Dearly beloved: we are gathered here today to explain that most things in life are simple, including women (and sometimes even baking).
You probably have seen a version of this picture somewhere. Or you have heard a saying or rhyme or joke that boils down to the same thing. Women are so complicated. The thing is, save a few exceptions (you know who you are), women are not complicated. Actually, women are quite simple. We make it easy when we want something to work. Very easy. Too easy. Forget the nuances and intricacies you thought to be true true. Forget all the imaginary complicated buttons. Forget the on and off button. No- there is ONE button. Only one. You don't need to push it up and down. You don't need to press it in and out. It is easier than that. A touch screen. A sensitive one. Gently tap. Blow on it and it will work. Breathe on its general direction, it is so easy.
Every time I get to spend some time with my friend (let's call her) Bonnie, I get this one familiar feeling. I nod my head constantly, I reiterate her feelings, I relive the frustration that most women go through at least in the early part of a relationship. Bonnie has been dating Clyde for a little while. She loves him. For now, Bonnie and Clyde are doing the long distance thing and, regardless of how one feels about that, she wants the relationship to work. He appears to want the same thing. Bonnie has one button, the easy button, but somehow Clyde fails to push it. He tries all kinds of other tricks, other non-functioning buttons, other distracting decorative buttons although she points the only one button that needs a push. Please Clyde, for the love of God, push the button.
I found a baking button even I can push -- an easy flourless one with no yeast, no baking powder, baking soda, gelatin, and other evil distractions. I found my easy baking button and I shall push in over and over. I found it among the other distractions, among trying too hard, among wanting to complicate uncomplicated things. My easy baking button is these Hazelnut Meringues - I am in love and our relationship is great.
Hazelnut Meringue Cookies
Ingredients: 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted; 4 large egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks; 1 cup sugar; 1/2 teaspoon fine salt; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Chop the hazelnuts really well, but not as fine as a food processor would. Combine with half of the sugar.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Add other half of the sugar and combine until stiff again in the mixer. Fold the nut and sugar mixture into the egg batter. Add the vanilla and gently mix it in.
Spoon the batter on the parchment-paper lined sheets in rows about two inches apart. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown, rotating the pans half way through the process. Let it cool for about 5 minutes on the sheet. Enjoy and keep it simple.
Photography by Jennifer Olson.