I talk a lot on this blog about jobs– looking for jobs, losing jobs, maybe not being so crazy about jobs. But let’s talk for a moment about quitting jobs.
“Quit” is such a bad word; it still conjures up images of softball games from my nonathletic childhood. But in terms of work, it seems so much worse. I can just hear all these judgmental voices in my head saying, “Oh, so you’re just going to quit a job in the middle of a bum economy? And for what– because you just didn’t like it? Too tough for you? Couldn’t take the hard work? Too soft for physical labor?”
Well, you know what? Those judgmental voices don’t know my life. Sometimes you simply know that something isn’t working out for you, and that’s fine. It just happened that in this situation, I had three other jobs I was doing simultaneously, which afforded me the luxury of dropping one. And let’s be real– what kind of crazy person attempts to work four jobs at once?
Well, honestly, I had every intention of doing just that. I handed in my notice in the first place because I was almost certain I had another exciting opportunity coming down the pike. I found out at the last minute–like, the next-to-last day of my two week notice– that it wasn’t going to work out, like so many other exciting opportunities this year. But by that time, I had already decided that one less job might not be such a bad thing anyway. And really, there’s no use wasting energy being depressed about the job that didn’t work out. There are cookies to distract us from that.
These, like other recent kitchen projects, were the result of an ill-advised snack choice. Doesn’t Caramel Crunch Trail Mix sound like such a good idea? I don’t know why, but it just wasn’t working for me on its own. But I could tell right off the bat that it would make for some excellent cookies.
Of course, when I started collecting ingredients, I realized that I didn’t have any brown sugar. This could have been incredibly frustrating, but fortunately, I remembered reading in the Joy the Baker cookbook that you can make your own out of white sugar and molasses. It might seem unlikely that one would have molasses on hand, but not brown sugar, but clearly, it happens.
All it takes is two tablespoons of molasses to one cup of brown sugar. You mix, mix, mix with a fork, and ta-da, it’s fluffy brown sugar!
The trail mix in these cookies is just a simple mix of peanuts, almonds, and mini chocolate caramel cups. I found the trail mix at CVS, but it would be easy enough to assemble your own. I roughly chopped the nuts and left the caramel cups intact. Since there are some big chunks in these cookies, my normal tablespoon measure didn’t seem quite large enough. I just eyeballed the proportions; each cookie was probably about a tablespoon and a half of dough.
Normally, I get really angry when my cookies spread out in the oven. I might have mentioned this before. That’s what happened with these cookies, too, but in this case, I loved the results. They were still chewy and soft in the center, with a little crunch on the edges. See for yourself!
And, naturally, since they included salted nuts, the cookies had the perfect salty hit to complement the sweet chocolate and caramel. If that’s not enough to make you silence the judgy voices, forget your disappointments, and keep on fighting, I don’t know what is.
Caramel Crunch Cookies
adapted from the Modern Baker
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 bag CVS caramel crunch trail mix (or a mixture of 1/4 cup salted peanuts, 1/4 cup salted almonds, and 1/4 cup mini caramel cups)
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Stir the flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
3. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the paddle on medium speed until just mixed, then beat in the egg. [The Modern Baker specifies that overbeating will make the cookies rise and then flatten out during baking.]
4. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and use a large rubber spatula to mix in the flour mixture, then the trail mix.
5. Drop the dough in equally-sized spoonfuls on a baking sheet lined with parchment, leaving space in between to allow for spreading. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until golden.