Last week, a male reader questioned a slang word in one of my posts – “mansplaining.” He hadn’t heard the term. Merriam-Webster describes mansplaining as, “what occurs when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he’s talking to does.”
Some men consider the term to be a sexist Feminist word describing a non-existent phenomenon. I am here to assure my male readers that mansplaining exists. I’m not asserting that women don’t do something similar to men or that men and women don’t do it to each other – but mansplaining is a specific type of behavior perpetrated by men that, at one time or another, most women have experienced.
The larger category of behavior would be categorized (for men and women) as “talking out of your ass.” Example: A childless woman, who has changed exactly 3 diapers in her life, telling a parent of 5 children the best way to change a diaper = talking out of her ass. Within the larger “talking out of your ass” category is the subset “Mansplaining.” It’s real, it happens…trust me on this. My ultimate mansplaining story:
A male friend tried to “educate” me on what it’s like to have a menstrual cycle. Yep – I. Swear. To. God. Kudos to him for reading one article about the female body. High five for learning words like “follicular phase” and “luteal phase,” however, knowing the words doesn’t mean he will ever understand what it’s actually like to have a cycle until he’s experienced – oh, I dunno, 12 a year for 30+ years.
I’d never be so bold as to tell him what it’s like to have an erection – no matter how many articles I’ve read or how close I’ve…ehem… been to the experience.
Not all men mansplain. How do you know if you’re a mansplainer? If a woman responds to your explanation with, “You DO realized I have a degree in (fill in subject here)” [and you don’t] or “Were you aware (fill in subject here) has been my CAREER for the past 10 years” [and it’s not your career] or even a “I’m familiar with (fill in subject here) since I’ve been doing it since I was 12.” [and you’ve only read about doing it], then…you are a mansplainer. But there’s hope – the first step is admitting it.
This recipe is an ode to non- or recovering mansplainers in my life. You deserve a cookie – a rock-star of a cookie like these Compost Cookies.
All my favorite cookie flavors – plus some surprises – packed into this version of Momofuku’s famous cookie.
1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup mini chocolate chips
½ cup toffee bits
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup Graham Crust (see below)
⅓ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 ½ teaspoons ground coffee (not instant)
2 cups kettle potato chips
1 cup pretzel thins, roughly broken or mini pretzels
In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
Combine the butter, sugars and corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.
the speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Add the chocolate chips, toffee bits, sliced almonds, shredded coconut, graham crust, oats and coffee, and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Fold in the potato chips and pretzels. Don’t overmix – try to keep the potato chips in large chunks.
Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Slightly flatten the tops of the cookie dough domes. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature—they will not bake properly.
Heat the oven to 375°. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage.
A fancy version of a graham cracker crust. You can use your own version for the recipe above if you prefer.
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup powdered milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup heavy cream
Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.
Whisk the melted butter and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute.
Eat immediately, or deploy as directed in a recipe. The crust is easiest to mold just after mixing. Stored in an airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.
When I started back to work in late February, I’d awake at 6:00 a.m., make myself a frothy cappuccino, warm a homemade muffin and spend the next 45 minutes leisurely reading the news while curled up on the couch, sipping coffee and nibbling baked goods.
Alas, that morning tranquility didn’t last.
These days, you’ll find me dragging myself from bed closer to 6:45 a.m., gulping down an espresso with a splash of milk, racing to work, and grabbing a prepackaged Lärabar for breakfast.
Lärabars are my energy bars of choice because they’re made with real, simple, non GMO ingredients. Sure, they may have a few more calories that some “thin” bars and less protein than others with 20 grams of whey, but they’re real food – made with a handful of familiar ingredients.
This weekend, I realized that real ingredients meant I could make them myself – and choose my own flavors, my own handful of ingredients; make my own breakfast again – even if it isn’t a warm, baked muffin.
Commercial Blueberry Muffin Lärabars aren’t made with lemon zest or cinnamon – those are my addition, just like my real blueberry muffin recipe.
Homemade energy bars packed full of flavors and simple, healthy ingredients.
