Lately I've been avoiding writing by reading books about not avoiding writing. Most recently, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. Oh stop it, I can hear you laughing through the screen. The irony's not lost on me.
Working my way through the book (it's a quick read if you're looking for a procrastination tool of your own), I kept flipping back to one part:
"Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you're feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there's tremendous love there too. If you didn't love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn't feel anything. The opposite of love isn't hate; it's indifference.
The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested
art/project/enterprise is to you—and the more gratification you will
feel when you finally do it."
I'm still mulling that one over. Don't we avoid doing some things that terrify us because we don't actually want to do them? Food for thought, in any case. And, while we're at it, here's some food for eating too.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Candied Walnuts
These cookies are thin with crispy edges and chewy centres—perfect for dipping. If you don't want to bake all of the cookies right away, chill the unbaked balls of dough briefly in the freezer before storing them in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Bake as normal, adding a few minutes to the baking time to compensate for the chilly start.
140 grams walnuts
100 grams white sugar
40 grams water
A sprinkle of fleur de sel
125 grams all-purpose flour
125 grams quick oats
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
140 grams salted butter, at room temperature
140 grams brown sugar
115 grams white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140 grams of dark chocolate chips
Candied walnuts (from above)
Begin by toasting and candying the walnuts. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degree Fahrenheit). Spread the walnuts out on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Check them often near the end because burnt walnuts are seriously the worst. Set them aside to cool while you combine the white sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed skillet. (At this point, you'll want to chop your nuts as finely as you'd like them to be in your cookies.) Now stir in the nuts and cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
After a few minutes, the sugar will start to crystallize. Lower the heat slightly and keep stirring, doing your best to coat the nuts with any syrup that's pooling at the bottom. When the syrup begins to take on an amber shade, sprinkle the nuts with a generous pinch of fleur de sel and then dump them onto a baking sheet to cool.
OK, cookie time. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda and baking powder. In a second medium-sized bowl, beat the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. Add the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Last but not least, stir in the chocolate chips and candied walnuts.
Reheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degree Fahrenheit) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a small scoop (no. 30 size) to measure out equal portions, leaving lots of room for the cookies to spread. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cookies are dark golden brown. Let them cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Yields about 2 dozen cookies.
Sources + Inspiration: I used David Lebovitz's recipe for Candied Peanuts, halving and amounts and substituting toasted walnuts for the peanuts. The cookie recipe is my oatmeal riff on this Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe published in The New York Times, although admittedly it bears little resemblance to the original in either taste or texture.