Because after the Holidays Die Down, you need little Moments of indulgence to look forward to
As I slowly emerge from the foggy-headed and bleary-eyed stupor that is the emotional hangover induced by the conclusion of 'the Holidays' and the jet-lag brought on by a nine hour time change, it dawns on me that we have made the leap into January and the beginnings of a new year. A year full of hope, possibilities, and second chances (or third, fourth and fifth chances, in some cases), is upon us, and the much anticipated, annual 'reset' that somehow makes January 1st rich with a brand of optimism that the end of the previous year could no longer sustain, has begun.
But let's be real, just for a second. All that well-meaning #newyearnewyou, #freshstart and #lookout2017 aside, the middle through the end of January can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. And by a bit, I mean the whole damn amusment park - all six flags.
Though Thanksgiving and Christmas have us stressed out, running around and sneaking whiskey into coffee cups for those moments when family discussions turn from pies to politics (just me? I think not), the stress they induce is eclipsed by an undeniably welcome feeling of anticipation and excitement. No matter what you celebrate, the end of the year gives you something concrete to look forward to, and a finish line to cross.
And yes, the first few days of January find our hearts aflutter with excitement and determination, but come about the 5th of the month, those feelings are often followed by a thundering anti-climax, at which point we realize that the cold was only made warm by the glittering of twinkling ligths and the dulcet tones of Bing Crosby on the radio. (Actually, if I'm honest, for me, Christmas has always played to the tune of Wham's 'Last Christmas', and probably always will. Sorry, Bing.)
January can be a little bleak - especially when you've spent the last few months enjoying some of the best food the year has to offer, only to be met with a feeling of guilt about having eaten it and an abrupt (and decidedly liquid) shift toward all things 'detox.'
Given the extreme turnaround, it's easy to find oneself feeling equal parts hopeful and deflated.
So, particularly during these introductory weeks, it's important to recognize that just because Starbucks has gone back to its very ordinary white cup, devoid of snowflakes, hearts and cheer, doesn't mean you aren't allowed to find moments for indulgence and comfort, in everything from your cup of coffee to your choice of breakfast foods.
No, it's not Christmas, it's Tuesday. Sure, you may well have started your day with a juice promising eternal life and complete detoxification, but you can still end it with a cookie and a cocktail, without all being lost.
The tree may be down, the ornaments may be stowed, but the opportunity for atmosphere, merriment and enjoyment wasn't put away when Bing dropped the mic.
Light some candles, pour yourself a glass of wine, revisit less seasonally specific gems by Wham, and make yourself these chewy, lemon-y almond cookies. No, not because it's a Holiday tradition - just because you want a cookie. (And don't worry, they're gluten and dairy-free, so it's basically like having a juice, anyway.)
Set your oven to 350*F.
Combine the almond flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix well.
Add the agave, lemon zest and vanilla extract, and mix until a homogenous dough forms.
Using your fingers, pinch off bits of dough, about a tablespoon each, and roll them into balls between your palms.
Place the balls unto a lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Using the bottom of a glass, or the like, gently press the cookies into discs. Don't push too hard, as the cookies will split. Once you see that the edges start to splay a little, you're good. Mine were just over a 1/4-of-an-inch thick.
Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, until they're a very pale, golden color, then let them cool completely.
For the glaze, I combined about 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar with about a tablespoon of lemon juice, and mixed them well with a fork. You want a consistency that spreads, but doesn't run off the cookie. Start with a teaspoon of liquid and work your way up, until you're happy with it.
Spoon the glaze onto the cookies, sprinkle them with a little more zest, if you're feeling fancy, and let the glaze set.
These cookies are great right away, but if you keep them in an airtight container overnight, they take on this amazing, super chewy, consistency - almonst like baked marzipan.
Now sit back and enjoy - November and December can't possibly have the monopoly on treating yourself...and January can't be all about fiber. #theresalwaysfebruary