There was a stretch of time where I was volunteering a fair amount. I really enjoyed the organizations I was working with, and the responsibilities I had. Some of it was busy work, but much of it was intellectually engaging which I relished as I was no longer working “outside the home”. And yet, this volunteering had me out on weeknight evenings more than I would have liked.
One year during this time, a dear friend (who needs to go with me to volunteer rehab!), gave me a cute pad of paper that said “just say no to the sign-up sheet”. It struck a chord. So, I made a conscious decision to cut back on the volunteering and to be present as much as possible. One day, I’d be an empty nester and the time could never be recaptured.
I’ll never really know if it made a bit of difference. It’s difficult to have more than a five minute conversation with a busy teenager unless you have them trapped in the car given their busy schedules and stressful homework loads. Yet, I felt that if I were around in the evening, I may just luck out and get three minutes of precious talk-time during a snack break or be able to take notice of a mood that needed support.
So what does this have to do with Dulce de Leche Sandwich cookies?
Well, it was during this time of conscious un-volunteering that I was invited to join a group of women who were starting a dinner group. Right up my alley! I am not in a book group or garden club – this is fantastic! It’s not a committee, it’s just fun! BUT, they obviously met in the evenings so I very sadly declined the invitation, but always hoped that when my schedule completely freed up, they would let me participate! Happily when that time arrived, they welcomed me with open arms.
I love this group of women. Dynamic, smart, interesting, well-traveled, funny, they are all invested in researching and producing beautiful food! I leave these dinners feeling nourished both body and mind, looking forward to our next meeting. Our gatherings are irregular but always focused on a theme. Some themes have included Comfort Food, Middle Eastern/North African fare, Summer Salads, Thanksgiving recipe audition, Summer’s Bounty, Pies and most recently, Tapas.
For Tapas night, I offered to make dessert and found these Dulce de Leche sandwich cookies on a blog I follow, Joy the Baker. The original recipe came from Dorie Greenspan and uses store bought dulce de leche in the cookie batter and as the filling for the sandwich. Joy takes the flavor profile to a new level by adding a sprinkling of sea salt to the filling. Either way they were a nicely sized, sweet bite at the end of the meal. I found my dulce de leche at Whole Foods.
Enjoy and please refer to my Tips at the end of the recipe!