Being my own boss has been one of the most rewarding and difficult things I’ve ever done. I love having the freedom to make my own hours. Also, I hate having the freedom to make my own hours. I’m really bad at it. I am living in a pressure cooker and it’s a recipe for burnout. From day one I’ve been haunted by words a freelancer once said to me: “If I’m not working, I’m not making money. If I’m not making money, the bills don’t get paid.”
I know I’ve discussed this before and probably sound like a broken record. But I’ve decided to try something new and since this blog kind of functions as my journal, I’m sharing it. After being persuaded by some very intelligent people who have been self employed for years, I’ve decided to create my own work week. Five days on, two days off. I’m even trying to shut down by 6pm (most days). I’ve been at this for exactly one week.
It was kind of fun mapping everything out. I enjoy taking care of errands and appointments while everyone else is working so I started out by assigning Wednesdays and Saturdays as my days off. I immediately discovered a flaw in the plan when I was energetic and bored on a sunny Wednesday and then lethargic and lazy on a gloomy Thursday (I need decent sunlight to photograph food). So clearly this plan needs a bit of flexibility.
I met with some surprising resistance from my contemporaries when I shared my plan. “What’s a day off?” “What is this free time of which you speak?” The thing is, I think most of us have time to take at least one day off. We just don’t allow ourselves any rest and then we burn out. I hear freelancers talk about burnout all the time. Right now I never actually enjoy the moments when I’m not working because I feel guilty the entire time. I feel like a slacker. So really, the only difference is that now I’m going to let myself enjoy it. And instead of spacing it out by an hour here or a few hours there, I’m going to consolidate it into two days. And I’m going to work my ass off on those other five days.
I’m speaking like this is already a success but I’ve only been at it one week. I could totally fail. For the past two years I’ve been in a nonstop cycle of workaholism that has isolated me from friends and caused a tremendous amount of stress that has resulted in grey hairs, self loathing and weight gain. It has prevented me from fully enjoying any success I’ve managed to achieve. How is that even a success story?
I really hope this works. I know I have a lot to be proud of and I’d like to enjoy it. I need structure because I’ve been drowning in a pressure cooker that actually prevents me from getting it all done. Wish me luck.
- 10 ounces unsalted butter
- 14 ounces (2¾ cups) all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 packed cup light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- To prepare the brown butter, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. As the butter melts, whisk it frequently until foam begins to appear. Once you see the foam, whisk constantly until the butter begins to brown and it smells nutty and fragrant. Butter can go from brown to burnt very quickly so do not leave it unattended. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. After the butter has cooled, gently whisk it so that the brown bits evenly incorporate. Set aside ¼ cup of the brown butter for the caramel and use the rest in the biscotti dough (approximately 7 fluid ounces).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, vanilla, eggs and brown butter. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide in quarters. On a lightly floured surface, roll each quarter into logs that are approximately 8x2 inches (two 16x2 logs will also work but I find the smaller logs easier to handle). Place the logs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Once the logs have cooled, carefully move them to a cutting board and use a serrated knife to slice them on a bias into ¾ inch slices. Arrange the biscotti on the same baking sheet cut side down and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until golden.
- To prepare the caramel sauce, mix the brown sugar, heavy cream, ¼ cup browned butter (reserved from above) and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and the cook, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes or until the caramel sauce thickens. Turn off the heat, cool slightly, and then use a spoon or spatula to drizzle the caramel sauce over the biscotti.