“No two persons ever read the same book” ~ Edmund Wilson
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It's probably best that she saw me first
I hadn't been for a few months. Of course, life gets busy. Of course, everyone understands, but I still found myself with pangs of misplaced guilt every time I missed book club
“We haven't met for a few months and decided to take a break. But it's starting back up again. Please say you'll come back.”
I hugged her, twice (!) and excitedly scribbled down the date and time
The art of keeping life fresh, especially in the wintertime. It's the time of year I need to be extra vigilant not to fall into the same old patterns, and be mindful of feeling a little blue.
It's not that winter is terrible really, far from it. My husband makes us nightly fires, and I love the excuse to cook winter comfort food. My electric blanket has always been a friend, the puppies are funny when they play in the snow, and I've got the best pair of red hand-knit mittens.
Admittedly though, her invitation that morning at the co-op, was another bright spot, something to look forward to. A welcome break from my reading rut of health and nutrition textbooks, and a completely different circle of women to hang out with
The club always meets over beers, at the back table of a main street bar.
As we wait for everyone to come, some tell funny stories of their school-age children, while I smile and wonder where the time went. Sometimes we talk about upcoming 5K runs, I think about tagging along, but instead, nibble on my popcorn and wonder if some things are best done in the summertime
Eventually, we get around to discussing the book. It's one that's been chosen because it feels relevant to our lives, typically about friendship, careers, work/life balances, or relationships. The fascinating thing about the books, I've discovered, is how close you can get to, and how much you learn about the women in the group
We've talked about marriage, breakups, parenting, career goals, what success means, the saddest and happiest times in our lives, depressions, body image, aging, feminism, religion, and everything under the sun
This month's book? Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
So in a few days, as I head out with my book in hand, I'll have a warm plate of these cookies in my other.
The recipe comes together in less than fifteen minutes, with results that are absolutely delicious. The cookies have the requirements of any good cookie, crispy edges with meltingly chewy middles. The combination of almond butter, maple syrup, and the flakey sea salt make them taste suspiciously like salty caramel, although without a single unfortunate ingredient.
A couple of notes
Almond butter – use one that's quality, you'll be glad you did
The dough is very sticky – 15 or 20 minutes in the freezer before you're ready to bake will make it a little easier to work with
It can be tricky to know when they're done since they have such a light color. I typically take mine out when the edges beginning to firm up and a bit of crackling is starting to form on their tops.
~ Adapted from It's All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow
Salted Almond Butter Cookies
- 1 ½ cups gluten-free flour (if the flour doesn't include xanthan gum, add ¾ teaspoon)
- ½ tsp fine-grain sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup almond butter
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
- flaked sea salt, for sprinkling on top
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flour, fine sea salt, and baking powder
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, and beat until smooth and shiny (~ 1 minute)
- Add the dry ingredients and combine. (the dough will be sticky)
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes (optional, though it will make the dough easier to work with)
- Form the cookies into small balls (each about the size of a generous tablespoon) and space them 2" apart on the prepared sheet pans.
- Wet your fingertips and press down on each cookie, smoothing the edges, so each resembles a disk.
- Sprinkle each cookie with just a bit of the flaky sea salt.
- Bake 10-12 minutes, until your kitchen is fragrant and the cookies are just beginning to be firm. Let them cool on a rack before serving.