Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Easy Triple Chocolate Sandwich Cake Box Cookies + An open letter to my mother on her birthday


Dearest Mom,

Happy Birthday! I know of your desire to let this birthday pass with little fanfare. I do not exaggerate when I say that you are the best mother that anyone could ever want. So I couldn’t let your birthday pass without sharing how very much you are loved and cherished with the world.

Mom & Dad on Mom's junior prom
That fact that you have spent a lifetime putting us girls before you has not gone unnoticed nor unappreciated. All the sacrificing you did while we were young so that we could feel better, look better, eat better, be better produced five independent, fairly confident women. Nothing I will ever do can come close to the kind of commitment that you’ve made to all of us girls. Nothing I can ever do will be enough to say, “Thank you.”

In my darkest hours, it is always your words, your comforting touch that can calm my fears and give me strength and hope that a new, better day will come with the morning light. “This, too, shall pass,” is a motto I find myself saying, in your voice, when things feel overwhelming. Your strength and ability to persevere in the midsts of your own health issues, taught me to dig deep and push through those days that have me secretly wishing I could just stay in bed and not face the world.

My biggest regret in life is not having had children of my own. You are such an inspiring role model for motherhood that I always thought I’d be the same kind of mom to my own kids.

Dad, Mom and me.
Mom and I
Mom and I on my first communion
Mom and I a few years ago
Instead, I have Starbuck and I find myself treating her as if she were my child, waking her up in the morning singing, “O! What a beautiful morning. O! What a beautiful day!” as off-key as I can remember and with the same level of joy and enthusiasm remembering the many times you woke us up that way. I clean her face with my t-shirt. I carry goodies for her in my purse. I worry about her when she’s not eating, when she’s not playing. I buy toys for her and get down on the floor and play with her, all the while, remembering those times we played under the dinning table, twirled in the rain, played dress-up in your best clothes, had tea parties with mini sandwiches, sold lemonade and ice cream cones, wore new outfits that you stayed up all night to sew. I remember Valentine's Day scavenger hunts around the house, each clue leading us closer to whatever little goodie you could spare to get each of us and how it felt like we were the luckiest girls in the world to have a mom go through so much trouble for us. I remember birthdays celebrated at school with cupcakes you stayed up late baking. I remember getting behind the wheel of dad's pick-up truck, you halfway through your pregnancy with Ellie, teaching me to drive in the parking lot of Montgomery Wards when no one else was around.

You taught me to love by showing me what love is. You taught me to laugh at myself. You taught me that winning wasn’t everything but gave me the feeling of pride by letting me win anyway — you being the yin to my dad’s yang. And later in life, you taught me to be silly. Most importantly, you gave me a sense of security knowing that no matter what I did or how many mistakes I might make, there would always be one person in the world that would love me no matter what, cheering me on to try again. That is truly a gift.

Three generations on Grandma's 75th Birthday: Mom, Grams, and the 5 Arambula girls
You and my father gave me 4 sisters so that I will never feel alone. And although there might be the occasional fighting and disappointments, we are and always will be there for each no matter what. It’s a bond that you and dad created between us, teaching us from the time we could comprehend that friends will come and go but we will have our sisters from cradle to grave.

So yes, I know that this birthday might be difficult, but there is also a lot of joy and memories to cherish. I hope you allow yourself to enjoy it.

I love you with all that I am and I am because of all that you are.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I look forward to our lunch and beach date this week. Until then, I made you some triple chocolate cookies because I know how much you love your chocolate …

XOXO,
your eldest



EASY TRIPLE CHOCOLATE SANDWICH CAKE BOX COOKIES
Back in 2007, the first year I started blogging, I shared a cake mix cookie recipe I made when I was kid. This version doesn’t have peanut butter because Mom doesn’t like peanut butter. What??? I know, right? Anyway these are tasty because of the addition of the frosting. Yum!

YIELD: About 18 2-inch sandwiches

INGREDIENTS
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1 box Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate Cake Mix
2 large eggs
⅓ cup vegetable oil
⅔ cups dark chocolate chips
⅔ cup pre-made creamy chocolate frosting

DIRECTIONS
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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
2. Beat together the cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl with a wooden spoon (or place in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and glossy). Batter will be very thick. 
3. Mix in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon. 
4. Using a cookie scoop (or large tablespoon), drop uniformly leveled scoops of dough onto a baking sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and from about 6 inches from counter, drop sheet onto countertop a few times to flatten out cookies. Allow to cool on pan for five minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack. Repeat until finished with dough.
5. Once cookies are completely cooled, spread about 1½ tablespoons of frosting in the center of the bottom side of a cookie. Take a second cookie approximately the same size and shape and sandwich them together, slightly twisting the second cookie as you settle it into place to evenly distribute the frosting. Place sandwiched cookies in an airtight container and refrigerate before serving so the frosting sets up properly.


Until next time… 
xo, Ani


2 comments:

COCO JZ said...

LOVE the story about your mom.
Moms really are special and Starbuck is so lucky you're hers!
These cookies are outrageous. Cannot wait to make them, Ani. xo

Anita L Arambula said...

Thank you, Coco!! :)