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July 19, 2012

There’s something magical about resolutions.

I’m not overly fond of the exacting type that require a person to force themselves into unwanted tasks. But the kind that you set to give yourself the space and framework to do something you want is a bit time-machine-esque.

You can set the resolution, and then peer ahead with the awareness that maybe Future You can speak Thai, or bake a perfect soufflé, or apply false eyelashes with the best of them.

I have a list of goals on my wall. They’re not necessarily self-improvement, although some of them are. I wrote it last fall, when I was in a pretty low place, with the intention of knowing what I wanted and working towards it all, even if most of the points seemed utterly impossible.

In a funny way, things started to work out. I started this blog, and then, beating the odds and two years of customer service underemployment, I got a job that I adore. It often feels like getting to do all of my hobbies, except with a small paycheck to show for it.

I figured travel, to Spain and France, was still a far-off dream, but that my goal list was more like a five-year plan. And then Lee got into a fantastic graduate program, one that will probably enable us to travel at least three times next year, quite possibly to old favorites like France and new territory, like Spain.

It still gives me tingles when I think about it. It’s like I finally gave myself permission to ask the world for what I wanted, and the world responded by giving (not everything I wanted, but) everything I needed. I don’t expect that I’ll always get everything I ask for, and it’s not really about that. Having that list of goals posted above my bed works in a powerful way, and I think a lot of it has to do with having a list of the things I really want, in a plain format, so that when I start to feel lost, I can go back to the list and work hard for what I want.

And this is all a tl;dr way of saying that I did some editing, and now “Learn to cook without recipes” is scrawled down there on the bottom. I’ve been cooking for what feels like forever, and now I’m trying to develop dishes, at least twice a month, using only my senses and perhaps my trusty Flavor Bible.

This is my first attempt, taking the classic blondie recipe, browning the butter, upping the salt, and turning it into a bar cookie homage to s’mores, which are my current obsession. All s’mores, all the time.

Salted Brown Butter S’mores Blondies

½ cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons (large-crystal) kosher salt (more like 1 teaspoon if you’re using table salt)
1 cup flour
½ toasted pecans
½ cup chocolate chips
10-15 large marshmallows

–       Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8×8 pan.
–       Brown the butter (link to instructions). Let it cool.
–       Mix together browned butter and brown sugar.
–       Beat in the egg, and then the vanilla.
–       Mix in salt, then flour. The mixture will be thick.
–       Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
–       Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
–       Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and place one marshmallow on every square inch or so. Place back in oven, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until it’s set in the middle (the marshmallows might make it a little hard to tell, but don’t worry about them being slightly underbaked, they’re gooey and delicious that way). The marshmallows will puff out and melt back over the top of the blondie.
–       It will seem tempting to cut into them hot. They’re ok that way, ignoring the burning-hot marshmallow, but they’re at their most extraordinary after they’ve cooled.


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