I’ve had a belly-full of stress lately. Things and people at the office have been a little jumpy of late, in light of the fact that everyone worries about the bottom line and the profits and specific sales targets. People have been getting sick left and right; coughing, sneezing, wheezing just about everywhere – and not even two fumigation sessions have been enough to drive off whatever bug has been plaguing the lot of us. Several personalities have changed, seemingly overnight: from kind and gracious department heads to ruthless, domineering tyrants who don’t mind if you succumb to whatever illness is bothering you so long as you hand them your deliverables in spades. It has been a very stressful time and it has not helped that numerous colleagues have tendered their resignations, claiming that things are now just too much for comfort. Stressful and sad: that is how the last two weeks have been.
While I cannot really do anything about corporate tyrants or resigning colleagues, there is some measure of comfort to be had in the form of chocolate – specifically, dark chocolate cookies with salted caramel.
I found this particularly toothsome treat at Starbucks (P 60.00 each): big, dark, cracked-top discs just a little bigger than the palm of my hand topped with glossy, semi-molten slabs of caramel and chunky walnut bits. To describe it is to say that it is probably what you get if you bake cake-brownie batter into flat discs: an unctuously fudgy base that is best nibbled little by little rather than in big, crude bites.
Eaten cold, it is fabulously rich and chocolatey with a decidedly smoky cocoa taste. The caramel provides a buttery sweetness that keeps the cocoa in the cookie from tasting too bitter and the tiny grains of salt scattered over the caramel does a nifty job of amplifying and tempering the mix of flavours. Trust me: it’s the sort of thing you want – no, need – to eat when the chips are down, hell is breaking loose, and you need a sweet little something to remind you that all these setbacks are temporary – and the universe has your back.