I can’t stand our kitchen cabinets. Although made of solid wood and relatively enormous in size, they drive me batty on a daily basis. Yes, I realize this is a First World Problem of the highest order, but still. I can count on one hand how many of the drawers and doors actually line up and/or close neatly. I can also count on one hand the number of times I’ve been whacked in the head by turning into a cabinet that has somehow swung itself open after I’d closed it just seconds before. They are Attack Cabinets.
As it happens, said cabinets were designed and built decades (and decades) ago by a former owner of our house, who apparently fancied himself a cabinetmaker. When I picture this man building the cabinets, I also picture his wife, who was apparently a much more supportive and tolerant spouse than I, occasionally passing through the kitchen, observing her husband’s work, shaking her head a little, and yet somehow never once reminding him of the mantra “measure twice, cut once“. I wish I could go back in time, find that woman, and beg her to please speak up because those cabinets would be driving me crazy 50 years later.
The one thing I don’t mind about the cabinets? Their color. Sure, I’d love to have a tricked-out, modern, bright, and airy kitchen with gleaming white cabinetry (that actually stays closed, and opens with a glide rather than a sputter). But I guess the one bonus to having cabinets designed during the Mad Men era is that it’s been long enough that their golden hue could almost be considered Retro Fabulous. If you squint. And also if you stop calling the color Totally Nonfunctional Ancient Cabinet Maple Stain, and instead call it something like Mid-Century Modern Dulce de Leche Gloss.
I’m trying to work with what I’ve got, people. I’m really trying, here.
In honor of the fact that we’re getting the heck out of the dreary, chilly San Francisco “summer” weather for a little family vacation this week, I give you these teeny gems. Because they are so cool, so creamy, so dreamy, they are literally like a vacation for your mouth. It’s the kind of thing that basically leaves you gobsmacked that you’ve not been making tiny banana ice cream sandwiches with vanilla wafers your entire life. Brainstorm!
So a couple of weeks ago, in a fit of I don’t know what (parental duty? insanity? John Mellencamp-esque inspiration?), we packed the kids into the car and headed north to the Marin County Fair. All things considered, it ended up being a near-perfect day, with minimal crowds and the most fantastically sunny, warm-yet-breezy weather that we sorely lack down here in San Francisco during the summer months. We lazily walked the grounds, listened to a showy preteen girl belt out pop songs for the talent contest, hung out with farm animals. The baby napped in the stroller. I ate a second hot dog as a snack like some kind of aspiring Biggest Loser contestant. Family outing success!
Speaking of that hot dog snack, let’s talk about fair food. Is there anything better? I mean, you have to get on board with the whole thing before you even get there. Just give in, be in it to win it, and accept that you’ll be eating something fried on a stick more than once in a two-hour period. Ain’t that America?
Lately I’ve been playing a lot of mind games with myself:
The laundry/kitchen/bathroom is half clean, not half dirty.
It’s not a six-month-old color job here on my head, it’s Unintentional Ombre.
My belly button is getting higher! (As opposed to other things getting, er, lower.)
You see where I’m going, here? It’s so Zen, right? I think I’m going to stay on this Thought Train as long as it keeps working for me. And since the latest affirmation is “Bread pudding isn’t dessert, it’s breakfast!”, I’d say you’re gonna want to go on ahead and get on board.
So…while I’d like to think I’m not one of those pretentious dorkknobs who mull over pastry menus like Biblical passages, I do have my opinions when it comes to sweets. (You might have guessed as much.) For example, dessert should celebrate sugar. Yes, I knooow how sophisticated and fabulous it is when a cheese plate is served as a final course. Maybe my Midwest is showing, but dessert needs to be sweet, people. Also? I covet balance. I want a little sweet, a little salty, a little acid, crunchy, creamy, chewy–and I want it all in one bite. And last week my cravings got in cahoots with my brain and produced a totally insane, Big Mama Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream Sundae. My persnickety dessert nature is now a gift, friends. Now would someone please tell my husband that?
The interwebs are aflutter with popsicles, people! And thank goodness. It seems like everyday there’s something new and terrible splashed all over every freaking webpage, making me question why I chose to raise children in this crazy, sometimes scary world. I’d say we could all use a little sunshine in frozen form these days, don’t you think? YES. Let’s do exactly that.
Now, before we go any further, I will address the elephant in the room: COCONUT. Probably one of the most polarizing things in the universe next to, say, cilantro and Rachael Ray. People either love coconut or they get visibly shaken at the mere mention of it. For example, my husband and daughter are in the latter camp, which is disappointing. Because I love coconut and so I can only bake something with coconut knowing that I will just have to eat the whole dang thing. Not altogether terrible, unless you consider something like fitting into one’s pants. So that’s why these ice pops are brilliant. Because not only are they dead simple to make, but obviously keep for quite a long time in the freezer. And I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to binge on, say, coconut macaroons than something that would give me a crippling brain freeze. Win!
I’ve been sitting here, trying to craft a clever story that would segue into the glory that is these cookies. but guess what? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Because these cookies are NOW. They’re everything. The New New. And I can’t stop eating them. They’re at once brown buttery, brown sugary, crisp-chewy, and butterscotch-y. So let’s cut the nifty foreword and get right down to it.
With all of our busyness these days, I can understand that you may scoff at a recipe that has an ingredient that to you have to make before you even begin. A crunchy, buttery, sweet-salty homemade cashew brittle is the cornerstone of these super delicious cookies. Ingredients made of ingredients! What is my problem?
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