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!