Five months ago, I was excitedly cleaning up my desk at work, bidding à bientôt to my co-workers, and, as I was skipping out the door, entered the final countdown before motherhood.

(Where.  Has.  The.  Time.  Gone?)

Now, I am already preparing for my return to work.  By enjoying each and every day I have with my baby Nina.  Watching her grow, develop and mature.  Spending time with a baby that is flaunting her individuality, who is more alert and ‘talking’, who is trying to show spirit and independence through ‘commando’ crawling, reaching, grabbing, engaging, who giggles and screams in joy at the sight of my face, and who reacts with immense excitement at bright new shiny toys (and cannot get enough of them!).

Each day brings a new reward but the luxury of time will not last forever.   Before I know it, I will be packing her bag and lunchbox for daycare.  In fact, it will be in only six months that Nina will start, and I will ultimately return to work full-time.

And even though, in the future, Nina will not return home to find milk and cookies awaiting her, just freshly baked by her mother, she will not be without baked treats.  So I will comfort myself with the knowledge that a part of me will still be with her during the day.  Even if only in her lunchbox.

{ Fleur de sel chocolate sablés } Recipe by Dorie Greenspan

I made no changes to this recipe.  When a recipe is inspired by a Pierre Hermé creation, and developed by Dorie Greenspan, really, who needs to make changes?

* Ingredients *
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
170g/1 stick and 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
180g/5 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-size bits.

* Directions *
1. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together. Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted  with a paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy. Add the sugars, salt and vanilla extract and beat for another 1 or 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated (the dough may look crumbly). For the best texture, work the dough as little as possible. Toss in the chocolate; mix to incorporate.
2. Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface, divide in half and, working with one half at a time, shape the dough into a log that is 1 1/2 inches in diameter. (As you’re shaping the log, flatten it once or twice and roll it up from one long side to the other, to make certain you haven’t got an air channel.) Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill them for at least 1 hour. (Wrapped airtight, the logs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.)
3. Centre a rack in the oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Working with a sharp, thin-bladed knife, slice rounds 1/2-inch thick. (If the cookies break, squeeze the broken-off bit back onto the cookie.) Place the cookies on the parchment-lined sheets, leaving an inch of space between them. Bake only 1 sheet at a time and bake each sheet for 12 minutes. (The cookies will not look done nor will they be firm, but that is the way they should be.) Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest, on the sheet, until they are only just warm. Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.