Halloween has never been my favorite holiday since I don’t like vampires, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and adults in costumes that amount to the public declaration of a sexual fetish (zombie firefighters in devil horns? Yup, me too). And yet, the holiday has its charms.
In years past, I have beheld my children dressed as: a Feagle, Merida, Princess Leia, A Few of My Favorite Things, (this costume included raindrops on roses, warm woolen mittens, and the like) a ladybug, the weather channel, an autumnal goddess, A Nightmare Dressed Like a Daydream, Anni-Frid Lyngstad from ABBA, The Dread Pirate Roberts, a bumblebee, and the occasional witch thrown in. Each year I am grateful for their innovation, high spirits and willing post trick-or-treat surrender of all taffy (it sticks in teeth). Despite the holiday’s ambient creepiness and dangers to tooth enamel, I get a chance to appreciate my frisky daughters anew, from my perch in a staid, uncostumed adulthood.
I would love to say all that changed this year and I finally got myself kitted out as Poison Ivy, the villain I think I could really warm to. I’ve said I’d do it for so many years that now, on the cusp of my 50th, I would have no choice but to be Poison Ivy Senior (You think the daughter’s nasty? Just wait…).
I told my friend Samantha that I was going to tie candy in the trees in our front yard so children could pick it like fruit. It seemed like a wholesome farm-to-table activity.
In the end I could not find any twine, it was getting dark, and it was time to listen to War of the Worlds, performed by the drama students of Olympia High School. Invading Martians wait for no woman, so I settled for chumming the sidewalk in front of my house with mini Twix, assuming these could be harvested like windfall apples. I made a trail of them leading up to my front door where I lit a skull candle. My youngest – impressed – pronounced this: “not lame.” I may not be fun, but I’m not not fun.
Though my husband and I have been notoriously dull on holidays where my daughters long for festivity, we used to do well on Halloween by hosting a dinner before trick or treating. But since indoor events are not feasible this year, the day was shaping up to be added to our list of holiday crimes against fun. But thankfully, my oldest took a breather from writing college essays and threw together a Chicks (formerly Dixie) costume to watch a movie with a friend. My youngest retreated to her friend’s grandmother’s farm where she enjoyed a bonfire, slept outdoors, and took part in a seance.
From my night of listening to Martians invade the U.S., (don’t worry, they’ve since lost interest in us because of our galaxy-wide reputation for xenophobia) I descended into Election Day. Now that is spooky; talk about a hair-raising parade of tarted up zombies. Four years from now, when we suffer through the torments of the damned again on election night, I will not go into it without a coping dessert. We didn’t have one on Tuesday and it was a mistake.
So the next day, I made cookies. I’ll be darned if I could find anyone to put me in a medically-induced mercy coma, so if I had to be conscious for this week of counting, I needed a delicious distraction. Warning: these are fantastic.*
Post-Election Day Blues Cookies
1 cube unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup flour (I prefer whole wheat pastry flour)
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cherries
approximately 1/3 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (amount depends on how chocolatey you like your cookies)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat butter and sugars together for about 30 seconds. Beat in the egg until smooth. With mixer running, drizzle in the maple syrup, vanilla and almond extracts.
Mix flour, oats, coconut, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then gradually add this mixture in with the mixer on low. Blend just to combine, then mix in the cherries and chocolate chips.
I like to chill the dough for at least an hour and then use a cookie scoop to portion the dough onto a baking sheet. Bake these for about 10 minutes until the cookies are just lightly browned on top. As ever, cooking time will vary with the whims of your oven. With a muffin dough scoop this makes 16, but who’s counting?
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