Simplicity.  Simplicity is something I’m learning to appreciate more and more these days.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that I spend $60 a month for internet that runs at the speed of dial-up due to the fact that I can’t get regular broadband up here so I have to use the Verizon option that runs on the strength of your cell phone signal which, trust me, is quite low.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that the morning sun wakes me up at 7 am since there aren’t curtains (yet)–but I’m not sure I even want curtains because I wouldn’t trade the mist covering the poplars for anything.  Or maybe it just has to do with the fact that anything simply but soundly made is far more pleasurable than anything you can buy in a supermarket.  Simplicity–there’s a lot to say about it, but really nothing at all.

I’ve been hinting at this new job for awhile, and I promise I’ll talk about it soon, but for now it needs to wait. One of the tougher aspects is that it’s not a job I can leave at the office and it’s not a job where I really have a day off. And I love that part–I’d rather work every day for 5 or 6 hours a day than the regular 8:30-5 grind. But it gets taxing and this weekend my body said it’d had enough and I had the pleasure of spending my only time off with a three-day-long headache/migraine. Oof. So last night before I collapsed in bed I knew I needed to do something nice for myself–something nice and simple. And while I know that sugar and chocolate and butter substitute might not be the nicest thing to do to one’s body, it’s what I needed mentally in order to kick this thing. Yes, I made chocolate chip cookies.

These aren’t just any kind of chocolate chip cookies, but they are. The ingredients aren’t all that different, just the flours, but this is where the meditation on simplicity comes in. At market on Saturday, Ginger who runs a farm in Catawba and mills her own grain, gave me a bag of rye flour to play around with (I’ll be hopefully making some kickin’ crackers with it next). While I felt a little guilty sneaking some of the grain for something not necessarily work related, I’m justifying it by saying that emotionally and mentally I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the day and into the next without these cookies. Anyways, I digress.

So yes, rye flour. I know, it sounds weird–rye has such an intense rye-ish taste–but trust me, the rye flour made these cookies the best I’ve ever made. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s freshly milled as of last week; maybe it’s the fact that Ginger’s rye is nuttier and produces chewier cookies than regular store-bought rye does–but maybe not (that’s for you to try and see, right?). I can’t guarantee that store-bought rye will make these cookies shine, but it might. As they are right now, they’re chewy and moist and nutty and chocolatey all at once, and they’re exactly what I needed to remind myself of the simple things in life–freshly milled flour, chocolate, the love that goes into locally-sourced food. And we all need some simplicity every now and again.

Chocolate Chip Rye Cookies

adapted from Blue Ridge Baker

3/4 c freshly milled rye flour
3/4 spelt flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) Earth Balance
1 c dark brown sugar
1 ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz bittersweet chocolate cut into 1/8″ pieces

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line baking sheet with parchment.

Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl, set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and Earth Balance on low speed until just blended, about 2 minutes. Add the banana, mixing until just combined. Stir in vanilla.

Add dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until flour is barely combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Form dough into balls about 1.5 ounces each, place on baking sheet 2 inches apart.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the cookies have spread and cracked, the tops are dry and have browned a bit. Cool on baking sheet.

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