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Approximation

One of my yoga teachers is always telling us to “approximate the pose” to the best of our abilities. How you do a pose might not look like the yogi practicing next to you, a photo in Yoga Journal or the way Krishnamacharya would do it but it’s the right way for you and your body. I think about this often and I always remind myself and tell my students that our bodies and minds are constantly changing and we have to listen to the way we feel day to day. Just because you could get into a split one practice doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee the next practice. Every practice is different and dependent on so many internal and external variables.

12.23cranberry

What I love so much about my yoga practice is how often it shows up in my life off the mat. One of the projects I decided to take on during my multi-hour bakathon yesterday was coconut macaroons. The plan was to do half plain dipped in chocolate and half with dried cranberries baked in and drizzled with white chocolate. I got the macaroons baked and ready for chocolate dipping and drizzling. I was wary of melting the white chocolate because in all my years of baking, it’s something I have never been able to master. No matter what I do it always seems to seize and never turns into glossy, melted white chocolate.

I did a quick Google search on the best method for melting white chocolate. It was a 50/50 between the microwave on low power and a double broiler. I decided to start with the microwave. I followed the instructions perfectly but when I removed the chocolate from the microwave I found a thick ball of seized chocolate. I took a deep breath and proceeded to set up a double broiler and crossed my fingers that it would be the winning ticket. Five minutes later I had a seized glob of chocolate.

I was frustrated. I am taking all of these cookies home to contribute to my family’s Christmas Day snacking spread and I wanted my cookies to look pretty. At this point I had wasted almost an entire bag of white chocolate chips and I didn’t have the heart to try again. I considered leaving the white chocolate off all together but I stopped and thought about why it was so important to me to take cookies home with a perfect white chocolate drizzle. That drizzle isn’t going to take away any of my holiday anxieties, ease any tense moments or make it appear that I myself am perfect and have everything pulled together.

12.23cookies

So I approximated. I did the best I could with the tools I had in my toolbox at that moment in time. I found the most melted parts of the white chocolate globs and spread it over the macaroons, transforming them from dainty perfection to reality. My family will love these imperfect cookies as much as they love imperfect me.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Julie Sossamon December 23, 2013, 3:31 pm

    Hi Jen – Have you tried the almond bark or candy melts? I have seen recently that they have trays of white chocolate that you just melt in the tray in the microwave – I have used both in the microwave, the chips seem to be the hardest to work with IMHO… good luck! I am sure they will taste yummy regardless…

    • 2
      Erin December 23, 2013, 3:59 pm

      I second this – I’ve found almond bark much, much easier to work with. Or if you’re using chocolate chips, you can add a bit of shortening (Spectrum makes one from palm oil that doesn’t have trans fat).

  • 3
    Ashley @ Power, Love, and Self-Discipline December 23, 2013, 3:36 pm

    This is such a beautiful reminder.
    And I ALWAYS have trouble with white chocolate!!!

  • 4
    Katie @ running4cupcakes December 23, 2013, 3:57 pm

    awww I love this post! Thanks for sharing this! It is the perfect reminder to always remember why you are doing things. And you are right, your family will love them. Have a good Holidays! 🙂

  • 5
    Alyssa December 23, 2013, 4:51 pm

    Jen, there are a couple ways you can do it… once you have it melted 1) add in a little extra melted plain cocoa butter if you have it or 2) you can add a dab of softened unsalted butter. The second is how I used to do it when I glaze white chocolate Bavarians when I worked as a pastry chef years ago; although, with the butter trick, it won’t harden back up like dark chocolate will, you only get that with the products with additives. I suggest trying the cocoa butter 🙂 your treats sound delicious! Merry Christmas!!

  • 6
    Becca B December 23, 2013, 5:22 pm

    The same thing always happens to me. I generally add in something like oil and try and work it in and that usually helps. Also, ghiradelli now makes melting chips! You can use the microwave and they are super easy to work with. They make white and dark. I got them at Target in the baking section! They save so much time and frustration!

  • 7
    Allie December 23, 2013, 6:42 pm

    I love this post so much. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • 8
    kat December 23, 2013, 7:23 pm

    Awesome post. Merry Christmas, enjoy time with loved ones. xo

  • 9
    Holly December 23, 2013, 8:06 pm

    I love this! Sometimes life gives you not so great circumstances but it’s our job to take it and make the best of it! I’ve learned this lesson over and over in baking! It’s funny that baking can teach us life lessons!:) I bet the cookies are a big hit!

  • 10
    Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate December 24, 2013, 12:36 am

    When I am using white chocolate in a recipe I love to make my own by melting down cocoa butter and adding my own vanilla and sweetener, I found the consistency is much better and never clumps. However, I think your macaroons look perfectly imperfect and will be enjoyed and loved. Sometimes approximating in life is just the way to go to maintain sanity and balance.

  • 11
    Danielle December 24, 2013, 2:04 am

    Try adding a dash of cream and you will get that glossy whit chocolate mixture, or coconut oil. White chocolate essentially needs a lubricant to melt into glossy goodness.

  • 12
    Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope December 24, 2013, 4:27 am

    That’s the great thing about yoga – there is no “perfect” way to do a pose! Every body is different and I really feel that yoga respects that. You do you best version of the pose and at that point in time, it IS the pose. Tomorrow it might look different, even on your own body, but for now that’s where you are in your practice and it’s a perfect place for you to be.

  • 13
    Mary-Catherine December 24, 2013, 9:48 am

    Love Love Love this post! Earlier this month in a meeting with my supervisor, she kept asking why I felt the need to be “perfect” when I’m providing counseling services to my clients. Through our conversation she also helped me realize that we are all only human and that to be perfect isn’t human nature. She asked the question, do you want and expect your clients to be perfect. Do you expect people to be robotic (which people would have to be to be perfect). Of course I said no, and she said you have to use those same explanations for yourself. She also used a baseball analogy. We are all thrown curve balls in life, no ways around it. It’s how he pick ourselves back up after those curve balls that matter most, and you demonstrated that in your post too. You didn’t let stop or prevent you from making those delicious cookies 🙂

    Thank you for always being so real, honest, and genuine! Your posts are always so refreshing and wonderful to read 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and your entire family!!!!

  • 14
    Molly@ mollysmusingz December 24, 2013, 9:11 pm

    The only thing perfect in this world is being imperfect and loving those imperfections. This is a lovely post! Thank you. Merry Christmas!

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