Cookies, Coolness and Cheer

Adana on a nice (non-breezy) winter day

Adana on a nice (non-breezy) winter day

I live in one of the hottest locations in all of Turkey. However, we are finally getting our dose of cold. (Note: This part of the post should be dated the third week of December.) Yes, we are a bit behind the rest of the country, but that is to be expected. Summers in Adana are scorching—whoever is able tries to escape the urban heat trap and find refuge in either the sea or the mountains, both a mere thirty minutes from central Adana. Many homes in Adana do not have the adequate heating systems that homes in other parts of Turkey are equipped with. Thankfully, I am ignorant about coal heating devices that some people have to deal with. But finally, this week, it got cold. And not only cold, but with the temperature drop came mighty gusts of wind. Mighty cold gusts of wind.

Honestly, Adana is beautiful in the winter, and people can easily spend time outside enjoying the sunshine.

Honestly, Adana is beautiful in the winter, and people can easily spend time outside enjoying the sunshine.

So, what’s a girl to do? Thankfully, my apartment is equipped with an electric heater in my bedroom. However, the rest of the home can get quite… cool. I have a plug-in electric heater I tote around from one room to the next, depending on where I am spending my time. But for me, finding comfort in winter means heating up my kitchen with a variety of activities. Exuding energy preparing anything helps me keep warm. Turning my oven on and filling it with fresh-baked scents warms up the atmosphere, and I feel like I have the ability to warm other people’s spirits by sharing the finished products that emerge from all of this. Sharing food is one of my favorite acts in life, whether it be hosting a dinner party in my home (ideal, provided there is good company to partake), randomly popping by somewhere with some homemade love, or purposefully creating something to share with others. It warms my soul and I hope it warms others’.

These cookies usually do the trick

These cookies usually do the trick

If I happened to have a rough or exhausting day, I know my cure. Get cooking! For some, “having to cook” is exhausting, but for me, it’s a creative escape. I have learned I have quite a lot of love to give, and I don’t mind adding it to my cooking. Other things that are keeping me warm during this (first week of!) winter: Coffee. Hot water. The lights on my Christmas tree. Contact with my family and friends all over the world. Improvement and dedication on the part of my students, who are really great. Appreciation of all the love I am shown by said friends and family. An occasional glass of wine. Warm socks. A few extra layers. The festive potpourri I learned from my mother, who often had it simmering away on the stove top throughout winter. Visits from wonderful past students and friends… and running into them randomly! All these things totally warm up my “winter.”

Tea is always a necessity

Tea is always a necessity

Fancy coffee helps

Fancy coffee helps

Warm socks that my dear mother sens me in the mail keep my feet warm

Warm socks that my dear mother sent me in the mail keep my feet warm

These students from last year drove from Osmaniye just to visit me

These students from last year drove from Osmaniye just to visit me

They brought along a gorgeous bouquet of flowers

They brought along a gorgeous bouquet of flowers

This visit totally made my week!

This visit totally made my week!

I ran into these lovely ladies at the airport... such luck!

I ran into these lovely ladies at the airport… such luck!

Chocolate chip cookies are an American favorite, and years ago my mother began making a recipe based on the famed but also infamous Neiman Marcus Cookie (does anyone remember the urban legend about a woman asked to purchase the recipe for “two-fifty” and later discovered it was not $2.50, rather $250?). There are two versions of that recipe, one with ground oats and one with espresso powder. I have been making a variety of this cookie for years (the espresso version, of course!) and it always proves successful. Upon coming to Turkey, I modified the recipe a bit (brown sugar does not seem to be the same in Turkey) and include Turkish coffee, making these morsels all the more delightful. Recipes don’t insert well into the body of my blog, so click on the link below for both English and Turkish versions of this recipe. It makes plenty, so be sure to share with your friends! And of course, these cookies are good ANY time of the year!

CLICK LINK BELOW FOR RECIPE!!!!

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, English and Turkish versions

Softening butter a bit on the stove top

Softening butter a bit on the stove top

Drizzling honey over sugar gives the effect of brown sugar once you mix it together with your hands

Drizzling honey over sugar gives the effect of brown sugar once you mix it together with your hands

It gets smooth before it gets chunky

It gets smooth before it gets chunky

Instead of buying "chocolate chips" (not easy to find and expensive if you do) I make my own! The effect is better anyway.

Instead of buying “chocolate chips” (not easy to find and expensive if you do) I make my own! The effect is better anyway.

Just chop up a chocolate bar and a half, and you're set!

Just chop up a chocolate bar and a half, and you’re set!

Mixing up all the goodness

Mixing up all the goodness: batter, chocolate, nuts…

chopped walnuts (or pecans if you have them!) add a crunchy component

chopped walnuts (or pecans if you have them!) add a crunchy component

The little box where the final magic happens

The little box where the final magic happens

Magic

Magic

Afiyet olsun!

(Also note: The evenings have already warmed up a bit in Adana, and day time temperatures are often around 65 Fahrenheit/ 18 Celsius. I am definitely not complaining about anything!)

2 thoughts on “Cookies, Coolness and Cheer

  1. Hi neighbour. I am here in Mersin and yes the weather is mild (well compared to a polar vortex in the US or 50 degree C in Australia). Its a great part of the world isn’t it?

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