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup packed dried blueberries
1 cup packed dried apples
½ cup packed pitted whole dates
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Line an 8×8” cake pan with wax paper including an overhang. Place the cashews in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped and resembling breadcrumbs. Add blueberries, apples, dates, zest, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Process until the fruit is finely chopped and the mixture begins to clump together.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place additional wax paper atop the mixture and use it to flatten evenly in the pan. Leave the wax paper in place and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
Flip the pan over onto a cutting board, remove the pan and the wax paper. Cut into eight 4”x2” bars. Tightly wrap each bar in plastic wrap. The bars will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
It’s 9:00 p.m. on a quiet Wednesday night. The dishes are drying in the sink, the floors have been swept and there’s nothing but re-runs on television. My mind begins pondering other things…naughty things. I switch on my iPad and begin surfing Google images. After a few attempts, I hit the jackpot. My iPad and I make our way into the other room. I adjust the lights, setting the mood, slip into something more comfortable and then…
I preheat the oven to 350 degrees, un-nest my mixing bowls and get right to it. Carrot Apple Oat Muffins – oh yes, baby, YES! What did you think I was talking about?
At the point I added cream cheese frosting, I think these stopped being muffins and moved into cupcake territory.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Quaker oats
¾ cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
2 Granny Smith Apples, grated
2 carrots, grated
½ cup currants, softened in boiling water
2 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup molasses
½ teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin or use papers. Combine flour, oats, , sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Add apples, carrots and currants and stir until they are coated in flour. Beat together eggs, buttermilk, oil, molasses and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and combine thoroughly. Do not over-mix.
Fill each muffin cup ¾ full. Baked for 15-20 minutes and until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack until cooled completely.
To gild the lily: Frost cooled muffins with cream cheese frosting.
“That one should be disqualified – that’s not salsa. It’s good, but it’s not salsa,” He whispered while pointing to her Tupperware container.
In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, her office was holding their annual salsa-making competition. Never one to go the traditional route, she had decided on a Tropical Fruit Salsa – a twist on the same ol’ tomato, onion, and chilies. She knew her flavor combinations weren’t for Everyman – and now there was “controversy” over whether her tropical fruit version was actually even salsa.
She smiled to herself – always seeming to end up in some sort of controversy. She knew it was good, even thrown together in 20 minutes the night before – even if most of them didn’t “get” it. Hers was only Tupperware actually empty at the end.
She unlocks her front door, kicks and stretches her way out of her work clothes and bra, throws on yoga pants and a tank and stumbles barefoot into the kitchen.
A bad day, she knows, requires a balm – one made from the holy trinity of butter, sugar and flour…something quick, that doesn’t require a cookbook, that’s single-girl serving sized. Something to soothe.
She’s perfected just that sort of recipe. She calls it her personal pound cake – It’s 1/8th of a standard recipe, just enough for one person; enough to palliate without overdosing. One bowl and five ingredients comprise the basic cake; the perfect canvas for improvisation. From there, she can add berries, almonds or lemon zest. She can soak it in rose syrup or blanket it with cream cheese frosting. She can use it as a base for scoops of chocolate ice-cream or warm peach compote – personalizing it to target whatever ails her.
Tonight, and more nights than she’d like to admit, this is her medicine. Others mix up a drink, she whisks up one of these.
This recipe requires a 3”x5” mini loaf pan. I use the disposable aluminum ones available at most grocery stores for quick clean up. A kitchen scale makes quick work of measuring ingredients. The trick with this recipe is to personalize it with your favorite add-ins.
2 oz. (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 oz. sugar
1 large egg
2 oz. flour
add-ins of your choice
Preheat oven to 350⁰ F. Whisk together butter and sugar (If your butter isn’t softened and you’re impatient, soften it in the microwave, keeping a close eye on it so it doesn’t melt).
Whisk in egg and salt. (I add a pinch of flour at this point to help avoid separation that can happen when adding egg to butter).
Stir in flour. Add your flavors of choice and spoon into loaf pan (no pan greasing or flouring required).
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan, slice and indulge.
Honeyed-Walnut Variation: In a small pan over medium-high heat, combine 4 Tablespoons of chopped walnuts and 2 Tablespoons honey. Cook until nuts are toasted and honey is thick and bubbly. Cool and add to batter. Candied Orange Variation: At the time you add the egg , add 1 Tablespoon Orange Flower Water. After stirring in the flour, stir in 2 Tablespoons chopped candied orange peel.