Thursday, January 22, 2009
anything goes now!
There are two ways that sweets are eaten. The first is an anonymous thrust of hand into cavernous box followed by extraction of [fill in the blank chocolate product]. It doesn’t matter what the vehicle of sweetness is, so long as said vehicle arrives in mouth carrying flavor and resulting in endorphin rush. Serotonin will be released, life will go on. But the second way…ah, the second way…that is the one that counts. Imagine:
Some cookies come out of the oven. You transfer them to a plate and set them on the coffee table to cool. They rest innocently between the sneaker collection that is all of your friends feet resting on the tabletop while a movie is watched. The cookies are still so fresh that stream rises from them: fragrant, ghostly, and iridescent with the glow of the television. This is worthy of some attention. One by one, each lounging figure begins to stiffen slowly and rise from the depths of the couch cushions. For a long time nobody does anything else. They just look. Every warm cookie is inspected carefully from afar until one is finally deemed most worthy for consumption based on the merits of its visible nuts, chocolate bits, and golden-hued tan. This cookie, “the one”, is slid delicately from the plate and eaten…very….slowly…. Then the process repeats itself again…and again...and again. The process of cookie elimination becomes suddenly very time consuming, delicate, slow, enjoyable. The cookie has fully surpassed the simplistic and thoughtless rhythm of the grab-and-stuff-in-face; it has become an object of intense speculation and desire.
A really great cookie needs a really great recipe, of course, and this really great recipe comes from David Lebovitz, a bit of a personal hero of mine. We went into this with all possible obstacles against us (not enough brown sugar, and it was hard as a rock, no mixer, stubbornly frozen butter) but we made due by taking a few creative liberties. For example: My friend, Wyatt, took the pleasure of throwing in an entire bag of big chocolate chunks, followed immediately by another entire bag of chopped walnuts. I panicked for a millisecond that there wouldn’t be enough dough to hold all the chocolate and nuts together, but then I was like “Wait a second---listen to what you just said" and realized that I had potentially the best cookie batch EVER now ready to go into the oven. And I was right!
Please, please make these cookies for you and your friends. Each one is a misshapen ball of delicious, just dying to be broken apart with your fingers and eaten in a slow, prolonged swan-song of heavenly pleasure.
Chocolate Chip Cookies via David Lebovitz:
“Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) (115 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup(130 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
Adjust the oven rack to the top 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 300F (150C). Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda. Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon (5cm) balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches (10cm) apart, on each of the baking sheets.
Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Make about 20 cookies."
(recipe reproduced without permission, please don’t be mad!)