Cookies 'n Creed

Inspired by Sam Smith's latest Acro Velo, I wanted to draw Mike Creed but had no idea what to draw him in. Sam offered to do some covert ops which went something like this:

Sam: Hmmm I know he loves kombucha but I don't know how that would work. Want me to ask him? I won't tell him why I'm asking.

Me: Sure that would be awesome!

Sam: He said Thai...is that enough?

Me: ...Thai? What about like, snack food?

Sam: He just said "cookies." And then didn't respond when I asked what kind. 

Me: Ahahahahaha oh man, he sounds so awesome. 

So cookies it was! And I highly recommend all of Sam's Acro Velo videos; the first one with Mike Creed is pretty great

Cyclist/DS: Michael Creed

Materials used: crushed cookies

the search for speculoos

I never thought that chasing a wafel would end with me falling in love with a cookie.
And for once, that's no euphemism.
A few months ago, on a rainy July day, I chased down the Wafels & Dinges truck for the first time. Catching up with it in midtown, eagerly eying the menu, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. But something caught my eye; a mysterious topped called "speculoos" and marked as the Wafels & Dinges favorite. A simple query led to the presentation of a small, cinnamon-y cookie; and while M1 and I ended up opting for Nutella on our wafel, the enigmatic cookie lingered on both tongue and mind.

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A little research led to more information on the spiced cookie; known in the Netherlands as "speculaas" and in Belgium as "speculoos." A cookie associated with St. Nick's Eve (December 5th in the Netherlands and December 6th in Belgium), they are easily identified by the bas-relief image usually pressed into the dough. Seemingly ubiquitous in Belgium, I had never seen the infamous Lotus brand of speculoos anywhere in the US.
But God bless Google. Because a little rummaging led me to none other than Walgreens where Lotus brand speculoos have been rebranded as Biscoff. Yum.

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Still, the growing Belgophile in me wanted authentic speculoos. But a reliable source assured me that artisanal speculoos was impossible to get in this country. So in an attempt to achieve the culinary equivalent of the next best thing, I rolled up my sleeves, printed out a recipe, and got to work with the aid of a trusty partner.

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Crisp and sturdy, these cookies aren't delicate things that you might carefully pack in a box to prevent them from shattering. They're hard enough to surprise the unsuspecting but absolutely delicious with coffee. Thrown in a ziplock bag, they'll easily fit into a jersey pocket for a mid-ride snack, and with this recipe making so many cookies, there's even enough to pass around at your favorite bike shop.
I'm not done experimenting with this recipe, but here's one for starters...
Speculoos Adapted from this recipe. [We accidentally added too much flour and managed to pull together the dough with the addition of yogurt and water. No negative consequences seemed to result but feel free to opt out of using the yogurt and just watch how much flour you're adding.]
Ingredients: 500g or 4 cups all-purpose flour 150g or 2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 1 egg 300g or 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon cloves Pinch of salt 1 1/2 tablespoons Greek style yogurt 3 tablespoons water
[Makes about 50 cookies]
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/360F 2. In a food processor or stand mixer, mix the butter, sugar, salt, spices, and egg until it comes together. Transfer into a bowl if you are using a food processor. 3. Mix in the flour in batches by hand and knead the dough until it comes together. Use the Greek yogurt thinned with water if you add too much flour and it doesn't seem to be coming together. 4. Divide the dough into two and place one portion onto a piece of parchment paper. Roll it out to a 5mm or 1/4 inch thickness. If you aren't using speculoos molds [we weren't], cut out the cookies into narrow rectangles. 5. Use a knife or spatula to transfer the cookies onto a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes [the center will still be slightly soft when done]. 6. Cool on a rack on the parchment paper. Repeat. Eat.

mechanical gastronomy

Summers in bike shops are, obviously, as busy as the winters are slow.
Any weekend day with relatively clear weather means that all the shops in the area are flooded with customers and their respective bikes. Mechanical issues, flat repairs, sales of bikes, tune-ups...and within the resulting deluge of regular customers, I barely get to talk to the people I love.
It's selfish, I know, to pout over lack of attention. I'll have the shop nearly all to myself come winter. And I usually only stop by to hang out and say hello, and sneak behind the counter to watch a repair or two, or get a closer look at a pretty [expensive] bike. Meanwhile, my friends are on their feet for nearly 12 hours a day, battling dirty bikes, bending derailleur hangers back into shape, or running around to satisfy a customer's every whim. "Lunch" is consumed around 5pm, if they're lucky, and if you've noticed, there's a conspicuous lack of chairs in every bike shop.

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And if you look closely, you'll notice, too, that every bike shop has some food behind the counter. Placed within easy reach of the mechanic's bike stand, or in a tool box drawer, are cups of coffee, bags of chips, and this past weekend, even fried chicken. But it's not every day that a customer owns a Popeye's franchise and delivers about three tons of deep fried golden deliciousness to the shop as a gesture of thanks...which is why I brought some [of Chris's] favorite cookies along when I poked my head through the door of IBC this past weekend.
Because, you know, I like to take care of my own. Never mind that I need those guys to stay healthy and on their feet from a purely self-interested perspective...I mean, I'm doing this for the good of everyone involved. Ever tried to fix something when you were starving? Ever tried to politely reason with someone around 4pm when the last time you ate solid food was about 7 hours ago?

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Yeah, it sucks. And when summers mean more riding, more broken down everythings, and more customers demanding attention, well, the least I can do is make sure there's something being digested in certain stomachs. Granted, my charity was a bit ill-timed and arrived in the aftermath of battered chicken, but apparently was still appreciated.
You are what you eat, I suppose. Or, I hope. Because then I can at least try to keep my mechanics sweet, despite the summer workload.