...

Gorgeous cookies! I've enjoyed getting to know you through TWD. Hope you change your mind about the new book, but if not, have a great 2012. Happy Baking!

Katrina said...

Definitely a good cry and a hug today! Can't believe we're done.
I followed the recipe today (in honor of Dorie and the group) as well.
Will still be checking in here on your baking adventures!
Happy New Year!

Cakelaw said...

Hi Leslie, great looking thumbprints! It's been great baking with you , and I look forward to following your new baking adventures.

natalia said...

Ciao Leslie ! I send you a super hug ! I love your cookies, and really wish to bake again with you !!!Baci and Happy New Year !!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

hmm, I thought I commented, but it appears to have gotten lost somewhere. I was doing very well yesterday, reading sweet posts and commenting, until I got to yours and then it was tears from your post's title until the period at the end of the last sentence. I'm not sure if my husband quite understood why I was a bit blue yesterday, especially since we had an apartment filled with family members, lots of good food to eat, and presents to open!

I'm thrilled that we will keep baking together - virtually and in person!!! We'll have to join the group in baking some of the BwJ recipes (maybe not the wedding cake, lol, I'm planning to be sick that week)

Peggy said...

Leslie it has been great fun baking along with you. We will have to continue - maybe some more Indian food? I'll catch you on Twitter I hope. Thanks for all your comments through the years. Happy New Year!

Anne said...

Oh Leslie I've loved baking along with you and can't believe we are at the end, it's terrible but happy too. It's been so great meeting you and I can't wait to see more from you!

spike. said...

It has been great fun baking along with you! I look forward to seeing what you do next!

Hanaâ said...

What a beautiful post, Leslie. Very touching! It's amazing how the creativity of baking can bring out the best in us . I learned a lot over the years and continue to learn. I'm looking forward to your new baked creations. And if you ever feel the need to join a baking group, a monthly one that is less stressful than a weekly one, please consider my group, ABC. We'll be baking from Abby Dodge's "The Weekend Baker" in 2012, iA. The January recipe is a nut-crusted Choc-Banana Swirl Cake. I made it yesterday. It was a huge hit at work! You can find more info on the ABC group here: http://avidbakerschallenge.blogspot.com/p/about-abc.html.

Sanaa saeeda wa kuli aam wa antoum bi kheir!

Hanaâ said...

I can't believe I forgot to mention this. A sincere and heartfelt thanks to you, Leslie, for encouraging me to bake with yeast and not be afraid of it. I'm a much better bread baker because of it, and hardly ever buy bread at the store anymore!! Thank you. JAK!

mike509 said...

I agree with all - it's amazing how much TWD has released our creative flow - in baking! It's been such a wonderful experience for everyone. Thumbprints are fabulous - Dorie would love them!

Amish Stories said...

Happy new years to you. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,pa

Jessica said...

I love that you proudly say that you are a BAKER. We all are, now! I have loved reading your posts and look forward to seeing many more.

Peggy the Baker said...

I'm a great list maker, too, but I heartily agree that the emotion I felt on Tuesday was not of procrastination overruled. I still have 18 recipes to finish in BFMHTY but I figure I'll catch up in the next couple of months. Hope you change your mind and give BWJ a look when it begins in February.

Leslie said...

I have changed my mind and now intend to do BwJ when the group starts the book in February. I probably won't have the same discipline about posting every week, but I will do my best.

Lynne said...

Great looking thumbprints! It's been a wonderful baking experience. Looking forward to BWJ! Happy New Year!

Jacque said...

Oooh, those are picture perfect! It's been good getting to know you through your blog. Happy new years!

Di said...

Lots of *hugs* for you, Leslie! I know that we'll continue to bake together even if it's from other sources. =)