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November 28, 2013

Gluten-free Gratitude Cookies (Lessons from a Failed Recipe).

“Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.”

~ Neil Gaiman

I had a playful plan for sharing gratitude.

I’d whip up a beautiful batch of gluten-free gratitude (fortune) cookies to bring to my family’s Thanksgiving gathering.

The cookies would have that crisp glow like the ones on the web page where I found the recipe.

I imagined showing up with a basketful of cookies that had slips of paper on which I elegantly wrote humorous words of gratitude for my loved ones.

Slips with “It’s okay to wake up laughing” or “I love the way you burp the word, ‘yes.'”

I love being foolish about giving.

Some may think that I am too open with giving love. The joy in another’s eyes when they receive a gift is delightful for me.

I try to give without expectations for a return gift (it’s an on-going lesson for me—sometimes I’d like to be on the receiving side). Yet I am a fool.

I am the clown in my family; my list of tricks is long with moments like pouring salt in the sugar bowl, so my sister would sprinkle it on her cereal.

So I slip a little bit of April Fool’s jokes into every holiday.

I had a plan to bring delight for my family, especially the batch of an adult version of gratitude jokes for the cookies, but all good plans change. I swear that my cooking skills are outstanding (especially my cookies) except when it comes to popcorn (I always burn it on the stove) and pancakes (usually burnt with a mushy middle).

Gluten-free gratitude cookies should be quick and easy.

The ingredients were in the cupboard: eggs (or egg beaters), sugar, canola oil, water, and corn starch (organic, non-GMO and GF).

Simple, right?

I whipped up the egg and sugar with the old-fashioned egg beaters while my younger son wrote out words of gratitude. Once the mixture stiffened, I folded in the oil, and then water. Finally, I added the corn starch.

The batter looked the color of a fortune/gratitude cookie.

The recipe said to cook the batter on a griddle, so I used my good old cast iron skillet. I sprinkled a dash of water on the pan. The droplets danced, and then evaporated.

After pouring a circle of batter on the skillet, I planned to wait the 5-8 minutes for cooking as explained in the recipe. Yet a few minutes later, I noticed the edges beginning to burn. No! I tried to flip it, but it turned into a burnt slush that I shoveled into the sink.

“Mom, what’s that smell? It stinks.” My son called from the other room.

“Gratitude,” I yelled back. Or the smell of failure.

I turned off the pan to let it cool a bit before trying again. Pulling out a scrap of paper, I sketched a poppy, thinking about my failures this year.

Could I be grateful for them? Certainly, I didn’t want to believe that all the mishaps of this year were necessary: one of them was the worst injustice that I had ever experienced while others were delightful hiccups that metamorphosed into a new path for me, yet I am a fool, so I look for the gratitude in the failure.

I turned the flame on under the skillet again. Flames flickering not so high this time. I stirred the batter, poured a little olive oil in the pan, and then a circle of batter.

I watched the edges darken, and bubbles popped in the center, a sign of thickening. I flipped it.

Brown, but not burnt. A golden glow gluten-free gratitude cookie was not part of my immediate future.

I turned off the flame, and slid the cookie onto a plate.

I scribbled, “Grateful for other’s cooking” on a scrap of paper.

I placed my gratitude in middle of the cookie, and folded up the edges, so my attempt at gluten-free gratitude cookies turned into a joke (on myself). Albeit, a sweet one, I decided after tasting the cookie.

I guess my family will get a basket of dirt-colored gluten-free gratitude cookies after all.

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo Credit: Flickr

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