Listening to certain albums has an uncanny way of tugging me back to the emotional context and chapter in my life in which the tunes first became meaningful to me, and I know that many other folks have similar experiences with music. I had the chance to hear Vampire Weekend playing an outdoor concert in Stanley Park last Saturday, and it was sheer, unadulterated fun. I remember first listening to their eponymous debut album while a close family member was in hospital for a prolonged period. At the time, Vampire Weekend’s music conveyed to me that it was important and valid to continue experiencing joy even in the midst of profound sadness and worry.
While my family member has thankfully become much healthier since then, I still struggle with the coexistence of happiness with, for example, the knowledge of flooding in Pakistan and the severe water pressures that India and Pakistan will face when the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau melt in 20 years. Juxtaposed against this horror, expressing joy almost feels crass. On the other hand, such causes for grief might be even more compelling reasons for a person to nurture well-being in oneself and in one’s community. I hugely admire friends whose sincere expressions of happiness take the form of acts of subversion against scheduled emotional reactions to life’s inevitable blows.
Right, back to cookies and the concert: When the sun had slunk away for the night and the band finally played Oxford Comma, which I suppose some listeners might find offensive, one of my concert-going comrades and I shouted along with the lyrics so loudly that we were both hoarse by the end of the show. I haven’t felt that type of gleefully raspy sensation since the first time I rode a roller coaster, or perhaps since the days when I would scream into the deafening winds on Tofino’s Long Beach. I figure that anything capable of inducing such a response from two individuals (well, one person at least) who are generally much more reserved merits a cookie recipe of this musical namesake. I hope you enjoy it!
- 2 cups spelt flour
- 2.5 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup shredded medium coconut
- 1/2 cup small cashew pieces
- 1/8 cup unbleached white flour
- 1/4 cup coconut
- Brown sugar for sprinkles post-baking (optional)
- 1 cup coconut milk (I had used about half of a can of coconut milk for a tofu stir fry the evening before. Organic almond milk would be a pleasant alternative)
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 5 Tbsp whole flaxseeds
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 3/4 cup brown or turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Powder flaxseeds in a coffee grinder, and empty into a small bowl. While stirring carefully, slowly add hot water to the flaxseeds until they form an eggy, loose paste consistency. Whisk with remaining wet ingredients in a large bowl.
Using a spatula, fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. At this point, the cookie dough will resemble a sun-tanned Jabba the Hut issuing cashew-coloured boils. I promise that it will become more appealing before long.
As in the image above, lightly flour a flat surface and use both hands to gently roll the dough into a log shape. Using a wet knife, slice 1″ sections of dough from the log. Dip each section into the combined “outer coat” of flour and coconut. On a greased cookie sheet, curl each cookie into a rough comma shape.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, consider sprinkling them with a tiny bit of brown sugar just for fun.