It’s been a year since that SOB Sandy struck the Northeastern coast of the US. She came, she threw an epic tantrum and then she was out. I happened to be visiting NY for a baking mentorship at One Girl Cookies in Brooklyn when Sandy decided to drop in and wreak havoc. In her fit of rage, she submerged the DUMBO location of One Girl Cookies in a 4′ bath of murky floodwater. The bakery suffered great damage and was forced to close for clean up and rebuilding. Thankfully, the damage couldn’t keep OGC down too long and they reopened the doors to their beautiful bakery within a few weeks.
The resilience of humans never ceases to amaze me. The people of the NE were slapped across the face with a big wet wave, many of them losing their homes and businesses to the destruction. Yet, they kept moving forward and found strength in camaraderie with neighbors and friends.
The amount of entitlement and insincerity of humans also never ceases to amaze me. My friend and I witnessed a disgusting example of this while patiently seeking solace the day after the storm at one of the only open cafes in Brooklyn. A young married couple with their small child and what looked to be the parents of the woman busted through the doors of the cafe in a manner reserved for mugging victims or witnesses of tragic car accidents. As they flung the doors open, we felt the temporary calm and carry on mood change to anxious concern for these people. They hurriedly pushed past everyone in the very long line to the front counter. We, the line citizens, all held our breath and prepared for more heartbreaking news as the man elbowed his way to the front.
He presented a large coffee bag. I wondered to myself, OMG, is that a bag baby he found in the street? Is he so desperate he is going to hold up this cafe? I couldn’t have been more wrong.
As the words spewed from the mouths of he and his wife, I literally felt my stomach turn. He forcefully asked (more like demanded) that the barista grind his bag of coffee. You see, they had driven all the way to (gasp) Brooklyn from Midtown because they were out of power and desperate for a cup of their fancy imported French Roast. The woman clutched her child to her chest as if someone were attempting to abduct it. Then in the meekest and most horrified tone of voice she shakily said, “He was about to grind the beans by hand. Can you even imagine?”
The sleep-deprived barista was as much in awe of the situation as the rest of us. We were all so struck by the audacity of the family that nobody said a thing. Not even the barista. She just bobbed her head in confusion as she ground the beans and adjusted the grind to their liking. After they stormed out without even tipping the shellshocked barista, we all let out our breath, and shook our heads in amazement.
It was a sad, morbidly humorous and humbling moment. In the wake of natural disaster, people show their true colors. Thankfully, most humans are just that – human. And they treat others as such. I just hope those Midtown robots were somewhat humanized by the destruction as they drove over the hoses pumping out water from the homes and business and passed the hardworking folks who rolled up their sleeves and helped their neighbors recover from this epic shitstorm.
In commemoration of the 1 year anniversary since Sandy swept the rug out from under us, I did what I do and baked cookies; Sandies with fresh ground coffee (irony) ganache. Sandy reminded me of the power of human perseverance and resilience; we always pick ourselves up, whether we are struck by superstorms or superA-holes.
- unsalted butter at room temperature - 1 cup (2 sticks)
- brown sugar, lightly packed - 1 cup
- pure vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
- salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- all purpose flour - 2 cups
- halved pecans - 2 cups
- dark chocolate chips - 1/2 cup
- very strong brewed coffee - 1/4 cup
- cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon
- nutmeg - 1/8 teaspoon
- fine ground red pepper spice - just a pinch
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Toast the pecans for 8-10 minutes until they begin to brown and have a nutty aroma. Once slightly cooled, chop the pecans in a food processor with 1 teaspoon of the flour (to keep from making a nut butter) until they are consistently a medium rough chop.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy; about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla In another bowl, mix the salt with the flour. With mixer on low, gradually add dry mixture, beating until just combined.
- Stir in pecans until just mixed.
- Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, and place on baking sheets, 2 inches apart. With the dampened bottom of a measuring cup or glass (to keep from sticking to dough), lightly flatten each ball into a disk.
- Bake until cookies are golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool.
- While the cookies cool, make the ganache. Pour chocolate chips in a double boiler to melt.
- As they melt, blend the spices with the hot coffee. Slowly add the coffee mixture to the melting chocolate. Mix until chocolate fully melts and becomes smooth.
- Allow ganache to slightly cool and thicken and then drizzle cookies with ganache. Allow ganache to set and enjoy with a cup of freshly ground coffee.
- Adapted from Martha Stewart's Pecan Sandy Recipe.