Absence and Coconut Chow Mein Butterscotch Cookies
For two weeks this big bed hundreds of miles from our home has felt empty. I wake too early, the rural silence unsettling for this city girl. I reach for you in the darkness like I always do, a twelve-year habit that I can’t bare the thought of breaking. My hands meet a cold, crisp sheet. Where are you? Where am I? The sleepy haze begins to clear, and I remember that you’re at home in our bed, so far away. I fumble for the light. I miss you less once my day has started; the light holds so many distractions. But in the dark, awake, all I feel is your absence.
I’ll be home tomorrow. It’s so close now I can almost feel your arms around me, welcoming me back. The house will smell like brown butter when you open the back door and find me in the kitchen making cookies especially for you–sweet and just a bit savory–the way you like them. While you debate having a second cookie, I’ll tell you all about Austin–the silky smoked yellowtail at Uchi, the sage funnel cake at barley SWINE, the red velvet from Hey Cupcake!, the crazy cowboy gear at Allen’s Boots, and too many stories about Claire and Carmen. You’ll take in every detail even if you’re bored, because you missed me too. Then you’ll show me the projects you found time for while I was gone–the window trim, the rebellious oven door, and the delicate seedlings–our future garden–sprouting under the grow lights. I’ll remember for the third time just how lucky I am. And later that night in the darkness, I’ll reach for you and find you at last.
Coconut Chow Mein Butterscotch Cookies
Decades ago my mom made a no-bake cookie that I loved: melted butterscotch morsels, chow mein noodles, done. Combining the ingredients in a straight up cookie dough has been on my “must try” list ever since I tasted my first Momofuku Milk Bar “Compost Cookie,” the sweet meets savory brainchild of pastry chef Christina Tosi. Further inspired by memories of baking with mom (Mom ALWAYS made us mix cookie dough by hand.) and too weary from traveling to drag out the Kitchen Aid, I made these without a mixer. The result was a jam-packed cookie that screamed with flavor.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3/4 cup chow mein noodles
1 cup butterscotch morsels
flaky sea salt (I use Maldon, but any coarse salt will work.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and coconut. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stir in noodles and butterscotch chips.
- Roll dough into balls about the size of golf balls (approx. 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough) and place two inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten the tops slightly with a glass. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned but still soft. (I prefer mine slightly under cooked.)
- Cool slightly on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen.