I don’t always adjust well to change. We remained in our former apartment for over 10 years, even though the allure of it faded 8 years ago. The routine is comfortable and I don’t always like shaking it up.
But shake it up we did, recently buying a house of our own and starting down the path of homeownership by moving in as soon as possible. As in less than an hour after the closing was completed. I had had enough of the apartment and couldn’t wait to be in our own space. It was 95 degrees, early evening, and we had no means to move furniture, but that didn’t deter me—we were spending the first night of ownership in the house.
The first couple of nights on an air mattress in the living room were not exactly comfortable ones. I felt like I was doing a core exercise all night atop a full-body exercise ball. When half the furniture finally came (the rest had to be abandoned til next weekend, thanks to strong thunderstorms), I could finally sleep on a bed again. Except I still haven’t slept because the quiet is too quiet and every little noise stirs me, even the refrigerator simply making ice down the hall. Visions of vermin dance in my head, every noise a validation of my nightmare.
To try to ease along the process of feeling comfortable in my own home, I decided it was finally time to bake. This came with its own concerns. The oven—a 24-inch wall unit—is considerably smaller than what I’m used to. My sheet pan will not fit in it; my baking sheets only just barely make the cut. This is not an avid baker’s ideal tool. On the other hand, with the back problems I’ve had, I can definitely appreciate not having to bend over with hot pans. It’s so easy pushing and pulling pans when you can stand upright! But would it pass the test?
As I preheated the oven, I found some literature left behind by the prior owner. Well, actually it was the prior, prior owner, now-deceased, the house having been a flipped property. The receipt was still attached, indicating the age of the oven to be about 10 years. I assumed it was older, so that was a happy surprise.
It took me a couple tries to get the timer set without turning off the oven but after that, I was golden. It worked just fine! And the cookies? Delicious! A perfect reward for all the hard work we’ve been putting into this move.
I adapted the recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours, which is pretty dog-eared already from all the marking I’ve done of recipes I must try. This one is pretty uncomplicated and shouldn’t take you too long to throw together.
Welcome to the new kitchen! I don’t bake out of a pantry anymore–we’re moving up in the world!
Buttery Jam Cookies
- 8 Tablespoons 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup raw sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tablespoons whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chunky cherry preserves
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth.
- Add the sugar and beat for one minute.
- Add the egg and beat for 2 minutes.
- Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat until just combined. The mixture may look curdled, but that’s okay.
- Add the preserves and beat on low for 1 minute.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just incorporated.
- Stir in the white chocolate.
- Drop by rounded teaspoons, or with a small cookie scoop, onto the baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are firm and just barely browned on the edges.
- Let rest on baking sheet for 1 minute before removing cookies to wire racks to cool completely.