This weekend marks the pause between two weeks of giant planning meetings at Dhagpo. The “Réunions d’automnes,” or autumn meetings, as it were. I’ve never enjoyed PowerPoint presentations so much as this last week. But when you fill a room with diverse, yet likeminded people devoted to a shared cause, and then spend three days straight, six hours a day, talking about how to further that cause…even PowerPoint takes on some vigor and joy. It also makes me giggle to see a room full of professional, well-educated people discussing infrastructure and finances, all the while sitting on the floor. With cushions, of course, but still. There’s a certain inherent humility there.
Is it dopey that I gush about management and organization? It blows my mind that I want to. To be so enamored of a place, of a vision, of a community, that I’m interested in PowerPoint and excited about Excel. Math makes me cringe, and yet I’m looking forward to reviewing the budget. I want to know everything about how this place works. I want to help it work. What are the blood and bones of building inspiration?
That is what this community means to me. To be grounded and lifted at the same time. To talk about how the bills get paid, how the flowers get arranged, whether we’re really going to have lentils twice a week for the rest of our lives. If we’re doing our best, if we can do better, if we’re happy, if we need help. To be honest, to be supportive, to be critical when needed and with kindness.
And then to exhale and let it all go for a moment. To sit under the stars and share a glass of something warming, toast a marshmallow over a candle, eat oatmeal cookies, and revel in the wonder of good people, good times, and good work.
These are my favorite twist on oatmeal raisins cookies. I typically make them at Christmas time, but we had a little regional dinner party, where everyone brought something from their neck of the woods, and it felt like the right time to break out the bag of cranberries I toted back from the States. This cookie dough is fairly simple and versatile. Bake them right after mixing for lacier cookies, or refrigerate for a couple hours to have thicker, chewier cookies. Bake for a few minutes more or less to have soft cookies or crispy edges or crispy cookies. Either way, you will have the perfect balance of toasty cinnamon, tangy cranberries, rich chocolate, with all the oat-y, caramel-y goodness of the traditional American “koo-kie” (as the French say).
Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 4 dozen medium-sized cookies
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda
2 teaspoons (7 grams) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons (5 grams) salt
1 ½ sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups (300 grams) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla
3 cups (270 grams) rolled oats
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) dried cranberries
1 cup (160 grams) chopped dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F (180˚ C). Line several cookies sheets with parchment paper. I usually do twice as many as my oven can hold; that way I don’t have to wait for the sheets to cool to get the next batch in the oven.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand blender, or even a sturdy bowl and wooden spoon (welcome to my life), cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add in the flour blend. Mix to combine. Add the oats, cranberries, and chocolate chunks. Stir until evenly distributed.
Refrigerate dough for two hours to have thicker, chewier cookies, or bake right away for lacy, flatter cookies. Drop dough in heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheets, leaving a couple of inches between mounds (non-refrigerated dough will spread more than chilled dough). Bake according to your chewiness preference. Although this depends on your oven (and how big you make your “heaping tablespoons” are), here are the general guidelines: ten minutes for chewy cookies, twelve minutes for crisp edges, fourteen minutes for crisp cookies. Have a cookie fête or have cookies for daaays.