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How to Make Yourself Smile #1
Today was not easy for no reason in particular. I’ve been struggling with feeling unproductive and lazy despite the fact that I am not being either of these two things. In fact, I’ve been quite the opposite – in one morning, I managed to meet two different friends for long meals (breakfast and then lunch), I re-organized and cleaned my apartment, fixed up my bank account, secured new car insurance…the list goes on.
The feeling that you haven’t accomplished anything is downer. I’m used to accomplishing a lot everyday. That’s how I did so many things during school. There’s not much to getting around this feeling other than to do something to make yourself smile.
Today, I begin the smile-making list. To qualify for the list, the activity must: 1. include some sort of feat, 2. make me smile. Clearly, this list has potential to be quite extensive (that’s what makes it perfect for this blog). Let the games begin!
How to Make Yourself Smile #1:
Make cookies you haven’t made before. After checking that they don’t taste awful, give them all away. Put them on little plates and go meet people, using the cookies as an icebreaker.
A few weeks ago, I paged through Martha Stewart’s Cookies (a gift I received from my boyfriend during college) and noticed the recipe for Anise Drops because the ingredient list is so short compared to so many of the other cookies in the book. I made them, and it turns out that they are fantastic – very sweet and meringue-y with an anise accent. It took me two weeks to find a store with Anise Extract (I guess this isn’t a normal ingredient for Palo Alto residents). The cookies were well worth the wait.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon anise extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
- Put eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium speed until eggs are fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar until incorporated, about 3 minutes. Mix in anise extract. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a coupler or a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as an Ateco No. 806). Pipe 1 3/4-inch rounds onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 1/2 inch apart.
- Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops crack and cookies are very pale, 8 to 9 minutes. Transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool.
The first plate was a test plate – I brought a few over to my hometown friend (and next-door neighbor). The next plate was for the only other person at home in my building – a woman that I’ve actually never seen before. She was busy when she answered the door, took the cookies, and told me she would come over later. Sure enough, she stopped by and we had a great conversation. Although she’s older than me, I think she’s someone I can call on for friendship once in a while. Like me, she’s new to the area and we have some similar interests.