Malcolm’s strawberry surprise cookies

Chocolate covered strawberry cookies

Chocolate covered strawberry cookies

I like most flavors. I love some more than others, obviously, but there aren’t many that I actively dislike. I suppose this is why I’ve always been impatient with picky eaters. I just don’t understand not liking food! And then along came Isaac. He’s hard to feed. I get angry with him sometimes, because he seems to decide he doesn’t like something before he’s even tasted it! He seems to not like something just because I made it! It hurts my feelings! I made something the other day and he liked it at first, but after a few bites he put it down. “How is that possible!?!?” I wanted to yell. But he said, “I like the first flavor, and the middle flavor, but the last flavor is something I don’t like.” And then it struck me that we taste things differently. I suppose this is obvious and I should have known it all along, but I hadn’t really thought about it before. For me, tasting something is an immediate experience, for Isaac it’s a journey. All of those wine labels that mention top notes and bottom notes, which leave me feeling a little perplexed? Isaac would get that, he’d know what they mean. He’s got a complicated taster. I used to joke with David, when we first met, that he was more of a discerning eater because he hadn’t deadened his taste buds by burning them on hot coffee and tea as often as I had, but in truth, I think he’s just got a more complicated taster, and he passed it on to our boys. It’s become a cliché to say that children like bland foods, and to give them plain pasta and plain potatoes and bread, but I don’t think this is true at all. Most of the foods Isaac likes are bursting with flavor: goat cheese and olives and capers. I suppose it’s a question of letting them try everything and decide for themselves what they like, and recognizing that it’s okay if they like different things. I’d like to be able to taste the way Isaac does, to think about the first and middle and the last of it. I’m going to give it a try, to really think about all of the flavors. And this understanding applies to all things. I’ve long thought that one person’s courage is another person’s lack of imagination. It’s not necessarily brave to face fears that you don’t feel or dangers that you’re not aware of because they hadn’t occurred to you. We’re less likely to be impatient with somebody or call them a coward if we understand that they might just have a more complicated and active imagination. We’ve just got to learn to slow down and take that walk with them, and be sure to notice every part of the journey.

Chocolate covered strawberry cookies

Chocolate covered strawberry cookies

Malcolm invented these cookies, and when he was describing them and I wasn’t quite understanding it, he said, “I’ve got a very complicated mind.” He does, and I’m glad of it. And these cookies were delicious. They’re quite large, like little cakes really, and this recipe makes only twelve of them. They’re like giant thumb print cookies, with fresh strawberries hidden under a layer of dark chocolate. They were delicious! We all decided that if we made them again we’d add a little jam or nutella under the strawberry, so the whole thing doesn’t slide out when you bite into it. I melted chocolate chips on top of the cookies and then spread that across them, but you could also melt chocolate separately and spread that over, if that seems easier to you.

Here’s Sugar Never Tasted So Good by the White Stripes

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 t vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

1/2 cup jam or nutella
a handful of ripe strawberries
1 – 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. I used my food processor to mix up the dough, but obviously you could do it by hand in a large bowl. Cream the butter until soft and fluffy. Beat in the sugar and vanilla and then the egg. Add the dry ingredients. You should have quite a stiff dough.

Lightly butter a large baking sheet. Make the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. Flatten it to be maybe 1/2 inch thick, and then make a well in the center about the size of the circumference of a strawberry. It’s like making quite large thumbprint cookies.

Bake for about ten minutes until they’re firm to the touch and just starting to turn golden brown on the bottom. Let them cool.

Clean the strawberries and cut them across to form circles. You want them to be about 1/3 inch thick. You have to eat the tips. I think I got three or four good circles from each berry, but, of course, it depends on the size of them.

Put a little dollop of jam or nutella in each cookie. place a strawberry slice on top. Pile the chocolate chips on top of this.

Return the cookies to the oven for a few minutes until the chips melt. Using a flat knife, spread the chips over the strawberry to reach the cookie on all sides. This is a little bit hard because the chocolate doesn’t want to stick to the strawberry, but if you’re persistent and have enough chocolate on there, you can make it work.

Let cool to set.

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