Monday, September 6, 2010

The path to a friendly workplace... paved with baked goods.  Trust me on this.

The usual suspects...
I have a fantastic, synergistic relationship with my coworkers when it comes to baked goods.  During my first couple of weeks at my new job (a.k.a. the whole reason I'm on this new adventure), my coworkers started noticing my homemade lunches.  They (correctly) surmised that I enjoyed cooking and baking, and graciously and selflessly offered to be guinea pigs for any new recipe that I should want to try.  My waistline greatly thanks them for this, since if left to my own devices, I would eat everything all by myself.  Hrm.

I came across these gems while cruising around, you guessed it, Nemmie's blog.  They're Nutella-peanut butter chip cookies, with chunks of hazelnut for good measure.  I've always adored Nutella, ever since my Nonna first made me a sandwich with it.  How can you NOT love chocolate-hazelnut spread?!  I once learned a bit of its history while watching Food Network- turns out it was produced in Italy during WWII to stretch out expensive chocolate stores.  Who knew??

Looks good, eh?  And Hubs was making fun of me for my new white dishes...
Now, after I found the recipe for these cookies, which were molto bueno, I decided to open my mouth and tell my coworkers that I'd be making them that night and bringing them in.  Bad idea.  I stopped at Safeway (a slightly sketchy one) on my way home from work, battling heavy traffic, only to find that they were charging almost $5 for a teeny jar of Nutella.  Erm, no.  I also couldn't find hazelnuts anywhere in the store; the peanut butter chips, which I grudgingly bought, also seemed way overpriced.  After battling with budget frustrations and traffic, I got home in a sour mood.  The day was cloudy, I was missing Hubs desperately, and all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep.  Which I did.

Fast-forward to the next day.  Coworkers jokingly express disappointment during lunch that I didn't bring cookies in.  Of course I know they're teasing, and there was no pressure whatsoever... but I knew that baking was probably the best way to bring me out of this weather-induced funk.  So I stop at Dollarama on my way home and buy a $1.25 jar of knockoff Nutella (I think it was called Nugatti).  It's not QUITE as good as the real deal, but hell, I'll take it!  One jar (and several new white pieces of tableware) later, I'm feeling much more chipper and I took on the recipe!

It's un-ladylike to drool, right? Sorry.
Victory was mine!!  These were fantastic; they spread just the right amount in the oven, and cooled with that lovely crackly top that's usually associated with molasses cookies (which is what one coworker thought they were, initially).

I was definitely taken back to a much simpler time when I ate these... a time when I'd be dropped off at my Nonna's house in the morning, fed a delicious Nutella and peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and then walked to afternoon Kindergarten by my uncle Peter (who was in seventh grade at the time.  Crazy!).  The PB & N flavours in this cookie take me right back to her 70s table, next to the stove, looking across the table at a much younger Ni while Nonna fixed us a meal.  She's the most amazing woman, and my inspiration for how to live life at 76 years old.  I've been missing her a lot since moving, but I know she's doing well, with a social life far more active than mine!

Dunking these in milk and wondering how much Canada Post would charge to ship a few to Nonna,

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