food, Uncategorized

the alchemy and the ecstasy

Can one desire too much of a good thing?

Picture 3

Shakespeare poses this question in As You Like It (Act IV, Scene I ) through Rosalind and the idea come very much into our vernacular. I couldn’t resist the google search.

Picture 2

It’s one of the those questions that has an obvious, knee jerk first answer and then a deeper second one.

Thinking I had answered–for myself, anyway–the chocolate chip cookie question, I was forced the other day, due to an absence of brown sugar, to deviate from my tried and true method and improvise.  A few days later I served the cookies, straight from the freeze, for dessert to my brother and his girlfriend.

Brother’s girlfriend:  These are possibly the best cookies I’ve ever eaten.  I love the texture of them frozen.   But, I generally like burnt cookies so, maybe that’s it… There’s something a little…

Me:  …bitter about them?

Brother: But I don’t like burnt cookies at all, and I love the deliciousy goodness of these. (Digression to the time I accidentally caramelized ghee, making the world’s most delicious butter spread.)

Brother’s girlfriend: Finally, a cookie we can agree on.

They clasp hands.

Spurred on by such enthusiastic eaters, I decided to make another variation of the cookies.

This time, I omitted brown sugar again, and added an equal amount of raw honey as white sugar.  I also used two kind of chocolate (Callebaut 60% and Scharffenberger 70%) for the “chips” part.

The molasses variation uses 1/4 cup of molasses and 1 cup of white sugar.  I used the Guittard chocolate chips for this batch.

Because:  can you really desire too much of good thing?

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food, Uncategorized

Dude Fude – ChocolateChipCookies

This picture doesn't do them justice

Most recipes for CCC are basically the same, especially if you eliminate the ones that use shortening or margarine, which as you know, I always do.  If you’re not going to use butter (and the highest quality butter you can find) I need to convince you to do so.

That being said, I’m going to tell you the four secrets of knock-your-socks-off CCC.  Like many other interesting things in life, raising something above the level of adequate requires altering the temp, chemistry and consistency as you move through the process, and a v. simple process it is.

Secrets revealed:

1.  Mix butter and sugar on high for 4 minutes.  It becomes the most satisfying light colored fluffy mix.

2.  Toast the pecans.  I do this in my toaster over on the small tray on a light toast–straight from the freeze.  This is huge.

3.  Really good chocolate (this goes back to my use the best ingredients credo, but I’m repeating it.  Currently, I’m using a brand of chocolate bar called Theo (made in Seattle).  It’s really, really good and I like having the thin, irregular chunks.  Chocolate chips, at this point, seem like spam.

4. Put the batter into the fridge for 36 hours before baking.  (I haven’t done this yet, but I usually wait a day).  I refer you to the NYTimes article on this subject.  They also have a thing about cookie size, which I am currently disregarding (but haven’t yet tried).  The reason to do this is that the butter gets hard before it goes into the open so it cooks before it has time to spread.  Thus, these cookies are thicker but still soft.  Eureka!

So… here’s the actual recipe.  I mix things in the following order which both expedites the process and mixes the flour the least possible amount.

Begin:

1/2 cup butter into the bowl of a Kitchen Aid, if you don’t have one, I reluctantly offer an electric mixer instead.

Add 3/4 of a cup of sugar, I do equal parts brown and white.

Mix this for 4 or 5 minutes.  It alters into the lightest butter/sugar mixture ever.  It’s v. soft.

the pre batter batter

to this add

1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Mix ‘er up again.  Scrape down sides, mix again.

Then add 1 1/8 cup of white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

(it’s so beautifully simple)

Mix until all the flour is just barely absorbed (once you’ve added flour, you want to mix as little as possible

beauty shot
beauty shot

Add 1/2 cup toasted pecans (give or take) and 1 cup chopped up chocolate.  Mix just a little more.

Taste with spoon.  Feel v. happy.  Put in fridge for 24-36 hours.

I made about 12 cookies from this but you could fewer bigger ones.

Preheat oven to 375 and cook 8-10 minutes.

Notice that the cooked cookies aren’t quite as good as the raw batter.  Think this over.  Taste cookies the next day.  Realize they are now as good as the cookie dough.   Marvel at this.