Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Shortbread

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November 15, 2010

1:24 AM

It’s been a while, yeah? This writer-chef has found himself taking an impromptu sabbatical from this little blog. And to do what, you ask? What could I possibly be doing that is more validating and engaging than cooking up a storm and documenting it all for you fine folk? It’s called sinking into a hazy hibernal laziness and getting overwhelmed by schoolwork. Admittedly not my proudest moment, but I’m here to remedy this all. People so often reserve resolutions for the New Year and concepts loosely tied to Spring cleaning, but there’s something to be said for that brackish shift from Autumn’s golden harvest to Winter’s frosty bite. We’re ready to put away the cider and use up the rest of our slowly rotting Jack-o-lanterns, but we’re not quite ready to spike the ‘nog or reclaim our friend, the fruitcake. Coming up on this change in the seasons and one of the most food-centric holidays in American culture, maybe it’s time we take in a bit of introspection with that third slice of pumpkin pie.

Saturday night, I found myself around our candle-lit dinner table surrounded by several friends making chairs of whatever they could, drawing from the intoxicating warmth of hot soup and a jug of communal wine. We decided to go around the table sharing a “thorn” and a “rose” about our lives, giving one another a rare chance to complain without being complaintive and to boast without being a braggart. It was here your humble writer made the re-realization that everything about this moment – the food, the thoughts, the people, the music in the background – was absolutely perfect. And that this experience is what I’ve always sought to create with my cooking endeavors. And so, without being too preachy, I know it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of things, and for college student in particular it can become hard sometimes just to get out of bed and make it to class; and cold, gloomy mornings certainly don’t help. Blah blah blah, don’t lose sight of the things you love, blah blah blah, I’ll end my career as a motivational speaker right now before it starts. But I do think it helps to share sometimes.

And here’s my gift to you; a swift morning snack to have with a cup of thought-provoking tea, and maybe it’ll give you guys the little kick you need to drag yourselves out of bed when it’s almost too much to let your little piggies touch the cold hardwood floor:

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Shortbread (Vegan)

Here’s what you’ll need:
-1 cup softened margarine (or butter if you’d prefer)
-1 cup sugar
-2 cups flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (some people call them filberts; get ‘em at Fresh Market)
-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Here’s what you’ll do:
-Preheat your oven to 350° and get a 13×9” pan greased and ready to go.
-In a mixing bowl, combine the margarine and sugar until incorporated, stir in the flour and baking soda, add the chocolate chips and hazelnuts and mix until everything’s even.
-It’ll be really thick like cookie dough so press it into the pan, bake for about half an hour, or until a knife in the center comes out clean.

Simple and fast, this could be your new breakfast staple, or your furry slippers for your cold feet (and all that that signifies). And before you can’t tolerate my figurative language anymore, I’ll leave you all with one more gastronomical metaphor: in the soup of life, when your potatoes are heavy and your vegetables are at the bottom of the pot, sometimes all it takes a little stir.

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