Calendar once meant a grid, on paper. I scrawled tasks into its boxes, producing a craze of arrows and exclamation points and scratch-outs. Thoroughly informative.
Now I live wireless, penless, clueless.
My calendar is virtual, figuratively.
I type in a plan — say, dinner. My computer pulls up restaurant reviews, maps the traffic, adds a pic of my companion.
Then, when I glance aside, it eats the date, whole. Making my calendar virtual, literally.
It snacks on anything I’ve got: appointment, meeting, deadline. It swallows vacations whole. I suspect I’m booked, but my calendar claims a clean slate.
Still, I know that time is fleeting. So I turn my attention to shortbread.
Each tiny, tender cookie is short and sweet. Each offers an espresso rush of punctuality. And, it makes an excellent snack.
Just don’t tell my computer.
Recipe by Leah Eskin.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 teaspoon warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
Edging: 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon ground coffee
Cream: Settle butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use a hand mixer.) Cascade in sugar. Mix until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Mix: Whisk together yolks, dissolved espresso, vanilla and salt. Pour into the butter mixture and beat, 1 minute. Don’t fret over grainy batter. Whisk together flour and cocoa; slide into batter. Mix until smooth.
Roll: Scrape one-quarter of this sticky dough onto a length of parchment paper. Shape into a log, about 1 inch in diameter and 6 inches long. Roll log in edging mixture. Roll up in parchment and chill, at least 1 hour. Repeat, shaping and chilling 3 more logs.
Bake: Unwrap logs, slice each into 1/2-inch-thick coins. Set on parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving 1 inch space between cookies. Bake at 350 until dry to the touch, 12-14 minutes. Cool. Nice with coffee.
Yield: About 4 dozen cookies