Consolation and Cookies

Thursday, October 8, 2009

-Cookies are a perfect comfort food because both words start with a "C". My reasoning is infallible here.-

Dear Tyler,

I'm not sure what to say to you. Not after what you did. I'm still angry and upset that you would lie to me like that over the last few weeks. I'm in class writing this and trying not to cry. I have to go up to the front and give a presentation but all I can thi-

Suddenly an arm covered the rest of the letter. I looked up quickly only to meet the bloodshot eyes of the letter's author. They were framed by her rumpled eyelids and brow, furrowed like sand dunes casting small shadows that seemed to make her rage towards the fact that I had trespassed upon such a private correspondence all the more intense. She stared at me coldly, my invasion had made her situation public and she was embarrassed; frustrated at the unexpected revelation.

"I... uh-I... Sorry. I was bored waiting for the class to start and my eyes just kinda started to wander around. I didn't mean to intrude on your personal stuff. It was a total accident." I began to apologize profusely stopping at just shaving my head as penance.

She looked at me, her eyes growing a bit softer and wet. She glazed her line of sight to the left and struggled in for a deep breath, the air stuttering as if filled her lungs to the point where her chest might burst. She exhaled like a gun firing a shot, echoing it in the acoustic classroom.

"It's okay. Sorry, just... Yeah. He's an asshole and it's hard just... you know..." she sighed.

"Writing it out. It's admitting to yourself and taking it in through your own senses that there are problems," I said, hoping that I was finishing her thoughts the right way assuming there was one. I realized I had probably been a bit forward in my amateur analysis and hoped I hadn't offended her more.

"Yeah." I was relieved to hear her say this. She continued, "Just it's hard after so long to just make this decision and change my life in such a way." She paused for a moment, then turned and asked, "Is it tacky to write a letter?"

"I dunno, but I think eventually you have to talk to the person. It's inevitable. Avoiding it just makes you the bad guy I think. On the other hand the guy is probably a douchebag," I gave her a smile so awkward I thought it would fall off my face. I've never been good at this kind of thing, even with friends I know well. I'm never sure what to do. Just listen? Offer advice? I'm happy to be there as support for the people in my life, yet emotional situations lose me like a thick fog. I'm just uncertain as which way to go.

"He is," she laughed. "I'm Kelly."

"Garrett," I replied. We shook hands. Then I remembered the cookies I had baked last night. In my rush to get to class in time I had thrown a few into a plastic baggie and dashed them into my messenger bag as a way to later fight off the unending drone of the professor. "Cookie? I find cookies generally make most things better. At least temporarily."

"Ooh! Yes. I dig cookies," we toasted our cookies like wine glasses, a small puff of crumbs falling to the ground between our desks.

I smiled. I wasn't sure what else I could do. Class started and we made a few jokes and smart ass one-liners to each other to cut through the dry lecture. She would go back to her letter every now and again, jotting a few words down but keeping them covered with her arm. The thoughts weren't ready to be made known to anyone but her.

I fear consolation will never be a skill of mine. All I can offer are a few kind words and some cookies. Luckily, it seems, that's all people need at times.

-Cookies should always come in neat little bundles like this.-

Chocolate Chip Cocoa Nib Cookies
Makes 4-5 dozen

1 cup of butter (2 sticks) room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 heaping teaspoon of ground coffee
3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour (substitute all-purpose if needed)
1 cup of dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of cocoa nibs

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a side bowl whisk together the salt and flours.

2. Cream the butter for three minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for thirty seconds each. Add the vanilla extract and coffee and beat for another minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

3. Add the sugars and beat for two or three minutes until light and fluffy. Add the baking soda and beat for another minute. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

4. Slowly mix in the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated together.

5. Stir in the chocolate chips and cocoa nibs. Spoon onto the prepared baking sheet in small spoonfuls. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the centers no longer pale. Let cook for a moment on the pan then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

-"Dear Tyler, I'm eating cookies and you aren't. Suck it."-


  1. That's an incredibly sweet story. And yes, cookies do have a nearly unmatchable ability to always make things better.

  2. Garrett,

    Great story, great recipe! And love the earlier post on bread - more than once making bread has saved my sanity.

  3. I can see you writing a book sometime soon. I love the cookies. It does make things better, at least temporarily. :)

  4. Love this to pieces. It made me smile at 1am, not an easy feat.


  5. I am firm believer that cookies do make everything better. I have cocoa nibs that have been sitting in my pantry for a couple of weeks - this gives me an idea - thanks!

  6. Hi! I just discovered you from a #FF tweet. Love your writing style. Will definitely check back to see what you're up to. And i just might have to bake those cookies - once all my chocolate banana muffins are gone!

  7. knight in armor or with wookies. very nice.

  8. I never know what to do in these awkward situations, but I think you handled that well. A very sweet and human story!

  9. Hey Garrett, your friend Kate sent me your way on twitter. Glad to "meet" you! I love that cookies not only are the best band-aid fix for any kind of pain, but that they can also bring strangers together in such unexpected ways. Thanks for sharing this sweet story, and your photos are lovely too.

  10. hey,

    its your charming bro Brandon,

    my friend saw your blog and book marked it as vanga, its like manga but delicious.

    get a kick out of that. your xmas gift is cup cake related.


  11. You are a sweetheart Garrett. Aw.

  12. My friend has just bought me some cacao nibs and I'm so happy to stumble upon this recipe. Thanks!

  13. Are cocoa nibs really good for baking? I had a bag but they're quite hard, and I fear they'll be out of place in a soft cookie. I'll give it a go, tentatively.

  14. Julia - You shouldn't have any problems. They sort of have the consistency of nuts.

  15. Enjoyed reading the story. You are a good writer. Great cookies.

  16. Are you kidding? You could bring about a revolution just by keeping stacks of these in your bag :) I thought you handled the situation quite well *pat on the back*

  17. I bought cocoa nibs the other day at Whole Foods, knowing I had seen recipes with them. I'll be making this one first though - tomorrow night after work! Great photos, too.

  18. What a great story! Hopefully you were able to remind the girl of the fact that there as nice guys out there too, not just assholes.

  19. Ha! Good one. I was at BlogHer and "stood in" (no room to sit) on your session. Love it. You are too funny.
    While in SF, I bought some Sharfen Berger cacao nibs. Hmmm? What should I do with them? ;)
    Cookies are my favorite thing!


Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.

Vanilla Garlic All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger