I’ve been thinking lately: One of the worst parts about being far away from people is missing out on the everyday stuff of their lives, you know? The funny stories about coworkers, the play-by-play of awkward conversations, the new recipes, the introductions, the disappointments, all those ordinary humdrum things that make up our days.
I remember feeling it after college, when my friends lived in other states and e-mail and phone calls could only help so much. Then there was last summer, when the friend I’d worked with for three years got a new job (and shortly thereafter, I became self-employed) and we stopped seeing each other every afternoon.
It’s life. People get married, friends move away, there are job transitions and new cities and all kinds of change.
We should expect it. And for me, lately, it’s been the transition of my own leaving — moving from almost everyone I know to live in a different city, to be with a different person, eight hours away from where I was — and along with it, the unintended but accompanying blog break, where I’m barely eeking out a weekly post.
Where did that come from? It seems these things can kind of sneak up on us.
I mean, one day, you’re spending a casual Thursday chatting with your friend at the office; the next, you’re sitting at your roommate’s dining room table, eating avocado on toast in the middle of Tennessee. It’s life.
It’s change. I may always be amazed by it.
And I think, in all these transitions, there are moments when you miss things — say, your family, your streets, the ability to run to Whole Foods with your brother at 9:30 PM — but, the longer you hang on and stick with it, seeing all the new, good things in your life along with what can seem to be bad, things keep feeling more normal. You grow with the change, and you adapt.
Also, you work really hard at staying in touch with the people you love because then you probably can. I hope.
So that’s what this post is all about: you and me, staying in touch. A lot has happened since that chicken soup debacle, for example, and you ought to be updated: Tim and I went home for a few days to surprise my mom for her birthday (and it worked!); I got over being sick; I tried chewy, charred Neapolitan-style pizza at City House; I met an old coworker for coffee/lunch and we bonded over a love for warmer weather in the South.
I’ve even got a real bed now, and it was approximately $50 cheaper than what I’d expected to pay. Beyond that, as you’d expect, there has been some cooking.
When I have a little down time, I usually think of cookies — because some things don’t change at all — and after a few experiments last week, I was still on the hunt for a good chocolate cookie. Ideally, I was looking for a chocolate cookie with some crunch — a gingersnap but made of chocolate — and while these aren’t exactly that, they are a good find just the same.
Plus, being that they’re adapted from an Oreo recipe at Smitten Kitchen, it was an obvious next step to turn them into sandwiches of some kind, which is exactly what we did Tuesday afternoon with Ben & Jerry’s vanilla. Oh my goodness, people. It was really good that there were only four cookies left when the ice cream sandwich idea happened — just enough for two — because otherwise I literally wouldn’t have been able to stop making them.
Prepare yourself: These are no joke. I like to think of them as a byproduct of the move — along with changing addresses and learning new things and missing people — because in that way, things really seem pretty great.
Thin Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Confession time: I am that person who almost never lets the butter get to room temperature before baking her cookies. With a recipe with this one, it’s a problem because if the butter isn’t soft, the batter will be VERY dry and difficult.
So let it come to room temperature — or, if you’re like me, wash your hands very well and start kneading.
1 1/4 cups flour (I used white spelt)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup sugar (I used Sucanat unrefined cane sugar)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
With two racks set in the middle of the oven, preheat it to 375°F. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and Sucanat in a bowl, using a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or a food processor.
Add the room-temperature butter, and then add the egg. Continue mixing until the dough comes together in a mass (See above note about mixing).
Place rounded teaspoons of batter on a parchment-lined baking sheet, setting them approximately two inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
TO MAKE THE SANDWICHES: Just add ice cream between two cookies, and then prepare to have your socks knocked off.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.