The End of the World and Salted Chocolate Chip Shortbread
After our workout this morning Greg suggested that I weigh myself “just to know where you’re at going into the holidays.”
A weigh-in could squash my “ho ho ho” in one fell swoop. I avoid the scale especially in the cold months when it’s easy to hide extra padding under a woolly sweater. Still, I agreed. In spite of a strong foreboding feeling, I couldn’t make an intelligent argument for why it was a bad idea.
“Okay, you look,” I said as I stepped onto the cold metal scale with my bare feet. “If it’s above my magic number, don’t tell me what it is.” I looked at Greg. He dropped his eyes to the number on the scale.
“I mean it. Don’t tell me if it’s bad.” He looked up from the scale in silence.
“Well?” I asked.
“You said not to tell you.”
“So it’s above the magic number?”
“You’re probably just backed up,” he said.
Yes, those are the words of consolation he chose.
“Well, how far above the magic number is it?” I prodded.
“I thought you said you didn’t want to know.”
“I know what I said, but now I know that it’s bad. You might as well finish me off.”
“You’re a pound over your number,” he conceded.
Pizza. Tiramisu. Pesto cream sauce. Triple cream brie. Salted Chocolate Chip Shortbread.
I stomped off to the bathroom before Greg could offer his usual advice, “You could always cut out the wine.” I stared at my reflection in the mirror. And just then, something magical happened, something unprecedented and completely unexpected: I didn’t care what the scale had to say, not today. People out east were burying their first graders and teachers. Still more were homeless in the wake of superstorm Sandy. My face was hot with shame that quickly gave way to an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
Five minutes later I was crunching away on my favorite holiday cookie of 2012, Salted Chocolate Chip Shortbread–breakfast.
If the World ends tomorrow as the Mayans predicted, I’m taking a few extra pounds with me, but no regrets. And if the Mayans got it wrong, as I’m wont to believe, have a very merry Christmas!
Salted Chocolate Chip Shortbread
My sister introduced me to these addictive little buggers a couple years ago. I fell hard when the salt crunched between my teeth. They’re a variation of Martha Stewart’s recipe for Holiday Shortbread. Make a double batch: one for sharing and another to keep all for yourself.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus more for finishing
3/4 cup mini chocolate morsels
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar until smooth. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Mix in the chocolate morsels.
- Form dough into 1 1/2-inch-thick round or square logs. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes (or up to 1 month).
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
- Cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices and place on prepared sheet pans. Sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt. Bake until cookies are light golden brown on the bottoms, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cookies cool 5 minutes on sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes 4 dozen.