A law school girlfriend’s birthday was Sunday, so I wanted to make her a treat – I love spoiling people for their birthdays! I also was in one of my bad moods today, and was generally irritable, which isn’t nice because sometimes it comes out as snipping at J. Not that he doesn’t deserve some snipping on occasion, but today he truly was an innocent bystander. Baking has become a significant part of my evolving coping mechanisms, so tonight became the night to bake a birthday treat.
I have seen recipes for different variations of S’mores bars and cookies all over Pinterest, and what’s happier than a S’more! They immediately conjure up memories of campfires, summer, lounging at J’s parent’s camper at the lake, swimming, kayaking, and fireworks on the 4th. Happy stuff! And I need happy stuff! Yay S’mores!
The recipe I used is over on Chocolate, Chocolate, and More. And really, how can you not trust a lady with a blog name like that! Sounds like my kind of gal! I ended up using two smaller round pie dishes because I wanted to make two versions – one with the graham cracker crust, for my friend, and one without graham crackers, because I personally think that graham cracker crusts are a pain in the butt and after the first one I thought, “eh, no.”
Basically, it’s a chocolate chip cookie with mini marshmallows in it, which is one of those things that makes me say “why did I not think of this!” The batter ends up thick and chunky and delicious, but it spreads and rises nicely.
If you remember my brownie disaster post, you’ll recall that I love batter. J shares that sentiment, so I had to keep chasing him away from the bowl. Threats of bodily harm with a wooden spoon didn’t deter him too much (although I do have a history of whacking him with Tupperware when he deserves it), but I was able to keep him at bay until I at least had everything in the oven, after which I surrendered the bowl and spoon with a dollop of batter as a peace offering and he willingly retreated to the living room.
After twenty minutes, my S’mores pies looked amazing and very campfire-ish, because the marshmallows puffed and browned slightly at the surface and it just looked like summer and put a huge smile on my face.
Then to top it off, literally, the recipe instructs you to smoosh pieces of a Hershey bar on top after it comes out of the oven. I used mini Hershey bars, and may or may not have made myself a mini s’more with my mini chocolate and mini marshmallows while lacing my s’mores pies with extra chocolate. Because, well, chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate!
J and I dug into ours, and I think I can safely say that the birthday girl is going to be delighted! So are my other girlfriends who I have class with tomorrow, because our leftovers will be handed out as well in an effort to moderate the net caloric intake of my household. J was sure to remind me that I need to save him “at least one!” for tomorrow, but if one is going to use baking as a mood stabilizer, one must also make sure to stabilizer portion sizes, which in turn helps stabilize those scale numbers.
At the end of the night, I was in a much better mood. Baking works for me, I’ve figured out, because it’s time I have to do something I enjoy without THINKING. Because most of my THINKING turns into FRETTING, and the fretting is what turns into the snipping. While I’m baking instead of fretting, I think my brain starts subconsciously working things out on its own, and by the time I’m turning the oven off a solution or some reassurance seems to magically materialize along with dessert.
After many, many nights spent chasing away bad moods with baking over the course of the past six months, I’ve finally admitted to myself, as well as to a few select people whom I love and trust dearly, that I struggle with depression. That was a very scary thing for me. Mental illness runs on one side of my family, and I’ve always been petrified at the thought of that dark set of traits leaping out of my genetic closet and shoving me down a path of self-destruction, as I’ve seen happen to my mother and several others.
Baking appealed to me so much as a coping mechanism for those moments when depression grabs me because it’s a constructive activity. It makes people happy. It engages someone in a conversation and brightens their day. They express their appreciation for their treat, and in turn, for you. It is a way of connecting with someone and receiving their help without burdening the interaction with heavy conversation. It makes me happy, keeps my hands busy, and keeps my mind settled.
And best of all, who can be sad while eating a s’more?