Recently I was pleasantly greeted with the smell of freshly baked cookies as I approached my front door, and was met with a bag filled with chocolate chip cookies with a note from my neighbors across the hall. I walked into my apartment with the goodies, eager to show my roommates and we all gathered by the table, remarking on the sweet gesture while indulging in the perfectly baked cookies.
My roommates and I quickly got to work and baked brownies in return, also adding a message with our contact info. After dropping them off at our neighbor’s door, we periodically peeked our heads out to see if our offering had been accepted until we peeked out one last time, and the brownies disappeared into their apartment.
Growing up, I moved from state to state, never staying in one place too long. Anytime my family made these big moves, my mother, an avid baker, would bake the most delicious pumpkin cookies — which were always a hit — and give them out to neighbors by personally delivering them, often taking me along to meet their families. It is nice to see that baking is still bringing people together years later.
Moving into a new place that day felt stressful and quite overwhelming, so receiving such a kind and selfless gesture after a long day of moving was extremely touching. There's something undeniably special about the sweet aroma of freshly baked bread, cookies or warm brownies wafting through the halls.
The beauty of sharing baked goods with your neighbors is that you can do it year-round. While holiday seasons often inspire this tradition, there are absolutely no restrictions on when you can extend a plate of your favorite treats. Surprise your neighbors with a batch of cinnamon rolls on a chilly winter morning, celebrate the first blooms of spring with lemon bars or share a pie during a summer barbecue. Any time is a good time to share a little sweetness.
A wonderful aspect of sharing baked goods with neighbors is the opportunity to celebrate the rich tapestry of culinary traditions that make up your community. You can learn about different cultures and flavors, creating a fusion of taste that enriches the collective palate of your neighborhood. In my time as a food writer for The Cavalier Daily, I have written numerous articles on my favorite Korean and Japanese recipes, two cuisines that I grew up eating and enjoying. I hope to spark inspiration in others to try delicious new flavors and expand readers’ palates one simple recipe at a time.
If you're eager to start sharing your baked goods with your neighbors, here's a simple chocolate chip cookie recipe to get you started. So, don your apron, preheat the oven, and let the sweet scent of neighborly love fill the air!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 11 minutes
Yields: ~ 40 small cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Stir in the semisweet chocolate chips.
- Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
- Pack your freshly baked cookies in a decorative tin or a pretty plate, and share them with your neighbors to brighten their day!
In a world that often feels disconnected ever since our year of isolation and growing complacency with virtual interactions, reaching out to your neighbors with a plate of homemade baked goods can create a ripple of warmth and kindness that extends far beyond your doorstep.
In my opinion, sharing baked goods is a universal language of love, capable of brightening even the gloomiest of days. It's a reminder that small acts of generosity can make a big difference in building a stronger, more caring community.