Baking as nesting

This afternoon, since I had some free time, I started making cookie dough for alfajores, those delightfully buttery, flaky South American sandwich cookies that I’m totally obsessed with. I think alfajores are likely one of the most perfect little cookies on the planet, as they are rich, indulgent, flaky, not too sweet, but sweetened with a delicious and sticky caramel filling. The dough is a bit hard to work with, as it’s super delicate and usually made from a mixture of corn or tapioca starch, a tiny bit of regular all purpose flour, and bound with butter and egg yolks, but it’s always so gratifying when the cookie cut outs are made. Alfajores were on my list of things “to make” before the baby came as a small indulgence to myself, both as an activity and as a treat to enjoy.

A lot of people like to make comments that if they had all the money in the world, they would just outsource tasks like cooking certain dishes or baking certain desserts so that they could just enjoy. But to me, it wouldn’t matter if money meant nothing and if I had Jeff Bezos’s wealth because baking and cooking are basically part of my identity and what makes me happy. If you took away cooking and baking from me, I’d probably feel weird and incomplete. I’m partly making these cookies for fun and as a treat for myself before Pookie Bear arrives, but also because I want to share them with my friends who are coming over for brunch this weekend. Food is meant to be eaten and shared and enjoyed, and this will be the very first time we’ve hosted anyone over for a meal since pre-pandemic, so I want to make sure it’s delicious.

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