When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.
Today: The only way to make a skillet cookie even better, and why the next bite is all that matters.
You lie shirtless on your belly, under my desk, on top of all the computer cords, with twelve stuffed animals and your favorite red blanket. Your tented fingers prop open French homework. Your other hand holds my ankle tight. You sigh with frustration.
Use the butter wrapper to grease the cast-iron pan.
Lately, you’ve been giving up or going wild.
Steady the pot when you add the brown sugar—the butter is hella hot.
You shoot arrows at the neighbor’s house.
Always scrape down the sides.
You throw rocks at cars.
Don’t overmix the dough or it will be tough.
You blow your bad breath into your sister’s face.
No dude, I don’t want to add chocolate chips. Feels like too much.
You lock the bathroom door and get in the shower. I yell and yell and you don’t hear me—I think you have slipped, hit your head, drowned.
Pour Nutella over the dough and then swirl it all the way through so that it’s in every bite.
You run through the living room, skitter across the couch, slam into the second story window.
No, my love, I don’t think there is such a thing as too much Nutella.
You say you hate me with all your heart.
Do you want to lick the paddle?
When I drop you off at school, you pause, grab my hand, and say mom, have a nice day, writing or cooking or cleaning or whatever it is that you do.
Dash, you must be so sick and tired of me telling you what to do.
You copy the way I chop parsley, the way I fold my pants, the way I add potato chips to my hot dog for extra crunch.
Will you dance with me?
When the numbers swim in your head, when writing a paragraph feels like it will take a lifetime, you punch walls, the fridge, your sister.
All you need to think about is the next minute.
I don’t want to control you. I don’t want to shape you.
All that matters is the next bite of skillet cookie.
Makes one 12-inch skillet cookie
1 1/3 cups hazelnuts (about 1 cup once pulverized)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Nutella
Photos by Phyllis Grant