Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Crisps and Cookies

With each new day and each new recipe I'm all the more convinced that baking is the perfect way to bless other people. Baking is a way to serve. Baking is a way to show love, care and compassion.
For the past four years I've been asking God to use me. I've felt so useless just stuck at home, trapped in an unpredictable body with unpredictable nerves. I've wanted to be a giver, doing for others and serving people in a way that would show the love of Christ. I've cried out to God and begged Him to make me useful for Him.
At first I thought He wasn't listening or didn't hear me because my health just worsened and my life became more limited. The ways I used to serve and give can't be part of my life in my physical state. As I've watched my life become reduced in so many ways I've faced moments and seasons of frustration, feeling that God was leaving me out to dry.
But then something happened. I found that God could use me right here at home, in my own kitchen. All I had to do was bake and I could start sharing blessings.
Isn't it amazing how God is working even when we feel like He's gone silent? For years I wondered what God was doing with my life and how He would ever make anything out of it given my physical condition. But He doesn't need me to be in perfect health to be busy in the kitchen. He just needs me to have a willing spirit.

Today my spirit has been very willing. So willing in fact that I baked up two different desserts for two different crowds.
First off was a Blueberry Peach Crumble (or Crisp). These seasonal treats were for some of my favorite church ladies who came over for a luncheon. I baked up my crumbles/crisps in individual ramekins and topped them with vanilla ice cream. I love individual sized desserts, they are special and, of course, cute! The golden brown, bubbling crumbles topped with a heaping scoop of refreshing ice cream were truly the perfect dessert for an August afternoon.
The days second adventure in the kitchen was for my all my nieces and nephews. Those kiddos are growing quite accustomed to my daily dessert delivery. But seriously, what kid wouldn't like a new dessert delivered every afternoon to their doorstep? Especially when it comes hot out of the oven and contains chocolate chips.
The recipe I used for my cookies is the infamous Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie. To be honest I'm not sure if the recipe I used is the legitimate "top secret original recipe." I saw some conflicting opinions on what goes into the famed cookie but, either way, these cookies were a big hit. I choose a recipe that didn't use oatmeal (a controversy in the blogging world) and went for a recipe that used instant coffee powder. I baked them at 300 degrees for about fifteen minutes. At first I was reluctant to bake them at such a low temperature for so long but reviewers all over the internet swear by this method so I gave it a go. I'm so glad I did! The cookies were moist, a little puffy and slightly crispy. They turned golden but not burnt. The cookies looked like little balls of baked doughy perfection and everyone who tasted them agreed.
Let's just say that the Neiman Marcus cookie is famous for a reason. I think they just became by go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. Way to go Neiman….or Marcus. You came up with one seriously scrumptious cookie.

For today's recipes check out these sites...
For the crumble/ crisp: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/blueberry-peach-crumble/
I followed this recipe almost precisely except that I added a teaspoon of cinnamon to the fruit base. I'm a cinnamon lover. The scent… the taste… I just can't get enough cinnamon in my life.
For the cookies: http://neimanmarcuscareers.com/story/recipe.shtml
Didn't change a thing! Absolute perfection.

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