to change

I shall start this post with a recipe courtesy of Bon Appétit.  

Lemon basil cookies 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar plus more for pressing cookies
  • 1/2 cup (1stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Sanding sugar (optional)
  • ingredient info

    Decorative sanding sugar has large, crunchy crystals; available at specialty foods stores and beryls.com.

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Place flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, butter, basil, both zests, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until large, moist clumps form. Measure level tablespoonfuls of dough; roll between your palms to form balls. Place on a large baking sheet, spacing 2″ apart. Lightly dust the bottom of a flat measuring cup with powdered sugar and press cookies into 2″ rounds, dusting cup bottom with powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Sprinkle tops of cookies with sanding sugar, if using.
  • Bake until edges are brown, about 14-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.

Let’s keep that recipe in mind as we continue, okay?  

Change and lemon basil cookies seem like an unlikely pairing, but lemon basil cookies are the perfect analogy for change. 

When you first hear of lemon basil cookies, you are intrigued.  They seem strange, foreign, unlike anything you have ever tasted before. You know that lemons taste good in baked goods, like in lemon-poppy seed bread.  You know that it adds a soft citrus taste.  You are okay with the lemons; you know their flavor; they are predictable.

But then basil joins in.  Why would anyone put an herb in a cookie, you think.  Basil is for cooking, not baking.  You can’t comprehend the blending of these two mediums.  Then you look beyond the title and go deeper into the recipe. 

It’s from Bon Appétit.  That means it is hard.  Bon Appétit has recipes for fancy foods that only professional chefs can make.  You, a simply amateur baker on your best day, are intimidated by the recipe.  So you put it away and pull out a familiar chocolate chip cookie recipe instead.  It’s the one you always make.  It makes decent cookies, edible but not prize-winning.  You aren’t out to win any prizes, so you are okay with the mediocre cookies.  You wouldn’t want to waste your ingredients on the lemon basil cookies anyway.  What if they turn out badly? Your time and ingredients would  have gone to waste on cookies that would just be thrown away.  

You make the chocolate chips, but you always remember those intriguing lemon basil cookies.  Then one day, most likely a Sunday when you are feeling extremely bored, you make the lemon basil cookies.  You take a chance.  You “waste” your ingredients.  You take a risk.  

And it works.  

So that’s the end of my lame, little cookie tale.  

I hope that some readers see how change can be like making lemon basil cookies.  You are scared.  You’re content with what you have now, but you feel like there could be something better.  You finally decide to take a risk-that’s the critical step right there.  The risk is everything, the split second that it takes to say “I want better than this” is when you can actually change.  

So take the risk.  It’s going to be scary in the start.  You are going to wonder if it is worth it.  It is worth it; trust me.  

 

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