December 16th, 2009


Dark chocolate pomegranate cookies.

Having been asked (about fifteen times) to post this, I now present you with the recipe for dark chocolate chip pomegranate cookies. You will need:

* Three cups of all-purpose flour
* One teaspoon of baking soda
* One-half teaspoon of salt
* One cup of granulated sugar
* Two-thirds of a cup of packed light brown sugar

* One cup of softened butter or margarine
* Two large eggs
* One tablespoon of vanilla extract
* One quarter-cup of pomegranate molasses

* One twelve-ounce bag of dark chocolate chips
* One-half cup of pomegranate seeds

Line several cookie trays with parchment paper, as the cookies will be sticky when they first come out of the oven, and it's best if they stick to something other than your actual cookie tray (you may need it for another batch, depending on how many trays you have). Mix your flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl that you aren't in danger of knocking over. Put it to one side. In another, bigger bowl, mix your butter, granulated sugar, white sugar, pomegranate molasses, eggs, and vanilla until they form a sugary pudding-like goo that you really just want to eat with a spoon (but won't, due to the presence of raw eggs in the mix).

Begin adding your flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly as you go. First the contents of your bowl will look like some sort of horrible elementary school art project. Gradually, they will turn into cookie dough. When this happens, mix in the chocolate chips and pomegranate seeds. Stir to distribute as evenly as possible through the mixture. Put the dough in the fridge for an hour. Go do something else. Watch TV. Read a book. Read my book. I don't care. It's your hour.

Actually, I lied. After about forty-five minutes, come back and pre-heat your oven to 400 F/around 205 C.

Once you're ready to bake, put tablespoons of dough on your cookie trays, about two inches apart (to allow for spread). You may need to mash them a little with your spoon or hand to get them to stay in place. Bake at 400 F/around 205 C until light brown (usually eight to ten minutes; longer if you want crispy cookies). Allow to cool at least a little before eating. The pomegranate seeds will soften to the texture of baked walnuts, while the juice parts will be little exploding sweet-sour surprises.


Thoughts on Writing #39: Envy.

Hello, and welcome to my thirty-ninth essay in my accidental series of essays about the wacky little thing that we call "writing." It's a little daunting to realize that not only do I have an accidental essay series, but that accidental essay series is well on the way to being finished. Soon, I'll have to find something else to do with my spare time. Anyway, this series of essays will soon be fifty essays long, all of them based around my original set of fifty thoughts on writing. The original fifty thoughts covered a lot of aspects of the writing life; the essay series is doing the same. Here's today's thought:

Thoughts on Writing #39: Getting Jealous.

There are lots of reasons for getting jealous, so it's probably important that we expand today's thought, and give it a little bit more context. Without context, after all, we're essentially lost in the woods. So here's today's expansion:

Envy is useful; it motivates you to work harder. Envy is toxic; the world is not innately fair. Acknowledge your envy, take a deep breath, and let it go. You're going to find yourself with a lot more room to work if you can do that, and you're going to be a much happier person.

Envy is a fascinating emotion. It's natural: everybody has it to one degree or another. It's normal: it really does happen to pretty much everyone. It's no more automatically a "bad" emotion than anger or sadness or fear, all of which happen naturally and normally and to everybody. But we're taught that envy is bad; that it has no positive sides; that if we're envious, we're somehow in the wrong, and will be punished if we're caught. So how do we deal with something that's natural and normal—and yes, unavoidable—and how do we harness its powers for good? Let's take a look at envy, why it's a good thing, why it's a bad thing, and how to use it. Ready? Good. Let's begin.

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