Best Ginger Molasses Cookies, Los días van tan rápidos

Estemos preparados. Quedémonos desnudos
con lo que somos, pero quememos, no pudramos 
lo que somos. Ardamos. Respiremos
sin miedo. Despertemos a la gran realidad 
de estar naciendo ahora, y en la última hora.

Let us be prepared. Let us stay exposed
to what we are, but let us burn, not spoil
what we are. Let us smolder. Let us breath
without fear. Let us awaken to the great reality
of being born now, and in the final hour.

Gonzalo Rojas, Contra la muerte, 1964


As a classic early 2000s middle schooler, with a penchant for softcore metal, bad YA novels, and having a lot of ~feelings~, I was very much into writing and reading poetry. Although I've gotten over my desire to write really deep verses about how no one understands me, I haven't gotten over my love of reading other people's poetry. Tomas Tranströmer and Rainer Maria Rilke were early favorites, which I read as English translations, before reading the Aeneid and several Alexander Pushkin poems in their original languages. Reading poetry has become a part of how I learn and immerse myself in other languages; or, put perhaps more poetically, a way to find powerful, transcendent spaces in the languages I love. The excerpt above illustrates this beautifully. I don't know what it is about the words he's chosen, the pacing, his earnestness, but it just fills me up and lifts me out of myself for a moment whenever I read it.

I first encountered this stanza in a collection of poemas de Gonzalo Rojas that Jimmy gave me for Christmas when he came back from Chile. Pablo Neruda is, of course, also a favorite of ours, and we return to a book of his selected poems time and again. I hope to find more Spanish language poetry once I finally mobilize myself to get a DC library card. Until then, I've been occupying my spare time with sculling (lol @ my fourth year self for thinking I would probably never row again after college), taking casinero (Cuban style) salsa classes, a social volleyball league, studying for the GRE, and actually devoting myself to learning Python. Code Academy is a great online tool, and I've also been using Learn Python the Hard Way that is part of a broader series of books on programming languages. I will also be attending my first lesson with Hear Me Code this weekend, a community of women in the DC area ranging from complete programming novices who want to learn Python, HTML, Java, etc. to incredibly skilled programmers looking to bounce ideas off of the group or work on projects together. I'm very excited about that.


I've also been cooking a fair amount, less often than I would like and with less flair, but I've still had a lot of success in my teeny tiny kitchen. My first week in this apartment I made the salad pictured above, which was perfect for the incredible and disgusting humidity of DC summer that I hope I never get used to, and the spice cookies from my all-time fave Jerusalem cookbook that were absolutely divine. When Jimmy came to visit me in September, we adapted a recipe for a quinoa, bacon, and chard salad from La Gran Cocina Latina (which by the way I think is an excellent, excellent encyclopedia and cookbook in one). I made two loaves of babka last week that came out super well, and have made a version of this granola recipe (maple syrup instead of agave, sub extra nuts for coconut, no brown sugar, sub cardamom and allspice for cinnamon) several times now to have with kefir and fruit for breakfast. I also improvised a pureed kabocha squash soup with miso and gochugaru that turned out super well, and was a lovely way to celebrate early fall produce. Today I also made chicken stock, then pulled apart the chicken to make into curried chicken salad with toasted pecans and golden raisins. I mixed together Greek yogurt, curry powder, lemon juice, a little bit of the stock to thin out the yogurt, a dash of olive oil, a dab of Dijon mustard, and honey for the dressing. That's a #notsaddesklunch right there.

This is all to say, I've been doing really well adjusting to adult life and finding time to exercise, relax, and cook. I can't say that I have a routine, but I've at least established some weekly patterns with activities I've already paid for (like rowing and salsa) that force inspire me to go and get out of my own head when I'm feeling down and prone to binge-watching bad romcoms on Netflix. Having these patterns is especially important for weeks like this one, when I've just come back from visiting Jimmy in Chicago or when he's left after visiting me, and it's difficult to return to the normalcy of being in my apartment alone. Cookies are also especially important. Cookies indeed.

Ginger Molasses Cookies
barely adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang

1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 c (220 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 c (80 grams) unsulphured dark molasses
1 egg
2 c (280 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1+ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
Granulated sugar for coating

Whisk (or mix on low speed) together the butter, brown sugar, molasses, fresh ginger, and egg until well combined. 

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt until well mixed. Add the flour mixture into the wet mixture and stir just until combined. Put the dough into an airtight container and let rest in the refrigerator at least 3-4 hours or preferably overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Scoop out  a 1/4 c of dough at a time, roll into a ball, roll in the sugar, then place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 16-18 minutes until the cookies are crackly on top and just barely firm to the touch. Let cool until you can eat them without burning your mouth too badly.

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