My Dad, for instance, used to have colored hair, and a great tan. He looked like an old-timey movie star with his big smile and hair so slick it put his dress shoes to shame. A dashing Davy Crockett in the photo where he and his own father hold us a moose in the middle of the wilderness: a grin and one hooded, mirth-misted eye just visible under the brim of his bucket hat. A modern and suave charmer. My Mom always said that Dad was a babe, albeit strangely dressed.
It is reassuring that my Dad's penchant for pleated shorts and patched sweaters wasn't carried on in honor of my brother and my childhood. Rather, he has clung to his salmon pink shorts since the tender age of twenty-three or so. Having found a look he considered comfortable and dashing (in 1970), he suctioned to it, and as far as my sisters or I can tell, he vowed never to let go. Not even in the face of three daughters, a stylish son, and two different wives, pleading gently (or bluntly, in the case of a social event) with him, Please Dad/Dan, That Coat Looks Like A Rug. I accept no blame for his dressing ability: I really did the best I could with the material I was given. I accept full responsibility for his sweet tooth though. Or full reprehensibility, should I say.
"Katie, do you know what day it is?"
My Dad's voice booms from the direction of the kitchen island, and I wince. Six thirty this morning is an awful, sweaty time. Having grown accustomed to my house in Victoria, which we never heated (central heating costs a lotta $$$, so we harvested warmth from the stove while our banana loaves were baking), this home is unbearably hot. The things you can buy with a disposable income! So I was tottering down the stairs, hair stuck unattractively to my neck with sweat, my eyes practically crusted shut with salt, and not thinking clearly.
"Uh..." I blinked a grain of pus away. "Friday?"
"Friday Key Lime Pie Day." He responded, pursing his lips. He was throwing in one of his Pie on Demand coupons I had given him for a birthday. I see how it is.
Unfortunately, what neither of us saw was that it was not Key Lime Pie Day. It was Macadamia-Ginger Cookie Day. I wasn't feeling the pie, which is strange. Strange like a swarm of locusts. I love pie. There is nothing in the world better than pie. I don't eat birthday cake. I eat birthday PIE with a pint of ice cream (lactose intolerance be damned). SO you can see that I was alarmed, and felt that my kitchen feng shui needed some alignment before I was going to venture into my reason for living.
Apparently, I was vibing in the kitchen, as I had a vision of a cookie that I wanted, and I achieved it first try. Something cakey: fluffy, even. With zip and a crunch. These cookies were heavenly. Yielding and sweet without being puffy. They eld their own. If Cyndi Lauper was a cookie, these would be her in her lipsticked, prom-dressed glory. A little frilly, but also completely, unforgivably sassy.
Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
8 tablespoons of chilled butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup of milk, plus more if needed
3/4 cup of chopped macadamia nuts, plus more if the batter can cope
3/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp all-spice.
Preheat your oven to 375º.
I combined the ingredients in the food processor, mimicking the method for making scones. You can do this recipe the old separate the wet/dry way, but I like the food processor because it reduces the risk of overmixing this delicate batter, which would make it tough.
So: place all the dry ingredients in the food processor, pulse once or twice to mix. Cut the chilled butter into pieces and add to the processor: pulse until the butter and sugar are well blended.
Add the vanilla, milk, and the egg. Pulse to blend. If the batter is tough or dry, add bits of milk by the spoonful.
Drop little balls-o-batter onto a greased cookie sheet, and bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.
Let em' love you up.