Pecan-Oat Lacies with Orange

"Miss Arielle, which Puffle are you?" G. asks, pointing to a chart of character personalities in a book which is based on a video game which is based on penguins. "You're the Yellow Puffle," he says, hardly pausing. "You're just like me."
I can't say I'm flattered, since 9 year old G. will soon be an orthodontist's fantasy and his white polo is daubed with a rainbow of every McDonald's sauce. (I'm trying to decide if he was hired by the Clorox test lab or if he is just a blossoming Jackson Pollock.) However, I am touched and a little surprised that G. feels that he knows me. Kids are perceptive and I started wondering if I might really be the Yellow Puffle and just hadn't realized it before. Maybe this 4th grader sees what I can't.
After what seems like many years of hurtling forward like a horse with blinders, I'm finally getting a chance to pause and assess what's been left in the wake. Unfortunately, this means some serious pride-swallowing and Etch-A-Sketch shaking.
Last week I watched G. stand in the parking lot, one hand on his hip, the other pinching a chunk of sidewalk chalk, as he leaned back and squinted through smeared glasses to evaluate his large scribble. I felt tempted to advise him to focus on long division and keeping his shoes tied instead. Appalled at how jaded I've become, I wish I could channel his 4th grade freshness to blow life into new, to make room for some, I've been gritting my teeth and sifting through the jar of dreams to scrap all the ones that have settled on the bottom, in crumbs.

These are some fragile, crumble-prone cookies. They break. It happens. The shards taste as good as the survivors. They are also extremely simple for looking so elegant.

Pecan-Oat Lacies with Orange

  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 C firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2-3 T flour
  • 2 T milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350°.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the flour, milk, salt, and vanilla. Stir in the oats, nuts, and orange zest. Drop by round teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets, LEAVING 3 INCHES between them--THEY SPREAD. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly brown. Let them cool on the sheet for about a minute until they are hardened enough to move. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to rack to cool completely.