New Year, New Skill

Updated: Jan 30

Everything was turned upside down, sideways, and inside out in 2020. It’s no surprise that even my New Year’s Eve was spent in the most unconventional way. While waiting for the clock to turn midnight, I baked cookies!



I’ve been aspiring (and craving) to make Linzer cookies for as long as I can remember. I was intimidated, thinking the recipe would be complicated so I held back. But then I found an easy recipe on Pinterest. Reading through the list of simple ingredients and step-by-step instructions, I was determined to make them.


Truth be told, I already attempted to make them a few days prior. Boy, was that an epic fail! I wasn’t sure if I didn’t make the dough in the right consistency. I could hardly pick up the cookie-cut dough rounds. They would just melt in my hands. In the end, I just shaped them into balls and pressed the middles like thumbprint cookies. Once out of the oven, I filled the centers with a dollop of jam. They tasted yummy but they were sad and ugly-looking cookies.


So back to New Year’s Eve and my strong resolve to get them done right:


First, I put on some uplifting music rendered by the ukulele virtuoso, Jake Shimabukuro. I know I’m jumping around here but let me just quickly tell you about this guy. He is simply incredible! If it weren’t for my brother gifting me with a MasterClass membership, I would have never known about Jake Shimabukuro’s music and inspirational influence. I took his online Masterclass lessons on ukulele playing and I was bowled over. His skillset is obviously way advanced but it was his deep passion— for music and the ukulele— that captivated me. Strumming creates sounds. But when you add enthusiasm and emotion to your strumming, it brings out melodies so sweet that you want to keep playing.


It was late, around 9:00 p.m. when I started in the kitchen. Jake’s beguiling tunes set the tone for my baking endeavor. I felt relaxed but laser-focused. Realizing I’m on a tropical island, I applied a different technique this time. It occurred to me that the humidity level may be contributing to the dough’s very soft texture. Instead of simply chilling the dough in the fridge, I popped it in the freezer for a few minutes. This helped to better set the dough and expedited my cookie-cutting process. It became so much easier to transfer the shaped cookies onto the baking sheet. The task was a bit painstaking but like Jake Shimabukuro taught me, I approached it with tender loving care.



By the time I pulled out the last batch from the oven, it was already 11:45 pm. I was surprised at how time flew by and that I was still, miraculously, wide awake. I was so pleased with my work of art and I admired them while they cooled on the rack. To finish my masterpiece, I dusted each one with confectioner’s sugar. Then I picked up one to taste. As I savored the almond-nutty, buttery shortbread cookie with raspberry filling, my lids gently draped my eyes and I drifted into heaven.


I was immediately brought back by a distant neighbor’s “Woo Hoo!” from outside my kitchen window. "Must be midnight," I smiled. The wafting delicious aroma held me and I slow-danced with my coffee mug. Here’s to learning new skills and discovering new passions. May we all find joy in exploring all that is out of the ordinary. Hello, 2021!



Note:

To make these Linzer cookies, I followed the Easy Almond Linzer Cookie Recipe by Mira. You can find it here.



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