Cherry Almond Cookies

Scent Notes: Dark cherries, bittersweet almonds, hot sugar, buttery cookie dough, a warm glass of milk.

For the first time in years, Brenda was excited about Christmas. Not for the usual reasons, however, though she was so excited she couldn’t sleep: She was finally entering her office-wide bake-off. 

Brenda was a natural cook. She was not a natural baker. The exact measuring of ingredients was counter to her instincts. She was far more comfortable with a pinch of this, a sprinkle of that, triple the amount of garlic, and knowing easy things to substitute to consider people’s preferences or allergies. But the logic of cooking didn’t apply to baking. Baking required exactness, precision, and scientific principles. There had been many a time when she added too much or too little baking soda or baking powder (or mixed them up entirely) and her cake turned into a flat disc of rubber, or overflowed and burnt the bottom of her oven. She often just bought desserts, or relied on friends to make them for dinner parties. “Know your strengths,” she’d say when people asked her why she didn’t bake.

This year, however, she was trying something different. For years she had abstained from the bake-off competition, offering herself as a judge instead and making up the difference by bringing several dishes for the Christmas potluck luncheon that occurred on the same day. But not this year. She’d finally found a cookie recipe she couldn’t fail on: cherry almond cookies. It was fantastic, because if she used a little too much cherry, or a little too much almond, or both, nobody seemed to care. The cookies were such a delightful combination of sweet and tart that nobody could resist them. As long as she took a little care with the dry ingredients, the rest was easy. 

Brenda had no qualms that she was competing directly with Linda and her pepper goose or whatever they were called cookies, and that’s exactly why she decided to finally enter the bake-off this year. Linda was Brenda’s best work frenemy. Sure, on the surface they got along fine, but Linda’s constant need to compete and be the absolute best at literally everything she did was beginning to drive Brenda mad. She hadn’t told anyone she was entering the competition this year, and she couldn’t wait to see the look of shock on Linda’s face when she showed up at the office tomorrow with so many trays of delicious cookies. Brenda smiled to herself and ate a cookie; she had plenty left to bake for tomorrow. The cookie was almost as delicious as the look on Linda’s face would be tomorrow. She savored the cookie, and this feeling. In her mind, she’d already won, and she confidently began mixing up the next batch of cookies.

Scent Notes: Dark cherries, bittersweet almonds, hot sugar, buttery cookie dough, a warm glass of milk.