A pound of dirt before you die

As I was walking through the park the other day I noticed a little boy enjoying the hell out of a great big chocolate chip cookie. He was sitting on a bench next to his mother, a mouth full of cookie and a look of cookie-induced bliss on his face. To him the secret to happiness was that cookie. Then he accidentally dropped it on the bench. For a second, JUST a second. As he reached down to pick it up and take another bite, the air was pierced with a shrill “NOOOO JONATHAN!!…PUT THAT COOKIE DOWN! IT’S DIRTYYYYY!!!” You’d have thought someone had dipped the offending cookie in a vat of toxic waste! Obviously mommy does not subscribe to the 10-second rule. Poor Jonathan… Gone was a perfectly fine cookie, gone was the aura of delight. Had it been me, I would have picked up the cookie, blown on it, added another layer of safety by kissing it up to God, and given it back to its owner for his next happy bite. I may have even taken a bite…you know, to see if it was OK. Instead, his mom grabbed the offending thing and tossed it in the trash. She obviously didn’t know you have to eat a pound of dirt before you die. Whatever happened to that philosophy, and when was it replaced with the gallon jug of hand sanitizer? Surely a second or two on a bench didn’t irrevocably contaminate that cookie. And if anything was swift enough to hitch a ride on the cookie train, it couldn’t be any worse than what had already attached itself to Jonathan at school that day. I am a subscriber to the pound of dirt before you die policy (with its 10-second-rule rider). Had little Jonathan eaten that whole cookie, his tiny immune system would have happily thanked him by making more germ-fighting guys. The germs teach your body quite nicely how to defend against them. It’s like the mess can actually makes you mightier!

Sometimes I think I have to metaphorically swallow that dirt pound too. Life is messy, it’s supposed to be. It’s certainly more interesting when it is, possibly more fun too. And I learn from the mess….usually.  Of course I could do with a little less of it at times, but I think I’ve signed up for a total package plan.  The amount I’ve gotten is the amount I’m supposed to have. What would be the point of thinking otherwise? It’s not as if I can go backwards and tidy up a bit. If I could, then my chocolate chip cookie would be gone too, and a really good cookie is a terrible thing to waste.

I created these cookies the other day to send to my nephew at college. Its origins came from a recipe I made years ago for his birthday, found on the back of an oatmeal box lid. Today I started to mess around with it a bit. Well, quite a lot actually.The result could certainly be considered the cookie equivalent of the ‘garbage can pizza’. And they will give you that cookie-bliss face quite nicely…

Garbage can cookies

This is a very adaptable recipe. If you like other nuts, dried fruit or chips, feel free to substitute or add them in.

Makes about 30 cookies

  • ½ stick butter, softened
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 TBSP cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½  cup honey roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup dried cherries, roughly chopped, or 1/2 cup peanut butter chips (or a little of both!)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and soda. Add the chopped peanuts and mix well. Set aside.

Beat together the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until fluffy. Add in the vanilla and eggs and beat until incorporated. Add in the flour peanut mixture and mix until incorporated. Add in the oats and mix, then the chocolate chips and dried cherries or peanut butter chips.

Take 2 TBSP portions of the dough and form into balls like you would if you were making meatballs (about the size of ping-pong balls). Put on the cookie sheets and use the heel of your hand to press down evenly to make cookies about 2 ½-3 inches round.  Give them a little room  – they spread out a bit. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cool on a rack. These guys are will be a little crisp on the outside and soft in the middle…just how I like em’! Calories – approximately 150 per cookie.

This post first appeared on Technorati at http://technorati.com/women/article/a-pound-of-dirt-before-you/


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