I'm so proud, and instead of quietly congratulating myself on a minor success, I'm going to tell the interwebs all about it like it's a big deal. Because that's what blogs are for, right? Okay, then. Drumroll, please . . .
I exercised four days in a row last week.
You may remember that I've had exercise successes like this before -- over the summer I went to Jazzercise consistently for months! But once August rolled around and it was time to go back to teaching, any physical activity (besides the vigorous use of my grading pen) was put on the back burner.
Recently, though, I finally scrounged around under the furniture and in the closets of my heart until I found enough motivation to get on my elliptical machine. Four. Days. In. A. Row.
Turns out a little Coke Zero and some Teen Mom make exercise almost bearable. Don't judge me.
Some of you out there are crazy exercisers and are trying your best not to giggle at my "success." Marathoners, triathaloners, rock climbers, extreme ironers -- I know you're out there, reading this and scoffing. Or guffawing. Or perhaps chortling.
Regardless of what sort of condescending laugh you've chosen, I recognize that four days is decidedly unimpressive to some of you hardcore athletes. Nevertheless, it was such an achievement for me that I felt I deserved some sort of reward. A trophy, maybe? A medal? A subscription to Ellipticizing For Life Magazine (which does not exist)?
You see where I'm going with this. I deserved a reward after a week of hard work, so I SPENT ALL WEEKEND EATING THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF CARROT CAKE COOKIES ONE PERSON COULD POSSIBLY INGEST OVER A TWO DAY PERIOD. That is only a slight exaggeration.
I made these for a Saved by the Bell potluck I went to on Friday night (I know, right? I have cool friends). The sultry honey cardamom cream cheese was an oasis of smoooooth between two spicy carrot cake cookies. Those hunky cookies, by the way, boasted toasted pecan, candied ginger, carrot, and a kick of cinnamon. The final product was perfect for rewarding oneself after four arduous days of exercise: a sweet-but-not-too-sweet, sophisticated, portable bit of carrot cake bliss.
Now to spend the next five days working off the weekend! What about you? How do you reward yourself for a job well done? A special food favorite? Some time to relax?
Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies with Honey Cardamom Cream Cheese
Recipe by: Adapted from In Praise of Leftovers
Yield: 12 sandwich cookies
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
1 scant cup pecans (3 ounces), toasted and chopped
4 tablespoon candied ginger chopped
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup honey
1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom
Grating of fresh nutmeg
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat together butter, brown and granulated sugars, egg, and vanilla until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in carrots, nuts, and ginger at low speed. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Drop about 1.5 tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake until cookies are lightly browned and springy, about 12 to 16 minutes total. Cool cookies on their baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
While cookies are cooling, blend cream cheese, honey, cardamom, and nutmeg together until smooth. Spoon cream onto half the cookies and top with the other half.