In yoga, there’s something known as the Beginner’s Mind. It’s the idea that no matter how many party tricks you can pull off or how many times you’ve done a certain pose, you try to approach it as if it’s your very first time. Not only can this make you a better yoga teacher (since it allows you to guide students safely and cleverly into a variety of different poses), it can make you a better student because you’re constantly discovering new ways to experience a pose in your body. But when you’ve been practicing yoga for some time maintaining a Beginner’s Mind is extremely challenging–it’s much easier to flip on the autopilot switch and seek out those familiar patterns your body knows so well.
Yet I’ve had a few experiences in the kitchen lately that have reminded me, at least when it comes to cooking, my Beginner’s Mind is very much alive and well. There was that time two weeks ago when I attempted to create a simple meal out of simple ingredients: Garlic, tomatoes, Cannellini beans, spinach, and fettucini. I sauteed the garlic. I then attempted to cook the tomatoes down on the stovetop until they created a sauce, but somehow I ended up with olive oil splattering everywhere, which stained the new shirt I was wearing. I also burned the tomatoes so badly that I ruined the pan I was using and smoked up my apartment so much that Remy (big dog) was sneezing for an hour. (Needless to say, I had a defrosted veggie burger for dinner that night.) Every so often I need an experience like this to remind me that maybe I’m not yet ready for the training wheels to come off–that I still need to use a recipe to cook instead of attempting to make one up no matter how basic the ingredients and execution may be.
Then there were these cookies. If I may take my humble hat off for just a moment I’ll confess that the execution was pretty flawless. It was the shopping part that tripped me up this time. You see, the original recipe calls for 2 Tbsp lemon zest for the cookies and 5 tsp lemon juice for the glaze. How many lemons did I buy? Six. How many lemons did I use even after doubling the amount of glaze? One. So while life hasn’t handed me too many lemons recently (knock wood), I certainly picked up enough of them on my own.
My hope is that the more aware I become of my Beginner’s Mind in other areas of life (cooking is the perfect occasion) the more I’ll become conscious of it on my yoga mat. Just as I may not be ready to pull off a real meal sans recipe yet, I don’t want to try to dive into the final expression of a pose without accomplishing each building-block step along the way (I’m looking at you, handstand). And if I face-plant while attempting some crazy pose this week at least I’ll have these tangy, buttery cookies (and my surplus of lemons) to remind me of what’s possible when I go back to basics and try something new.
Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Glaze
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp lemon zest (about one large lemon)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about one large lemon)
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Use your hands to combine.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Slowly add flour mixture on low speed until blended.
Drop dough, about 1 Tbsp at a time, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Use your palm to flatten dough slightly. Bake 11-13 minutes until bottom just turns light brown. Cool for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.
Once cookies are cool, make the glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Dip the top of each cookie in the glaze. Twist cookie slightly before removing from glaze to ensure the top of the cookie is covered. Place cookie back on cooling rack and allow it to sit until glaze sets.
Makes about 30 cookies
Source: Two Peas & Their Pod