Saturday, October 9, 2010

And then they knew that everything would be alright.

“There’s no better balm for a sad soul than an excessive amount of cookies,” she thinks, and then begins to take flours down from the cabinet. Brown rice flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch, guar and xanthan gums… It sounds like a science experiment, rather than the beginning of cookies, but this is what baking has become, post-gluten.

Noting that she’s out of brown sugar, she takes down the raw sugar and pours 1/3 of a cup in the grinder. The goat butter has been warming to room temperature, as has the egg yolk. She mixes the flours, and adds the cocoa powder. The flour bowl already has a heady scent – like pot at a dark and loud outdoor concert – the cocoa and coconut wafting deep into her nose, triggering addiction-prone neurons.

They’re called world peace cookies, and she’d been skeptical, assuming that a hippy dippy baker was the creator, but there was no hemp oil to be found in the recipe. That scent, though… Suddenly she understood. Something that good, that complex, could surely bring about the cessation of all armed conflict. Perhaps she could come up with a way to waft that scent across the mountains of Kazakhstan. Greg Mortensen would certainly be proud of her.

Gluten free baking requires a light hand, and so she spins the KitchenAid only a few times with the butter and sugar and egg yolk in the bowl. She pours a bit of the flour blend in at a time, stops the mixer to scrape the contents from the side of the bowl, and adds a bit more. It’s a crumbly mixture, perhaps a bit dry for the substitution of moisture-sucking coconut flour. She contemplates adding another bit of butter, but decides to go for it, as is.

The dough is room temperature as she dips her hands in the bowl and begins to form a roll that she’ll wrap with plastic and set in the fridge for a few hours. A warning tone sounds in her head as she swipes dough off the mixer blades with a finger and sticks it in her mouth – she knows better about eating raw egg and maybe even raw grains, but the inner kid always wins out. There’s enough dough to share, and her next fingerful finds its way into her boyfriend’s warm mouth.

“Oh my god,” he moans. She considers keeping the mixer blade for herself but in an unusually promiscuous fit of generosity holds the blade up between them for a simultaneous licking session. There’s more to soothing souls than caloric absorption. The cookies need to set in the fridge for several hours, anyway.