The days are moving forward with such rapidity I can scarcely catch my breath. Addled by the dates in my daily journal and helpless to stop tomorrow from becoming today, I often sit, my hands restless, trying to renew my grasp upon reality.
Change looms in the distance. Some of it is what I have hoped and longed for, some of it is what I never could have imagined, but no matter the category, befuddlement seems destined.
This was not what today was supposed to look like. I was not supposed to wake to an inward battle of body versus mind, my body usually being triumphant.
No, this was not what today was supposed to look like. Today, I was supposed to leap out of bed at 4:45am when the alarm first sung its less-than-gentle melody. Today, I was supposed to open my journal and find that I was up-to-date on recording my happenings, not hopelessly behind. Today, I was supposed to send my husband off to his dream job, not find myself kneeling once again in prayer that he would find it. Today, I was supposed to be attending business meetings and blushing over my own success, not shuffling into another doctor's appointment.
I never anticipated the very bigness of adult life. My mind flips back to a movie I watched often as a child, yet never quite understood its meaning. My younger self could not grasp the battle revealed in The Kid, as a grown man watches his younger self pout in disappointment over the lackluster reality of his future adult life.
In so many ways, my life is more wonderful and blissful than any of my fantasies ever predicted. I am immensely thankful for this life I get to live. But the reality of pain, disappointment, and dreams that just do not come true is still present.
Sometimes, I walk through Target with teary eyes, passing over the section of tiny, cotton clothes that I had imagined myself buying for a tiny little person right now. Sometimes I kick and scream as I watch others freely and painlessly welcome what I am trying so hard to achieve. Sometimes, I cry. A lot.
There is so much good in my life, and so much hope in my heart, but there are still some very hard days.
On those days, I do what I have always done. I call my mama. We drink coffee, we dunk our biscotti, and somehow, the thankfulness slowly overwhelms the hurt.
From the days when my sorrows were mere paper cuts and my coffee came in a sippy-cup, to now, when my mama joins me at my very own kitchen table, these morning rituals have been a constant source of comfort.
Rather than falling into my habitual series of apologies, let me say that I know this post was a little different. These words were typed not to solicit sympathy or to beg for pats on the back, but to share a deeper sense of realness.
Though it may not seem to have much to do with cookies, these truths are really the reasons that I so often find myself in the kitchen juggling sheet pans.
Sometimes we bake to celebrate, and sometimes we find ourselves drying tears on our dishtowels in between batches of cookies.
I always want you all, my lovely, wonderful, supportive readers, to know that I have known both. No one is ever alone, and joy is never illusive.
If today is your day, I rejoice with you! If today is beating you up a bit, allow me to bring you some cookies, and join with you in both tears and coffee.
DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND BISCOTTI
makes twenty-four cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup almond flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (70% is my jam)
3/4 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for sprinkling
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place butter in the work bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat, on medium speed, for 1 minute. Cream butter and granulated sugar until fluffy; about 2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl before beating in eggs, one at a time, and mixing well after each addition. Beat in almond extract.
In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly beat in flour mixture, forming a thick, soft, dough.
Beat in dark chocolate and sliced almonds.
Dust your countertop with a liberal handful of flour before turning the dough out and shaping. Shape into two logs, 2.5 inches wide and 8 inches long.
Lay the logs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, then brush the logs with prepared egg wash and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Allow the logs to cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing, at an angle, into 1-inch cookies. While the cookies cool, reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Lay the cookies, cut side up, over the surface of the sheet pan and bake for 12 minutes. Pull the pan out of the oven and carefully flip the cookies so that the opposite side can brown. Bake for an additional 12 minutes, then transfer the biscotti to cooling racks. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Store in airtight containers or zip-top bags for up to 10 days.