Last August, exactly one year ago, Juan received the invitation to participate in the fall internship program at the Organization of the American States. That August was a hectic one, with Juan and I thick in the midst of making preparations for our re-location from Buenos Aires to Washington, DC, frantically trying to get administrative and visa stuff settled for our move.
We were finally going to move to another city in a different country and build a brand new life. Looking at the things in our apartment in the Las Cañitas neighborhood, where we’d lived for the past two years, it almost felt impossible to pack all our stuff into the luggage we were allowed to bring on board the airplane.
I remember spending days packing, trying to sort out clothes into three different piles – one to throw away; the next one to give away; and the final one to bring away with me.
When I was finally done with my clothes, I did the same inventory organization with my bags, shoes, books and kitchen tools.
The days leading up to our flight were filled with driving from our apartment to his mum’s, as we shifted bags filled with stuff we wouldn’t be taking along with us.
Up till the Saturday that we flew, we kept giving away stuff, throwing things away, packing, then re-packing and re-packing again.
By the time we eventually arrived at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Ezeiza that evening, we were exhausted. Next to each of us were two large suitcases and a hand-carry bag. Miraculously, we’d managed to reduce our belongings to just the bare essentials that we would need for the next four months.
At that point, I realised that I didn’t need that many things to survive – just some clothes, shoes, money, my kindle, my camera, my laptop and my cellphone. With just these items, home could be anywhere in the world.
A year later, we’re now back in Buenos Aires, although in a completely different neighborhood and a new rented apartment. I’m sitting at our dining table next to the balcony, and on the whitewashed wall in front of me hangs the painting I made three years ago.
It’s a simple painting in hues of orange and red, with the phrase “home is where the heart is” inscribed in the middle. I’d painted it on a blank canvas in December in 2013, when we’d just moved from Juan’s mum’s place to our Las Cañitas apartment. It was a reminder that no matter where I went, there home would always be.
I’ve found that to be true in the past 8 years – during which I’ve packed up and moved more than I’d ever done previously.
As long as I’ve got a warm bed to sleep in, an apartment to call my own (even if it’s rented), and a kitchen where I can cook to my heart’s content, I’m a happy girl.
And that is home for me.
I wanted to share these cashew butter chocolate chunk cookies with you today. I’d made them last weekend as it rained non-stopped on Sunday afternoon – partly because I was craving the sweetness of chocolate and the chewy bite of a cookie after seeing this recipe on Detoxinista.
There are fewer things that can make me feel quite at home as the smell of fresh cookies baking in the kitchen, the warmth emanating from the oven door, or the taste of melted chocolate in your mouth. Both cooking and eating are extremely sensory experiences, and if you love to cook and eat, you’ll understand me when I tell you that there is rarely a home as comforting as one that is filled with homemade food – or in this case, cookies.
Here’s how you can make yours today.
You can either use storebought cashew butter, or make your own.
Cashew butter is both hard to find and expensive in Argentina, so I’ve opted for the latter, since making your own cashew butter is just a matter of minutes with the help of a good electric blender or food processor.
If you choose to make your own cashew butter, soak your cashews in hot water for at least 15 minutes before using them to reduce the level of phytic acid.
I chose to use roasted unsalted cashews this time, but you can always use raw cashews – just note that the color will be paler, and the taste may be less flavorful.
Once the cashews have been soaked, place them in your blender or food processor together with some filtered water and melted coconut oil, and then blend well until you get a thick and creamy cashew butter.
Note that this will take a few minutes, so be patient, and scrape down the sides of your blender or food processor as needed.
Combine the cashew butter, sugar, flax eggs, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix well until you get a homogeneous dough.
Fold in the chocolate chunks until they are evenly distributed, then drop the cookie dough by rounded tablespoons on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, before flattening the dough slightly with a spatula (the cookies will only spread very slightly).
Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) for 25 to 30 minutes, until cookies are firm on top. All that’s left to do is to wait as patiently as you can while the cookies cool completely (since they will continue cooking on the inside even after you remove them from the oven) before you bite into them!
These cashew butter chocolate chunk cookies are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and overflowing with dark chocolate chunks. Amazingly delicious and worth every bite.
Now how about you get up from the computer and go make a batch of these cookies right now? Then when you’re done eating them, comment and tell you how much you loved them!
- Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. Fahrenheit (180 deg. Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat
- Place the cashews in a large bowl filled with hot water. Allow the cashews to soak for 15 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, prepare the flax eggs but combining the flaxseed meal and water together, mix well, and let stand for 15 minutes.
- When cashews are done soaking, place soaked cashews in the bowl of your food processor or electric blender, together with water and melted coconut oil, and process until you get around 2 cups of thick but creamy cashew butter. (This may take at least five minutes and you may need to scrape down the sides of your food processor or blender as necessary.)
- In a large bowl, combine the cashew butter, sugar, flax eggs, baking powder and salt, and mix well until you get a homogeneous cookie dough.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chunks until they are evenly distributed.
- Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet and gently flatten dough down with a spatula (the cookies will only spread very slightly).
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until cookies are firm on the top.
- Allow cookies to cool completely (around 20 minutes) before eating as they will continue to cook on the inside even after you remove them from the oven.