I'll keep this brief, because it's cold outside. The window of the living room is ajar and the gusts of air are icy. My wool blanket is helping. (So is the glass of prosecco.) But my bed upstairs is no doubt warmer, and I'll cozily tuck the edges of the comforter around my sock-clad feet.
Today feels like a strange time warp. Can it really be a matter of hours since I woke up in Toronto? In an entirely different country? I set my alarm, took a scalding hot shower, and dressed quickly in a flannel shirt. I stepped outside to grab a cab to the airport and the street was empty: no cars or activity in the early morning mist. I boarded a plane with a mere 13 other people! (But first, I luxuriated in the plush leather armchairs of the airport lounge, drinking a tiny mug of steaming English breakfast tea and nibbling on a little ceramic ramekin of nutty granola. Porter Airlines really does it right when it comes to complimentary airport snacks. Just between us, I always stash at least three packs of their stem ginger cookies in my bag for the plane.)
But now I'm home. I'm recalibrating myself to the comforts of my own space, my own bed, my own kitchen.
Although I love being here, I'm already so ready for the comforts of Thursday (turkey, sisters, chubby niece, the farm, and feeling like I'm in the one place that's right above all others, and where I'm most me).
And, I'm still cataloguing the pleasures of the weekend, notably lunch at my very favorite dim sum restaurant, Kwan in Toronto, which is the most zen, calm, and cozy spot. In the winter, the windows steam with the heat from inside; everyone sips tiny cups of black tea that arrive without warning on your table when you sit.
You order from a menu by checking off anything that looks good with a pen, indicating the number of dishes you want. We always get the same things: one order of fluffy BBQ pork buns, two orders of har gow (steamed shrimp and bamboo shoot dumplings), one order of steamed veggie dumplings, one order of mushroom dumplings, and hot and sour soup all around.
More small pleasures: sitting on the couch in front of a roaring fire, my feet propped up on the coffee table, paging through Canadian House & Home magazine. The crisp, clean white bedroom I slept in, the champagne toasts on Saturday night at our (rather belated) engagement dinner, the doughnuts for dessert, the infusion of meeting new and lovely people all night.
Watching three episodes of Project Runway, Season 16 on the plane (damn! Those people can sew! Also Tim Gunn is the ultimate in cute.) The scent and warmth of clean laundry and organizing my entire apartment for the week. Perfectly made cappuccinos with stiff peaks of white, creamy foam. And, most importantly, remembering that I saved some chocolate cookies from last week. I adore this recipe, which conveniently happens to taste incredibly rich but leaves you feeling not a bit full since they're practically flourless.
If you need a dessert to round out the Thanksgiving table, start here!
Chocolate Truffle Cookies
Makes about 15 cookies
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet chocolate), divided into 1 1/2 cups and 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, for enhanced chocolate flavor)
3 tablespoons flaky sea salt
In a double boiler, melt together 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate with the butter. Set aside.
Beat together the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture, beating as you add.
Add the vanilla to the egg/chocolate mixture and mix well.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder (if using) and mix thoroughly.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate (if the batter is still rather warm from the chocolate, let it cool until it's warm but not hot before adding the chocolate so that it doesn't melt the additional chocolate), and stir to combine.
Chill the batter for 10-15 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 350°F. Don't skip this step! It's too hard to scoop unless it's chilled!
Using a spoon or scoop, scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of the batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle liberally with flaky sea salt, and bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove the cookies as soon as they start to look dry on the top and develop cracks—do not overbake!! They will still look a bit too soft; that's okay.
Remove from the oven and let cool.