When Nate and I first met I made a very bold statement. I told my then crush (now husband) that a dream job of mine would be to create soundtracks. Not necessarily write music, but to be the person who listens to a bunch of songs and then puts them into movies. I felt like there were so many times that a specific song would be JUST PERFECT for a certain moment in life, and I always seemed to know exactly which song would fit.
It was a bold statement, one that I stood behind fully back in the days when I actually paid attention to music videos and indie rock and up-and-coming artists. You know, back when I had free time and all.
One thing has remained the same throughout the years, though, and that is the fact that any summer soundtrack worth its salt will contain multiple country songs. And not just any song, but the kind that makes you want to roll down your windows, throw on your sunglasses and your best country girl smile, and whiz through town. Even as a mom there are a few songs that I hear once in a while on the radio (because apparently my mixed CDs are now obsolete) that make me feel like that carefree college girl once again. But even better because I have a man and a boy that I love very dearly.
I suppose that’s the great thing about getting older is that those sweet days of freedom and sunshine are permanently etched into the woman I am now, but I also get all the good that comes with the now too. And that will conclude our Deep Thoughts for Monday segment
I made these pavlova cookies the other day and have become a HUGE convert. First you get the pleasure of whipping egg whites into fabulously shiny meringue, then you get to pipe that meringue into cutie pie little disks and then let the oven and time do the rest. Also, I feel like I should confess that I’ve had cacao nibs for a while in our pantry with nary a clue of how to use them. If you’re like me let me tell you: THIS IS HOW YOU USE CACAO NIBS. Add them to a sweet little meringue, which adds the sweetness they lack, and they become these half-crunchy half-slightly softened little bubbles of chocolatey goodness. They add a tiny bit of bitterness to an otherwise very sweet meringue, and I’m absolutely a convert. Whenever I made cookies in the future you can bet I’ll be adding cacao to them, so if you plan on making said future cookies go ahead and invest now. You’ll love it!
So it’s Monday. And we’re all excited about the beginning of a new week SLASH really tired from celebrating the weekend, so let’s get by with some cookies, amen? Enjoy!
CACAO CRUNCH MINI PAVLOVA COOKIES
First off you’ll want to follow Ina Garten’s pavlova recipe. I followed it to the letter and am linking to it here because let’s face it: that’s only ethical. Basically you want to only use the egg whites, salt, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla, then follow her instructions for making the “batter.”
But then you’ll want to add 1/2 cup of cacao nibs, folding them gently into the meringue batter. To pipe I used a plastic pastry bag with the tip cut off about an inch up. Pipe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat in circles that are 2 inches in diameter, going around the edge to create a small lip. Depending on the size of your baking sheet you may have to use two. Do what you have to do.
As per Ina’s instructions bake them at 180 degrees for 90 minutes, then turn off the oven and let them cool completely in the oven. When the pavlovas are cooled gently melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil until smooth, then spoon into the middle. Let them cool for a few minutes in the fridge, then serve! I’ve found that mine keep well in the fridge until just ready to serve; the only thing of note is that the meringue does dry out a bit, but still tastes fantastic!