Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Candied Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

What do you do when you're stressed out or anxious? I feel like I never owned up to the fact that I get anxiety until this past year. I am a social person, I can talk to anyone, and I have a lot of confidence. Wow- that sentence sounded terribly conceited! I guess the point is that because I never struggled with a lot of typical things (nervousness about tests or new situations, etc), I thought I never would. News flash: the world will present post-high school Larissa with tons of new, awkward, and scary situations. This will only become way worse when applying to medical school (aka the most anxiety-ridden and drawn-out process on the face of this Earth). The first time I owned up to my anxiety was regarding the MCAT. It's like a mythical beast with endless tricks up its sleeve, and it beat me down so many times. But after admitting that I may have anxiety issues and addressing them in a proper way, I came out on top. Just owning up to that was one of the hardest things I have ever done. 

This whole year has been a lot of sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-and-wait. I'm done with grad school, I'm trying to stay true to myself and do things I enjoy, but I also feel like I'm constantly planning for the future. So much so that I am not enjoying the present very much. I know a lot of people feel this way, but being unsure about what I will be doing in 6 months is completely overwhelming. I try to take it lightly and be thankful for my situation because it could be way worse. But no amount of controlling the other aspects of life (cleaning the house, bathing the dog, running tons of miles, etc) can make me feel any better, for long term anyways. It also probably doesn't help that I am a completely schedule-driven person and plan every single thing out, possibly to a fault. However, I made an amazing event planner when I used to do that! 

Anyways, I had a massive interview coming up. Like, life-changing ability interview. I had my questions rehearsed, my outfit perfect and pressed, and my mind constantly reminding me to not twirl my hair (a bad habit I have literally had since birth). But, I still had a whole day before this interview and not much to fill my time/the space in my mind between freak outs. So, I decided to go with a couple remedies to calm myself: baking and working out. I whipped up these cookies to keep my mind occupied (and because I am terrible at sitting still) and then went to the gym and sweat buckets on the stair master while they were cooling so that I could come home and indulge. I still had one nightmare before the interview and my heart was pounding the entire time, but at least I got through it. Now I just have to hurry up and wait some more...

Need to distract yourself or calm down? Baking or creating something that boosts my self-esteem and then tiring out my body are my best remedies. Oh yeah, and lots of deep breaths. 

Candied Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt 
makes 16 cookies

1 cup & 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
7 oz dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces
1/3 cup candied ginger, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars.
3. Add the vanilla and the egg. Mix again. 
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, ground ginger, salt). 
5. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet, beating in between until completely combined.
6. Fold in the chocolate and ginger chunks. 
7. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then drop the dough in rounded balls. 
8. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until just starting to brown. 
9. Let cool before digging in! 

Recipe Adapted from Minimalist Baker 

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