Marie Kondo, where have you been all my life? I’ve been messy and scattered for decades and I had accepted this state of disarray as fundamental to my being. My college roommates showed up for my birthday party summer before last and (while they love me) told my children cringe-worthy tales of small mountains of dirty clothes and reams of unsorted paperwork and trails of baking destruction (To the clear, the baked goods were delicious, which helped keep me in their good graces, but the mess left behind… Good God.) My kids were delighted to discover that after years of fussing at them for similar traits, they had come by their inner slobs quite honestly.
I have evolved significantly over the years (let’s face it, I had to clean up my act if my beloved husband was going to agree to marry me), but my cooking remains far superior to any cleaning or tidying abilities.
But after watching exactly one episode of Marie Kondo’s show, I’m fully sold on the life-changing magic of tidying up. This tiny Japanese sprite has inspired me to declutter my world. M came down the other morning at 6am to find me sorting through piles of cookbooks, trying to work out which books brought me joy. (Umm - all of them?) Marie has the crazy idea that you should only hang on to 30 books. That’s where we disagree. I was able to part with about 30 books, but only after I found them good homes. Well over 100 remain. Baby steps.
One of my other missions: The pantry. I hate to throw food away, so I’ve been trying to use up the remnants of pantry items. I have accumulated an unruly number of little bags of of lentils and farro and so many nuts (squirrel!) and jars of spices and white chocolate chips and dried apricots and half a dozen wacky flours. It’s a mess. Time to create some magic from these remnants.
Per usual, I turned to my travel memory bank for a bit of inspiration.
While I eating my way around Hobart, Tasmania last fall on the (perfect in every way) Gourmania Food Tour, we stopped into the Pigeon Whole Bakery to sample a few croissants. While taking photos of every gorgeous pastry in sight, I spotted a stack of white chocolate, rosemary, and apricot cookies. Though tempting, I thought it would be a bit greedy to order cookies to go with my croissants, but I jotted the idea around to tinker with when I got home.
I started with my basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but suspected the white chocolate and apricot combo might run a bit too sweet, so added a some of that buckwheat flour to add an earthy, toasted nut flavor. Ends up that hits just the right note with rosemary. But while it might taste fab, the dough had an unfortunate grayish caste… so I rolled the cookies in some sugar to help with the look. Much better.
Love, love these cookies - and the fact that they remind me of Tassie.
A note about that tour:
Gourmania Food Tours We booked a private tour with the lovely Mary McNeill of Gourmania Tours, and it was an absolute highlight of our stay in Tasmania! Mary, a trained pastry chef and local, seemed to know everyone in town. We felt as though we had the privilege of meeting up with 10 of Mary’s foodiest friends, who offered us samples of their wonders. While nibbling on delicious pastries and cheeses and salads and avocado toast or sipping on coffee or wine or gin, we had long chats about the history of Hobart and the local food culture. She explained that chefs and other purveyors are moving from the mainland of Australia to embrace a slower pace of life and the ready access to gorgeous produce. We felt truly blessed to be able to spend a morning experiencing Hobart with Mary. I’m sure I’ll be blogging a few more recipes inspired by the experience.
White Chocolate, Rosemary and Apricot Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt (or regular salt)
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup white chocolate chips
½ cup sanding sugar (or regular sugar, if that’s what you have on hand)
Whisk the flours, baking soda, and salt in small bowl, and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter, the sugars, and vanilla extract until creamy.
Add the egg and stir until combined.
Gradually mix in flour mixture, but DO NOT over mix.
Stir in the white chocolate chips, dried apricots and rosemary.
Using a one tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough into round balls and set on a plate.
Roll the balls regular sugar or sanding sugar.
Pop the plate in to the refrigerator for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Drop the dough balls onto an ungreased baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
Pull the cookie sheet from the oven when finished. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.