Easing back in.

Time has slipped away from me this year at an alarming rate. It’s March, and the sun is out, which means that pretty soon radishes and asparagus will appear at the market, crocuses are starting to peek their heads up in my front yard, and the average spring-fevered New Yorker wore a short-sleeved shirt sometime this weekend (regrettably, I’m sure.) I’m not quite sure how Spring cropped up without my noticing it’s approach, but I’ll take it any way I can.

Winter is not for me. I get moody and bored, the short days and blustery weather do not agree with my positivity. This grumpiness interferes with my work, my hobbies, my social life, and even my diet. I’ll do things like eat chips for dinner two nights in a row, or spend money I don’t have on sub-par take out even when I have a pantry full of food. This cycle of poor eating doesn’t improve my mood, it only drags me down more. But with daylight savings around the corner and the promise of buds on the barren trees, my outlook is getting brighter.

I haven’t been spending much time in the kitchen lately. And I obviously haven’t been spending any time working on Butter and Snacks. (I could tell you lots of stories about new cameras and computer chargers, lost photos and ruined meals, or I could just say that I’m back on track now and want to keep it up.) Easing back into the kitchen after a break can be daunting. Especially when you seem to be mysteriously out of things like flour, kosher salt, and olive oil. After a few key purchases and a deep breath, I baked up these cookies, the first thing I’d baked in 2012. They’re simple and forgiving, which is what I needed. A project that takes about fifteen minutes to put together and yields a beautiful, crackle-topped cookie, rich and fudgy like underdone brownies. I love that these use egg whites, since I usually have some leftover from ice cream recipes (like this one I made for my shop’s blog!) and since I haven’t perfected meringues and prefer yolks in my omelets they always go to waste. Well, not anymore. I imagine I’ll come up with some great variations on these cookies. I’m thinking lavender, or cinnamon, or orange zest, or or or…

Crackly Fudge Cookies
From King Arthur Flour
makes about 16 cookies

2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment, or grease lightly. Stir together all of the ingredients until smooth, making sure to scrape the bowl several times to be sure all dry ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be soft and batter-like. Drop tablespoon-sized scoops of dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies for 6-8 minutes. They will spread out and develop a shiny, crackly top. Remove from oven and cool on pan.