About a week ago I was going through a phase of miserable depression. Every day it rained! I began to realise that I had no idea no where my future was taking me. Let me explain. I looked at my life through a timeline starting with kindergarten, then primary school, high school, uni, part time work and finally full time work. Up until now, there was always a plan in life, always a new goal from finishing school to getting a uni degree and now… full time work was the only thing left. It was an extremely depressing thought.
I was stuck in an awful funk… I wouldn’t smile at anything and I observed everything with negative scrutiny. Luckily my parents strongly encouraged me to visit our Buddhist temple during a weekday after work, a 40 min drive away from home. The carer of the temple is a wise man whom my parents have known for over 25 years and has watched me grow up. I wouldn’t call him a monk as he has a head full of hair! – But I would definitely say that he is the one of the wisest people I know.
That night he enlightened me with an old Chinese proverb/tale.
He said that there was once a woman who was miserable ALL the time. She had two sons, one who sold umbrellas and another who sold dried rice noodle. Every sunny day she was depressed that one of her sons would sell no umbrellas and on every wet day she was upset that her other son could not produce dried noodles. The logic was simple. If she could just be happy for her son to sell umbrellas on rainy days and be happy for her other son to produce dried noodle on the sunny days, she could be a happy woman every day.
It made me think about my childish depression and I decided to “observe life in a more positive light and not worry about the future because it hasn’t happened yet!”
To kick start my new approach in life I decided to bake some peanut butter cookies and share them with the people at work. I had three with a warm glass of milk and felt better almost immediately.
Golden Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from 17 and Baking
- 2 cups white flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or soy, or regular)
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (you only need to add the olive oil if your peanut butter is too dry)
- Raw/caster sugar & sea salt/salt for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 175C degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.
Note* if you have a fan forced oven you must lower the temperature 20 degrees from the desired temperature.
Stir the peanut butter, maple syrup, optional olive oil, and vanilla until combined in a large mixing bowl. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt over the top and stir until just combined. If the dough is hard to work with, chill in the fridge or freezer for 15-30 minutes or until easy to shape.
Note* to prevent a too-dense cookie is to avoid over-mixing, which creates gluten. Stir until the dough just comes together, then stop.
Shape into balls (I like to use my hands) and gently flatten with a fork. If the dough sticks, sometimes moistening your fingers or the fork helps. Sprinkle the tops with salt and raw sugar. Bake for 9-11 minutes until set.