chocolate madeleines


raise your hand if starting a blog was on your list of resolutions for 2019…

how about 2018?  2017?  2016?


both of my hands are raised. at this point i could raise all ten toes. if yours are still down it’s probably just because your thing is something other than writing a blog which i totally get because who honestly resolves to start a blog (which they’ve technically already started several times) in 2019 and also for all the reasons listed below which you’ll get to in a minute.  maybe yours is writing a book or starting a business or a nonprofit or going back to school. all of which the raging idealist in me has resolved to do at some point or another. maybe we’re alike in that yours also means starting down what looks like an impossibly long path you wish you would have started down when you first felt the inkling 9 or so januarys ago and now, years later with no less time on your hands (like you thought you’d have because you learned to manage it so well) and no less fear of the opinion of man (like you really thought you’d be free of) you’re no further (farther?) along in making that dream that’s been whistling on the back burner for far too long a reality.

this blog has been whistling at me for a very. long. time. and for a very long time my sentiment has been that I’ve missed the boat. 

you want to start a blog? how original…
you’re 10 years too late.
no one cares what you have to say.
it’ll never get noticed.
your writing is meh.
your photos are meh.
what authority do you have?
you won’t follow through. don’t start what you won’t do well.
it’s too much work. you don’t have the time.
clients will stop hiring you if they read it.
people will think you’re not taking your career seriously if you start something else.
you’ll get criticized.
you don’t have what it takes.
putting yourself out there is too vulnerable.
people you know will read this and judge you.
everyone else is already doing it better than you will.
you have no idea what you’re doing.

and my personal favorite,

you can’t be open about your faith in this city, in your industry, in this time.

this one little resolution has a lot to contend with. and as if all those lies weren’t enough, there’s also the dilemma of time. day after day i resolve to write.  every post here seems to be a valiant declaration of my return only to be followed by months of silence. because there is no immediate or perceived consequence for not writing, it gets pushed to the end of the list after work calls and laundry and social commitments and cleaning out that one cluttered kitchen drawer that’s been driving me insane.  same with recipe planning and learning my camera. in fact, those things aren’t even on the to-do list. they’re on this completely other list of luxury items that i plan to indulge in once i finish the to-do list and can make the time.

the problem is, i can’t make time. and life will never not need doing. the start of a new year loves to reveal a bit more of what truly matters and just how much time i spend on the things that don’t. it’s a revelation that places freedom, gratitude and relief in one hand and a strange kind of bittersweet disappointment for not realizing it earlier in the other. so much time this year was spent trying to get through the busy in order to get to the better. but i rarely got there and now my hands weigh heavy.

new years and new notebooks hold limitless potential in my ever-entrepreneuring mind but the last few mornings there’s been a low level of unsettledness inside.  just over 48 hours into 2019 and january is busting at the seams.  like yours, my work schedule swallows me up leaving little time or energy in the fringe hours and i commit to things i simply don’t have the ability to follow through on and remain sane. the looming likelihood of settling back in to the pace of life before a few weeks over the holidays brought rest and perspective feels unfair. mainly because it feels unavoidable. but i shouldn’t be surprised that life is again breathing down the neck of my resolution to choose a better way.  

the fruit of fear, embracing the falsehoods, and the blind choice of busyness over better has been nothing more than a tired creative soul longing to do what it feels like it was made to do in this season. the more days pass the more it (my soul) takes on a unique kind of weariness from an unsatisfied desire to do the thing that brings it the most life.  awareness of the vast expanse of what i don’t know grows with each passing year as well but i do know this: we experience the most resistance to our highest and most meaningful callings. the things we’re really supposed to be doing with our one wild and precious life which can only mean one thing: i’m supposed to ignore all of the lies, every single one of them, and try this thing again.

in 2019 i want to see the fruit of faithfulness. there is One behind me that will bring all things to fruition in the right time and with that the weight of the world’s expectations (and my own) are made feather light and lies are silenced. time is even somehow miraculously extended. i know because i’ve experienced it already and i want more. my part is faithfulness. not half-hearted, wait-and-see, odds-are-you-tank-again-so-don’t-get-your-hopes-up faithlessness in myself but entirely-irrational-for-a-grown-adult, borderline-naive hope and expectation in Another. faithfulness that fights hard to choose better over busy and has no memory of failed attempts but can only recall priceless steps of preparation. there is no wasted attempt, no meaningless effort, no step too small, and no better time to resolve in faith to begin.


chocolate madeleines

the last thing i’d ever want is for this blog to sound stuffy, sugar-coated, or God forbid entirely out of touch with real life. for many reasons 2018 was one of the most challenging years on record which is partly why i up and went to france on a whim towards the end of it. i found these madeleine molds in an antique stall in a small provincial town known for its antiques called isle sur la sorgue. the recipe is from dorie greenspan’s incomparable reference book, baking.


step one

prepare the pans by coating generously with melted butter and sprinkling with flour. spray lightly with cooking spray.

step two

sift the dry ingredients together. in a mixing bowl beat the eggs and sugar until pale, about 3 minutes. add the vanilla. fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula. fold in the melted butter. transfer the batter to the prepared pan filling each mold just to the edge. cover the pan with plastic wrap (a light spray of cooking oil on the plastic wrap will keep it from sticking) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

step three

preheat the oven to 400 degrees. transfer cookies to the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 350 degrees. bake for 13 to 15 minutes depending on the size of your molds. remove from the pan while they’re still hot and transfer to a rack to cool completely

step four

put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. in a saucepan bring the cream just to a simmer and pour over the chocolate. let it stand for a few minutes before gently stirring from the middle out to create a smooth, even ganache. dip the cookies in the warm ganache one by one and transfer to a sheet tray lined with wax paper to set up. sprinkle with chopped pistachios and maldon salt.


2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, soft
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
maldon salt

Abby StolfoComment