These past three months have most certainly been a time of transition. Changing from one country to another, relearning American culture, adjusting to the countless differences, experiencing the heaviness of American schooling versus that of Italy. Constant schedules, crazy busy, any hopeful spare time spent on life-giving sources. When all I really want to do is spend my days with the friends I love in this city in which I've taken root for the last four years, cooking and eating glorious food and celebrating life in general.
In the midst of my reacquaintance, I've been itching to return to writing and photographing and cooking, but the traction to do so collaboratively has been completely absent. So I'm sorry, and I thank you for your patience as I rally myself and my life together again.
The semester has been a whirlwind, leaving me completely puzzled as to the speed by which time is moving. How is it that I've already been away from Italy for four months? How is it that I have only one more month in this phase of my life? How is it than I so easily occupy my mind with "getting through the day" and "just one more week until ___" and "I just can't wait for this to be over," while so much beauty and treasure is bustling around me?
It's just weird, to be completely honest. I've felt a little bland all semester. Like I can't get all the things together that compose my normal Ellyn-ness. Maybe that's the result of coming off such a thrilling, adventurous, and stretching semester. Maybe that's what it takes after such a time abroad. And I suppose that's just okay! This is where I am. This is what God is doing. In the midst of airiness and the constant feeling of twilight zone and some sort of strange connection that is all around me, He's doing big things, and He doesn't give up. And I'm learning that. So that's good.
I can say with complete certainty that this is a semester of thankfulness for my friends. These people have been consistent and joyful presences in my life for the past four years. They know me, I am no surprise to them. They are constantly sacrificing things in their own lives- time, money, energy, attention- to show their love for me and maintain right community in our lives. And when I think about leaving them, it hurts deep down, the kind that makes you kind of nauseous and makes your brain quickly sprint in the other direction. Their love makes me want to love better. What a joy.
Here is a cookie I've discovered this semester, and it's a wonder that I haven't beforehand. It's a copy of Potbelly's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, apparently, though I've never had the real thing. And it is by far the most frequented recipe in my kitchen this semester. Seriously, I think these might be the best cookies ever. Definitely becoming a staple in my house for probably about ever, from now on.
I've adapted them from In the Pink and Green, who adapted them from Pardon the Dog Hair. Thanks to both of you for figuring out such a perfect recipe!
So here's to sharing cookies with my best friends while we figure out life and stick to joy in between.
The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter (one stick)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars (I try to go extra long here, to make them as fluffy as possible, since the ingredients are quite dense). Add the egg, beat, scrape down the bowl, and beat some more. Add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together, then slowly add it into the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Scrape down the bowl and mix again, then mix in the chocolate chips.
Form the dough into round balls, eating the dough as you go. Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes. During the last few minutes of baking or as you pull them out of the oven, use a spatula to flatten the cookies out. Cool on baking sheet for a minute or two, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Makes 25-30 of the best cookies you've ever had.
*April 15, 2014 update: Note on the chocolate chips. Since the first few times I made these cookies (all of which looked exactly like the pictures here), I've made two batches whose consistencies have turned out completely different. In the first batch I used 5 Tbs butter and 3 Tbs melted coconut oil (I think coconut oil would work fine for the entire half cup), and also used Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels instead of Hershey's Dark Chocolate Chips. In the second batch, I used the regular amount of butter and used the morsels again instead of the chips.
In both, the cookies were much flatter and spread out, and I didn't need to flatten them at all. I'm not sure why they lost their puffiness, but I think it might have to do with the chocolate. Even though I haven't changed the amount, I'd guess that when using the chips, you get about twice the amount of actual pieces of chocolate in one cup in comparison to the morsels, which are really large. I'm going to make them again this weekend with the Hershey's Chips and see if they go back to normal. If not- I'm not sure what it is. Maybe humidity, maybe the temperature of the butter. I'll keep you updated.