Taking liberties with a recipe is one thing, taking liberties with a recipe name is another. When Dorie Greenspan first published the recipe for Pierre Hermé’s famous double chocolate cookies, they were called “Korova Cookies” for the restaurant where they were served in Paris. Then, one day, Dorie’s neighbor told her that the cookies were good enough to bring about world peace, so she renamed them World Peace Cookies and that went a bit viral. For some strange reason, though, these cookies never made an appearance in my kitchen. Maybe it’s because, in my small-mindedness, I thought: “How good could chocolate chocolate cookies be?” Then, last week, I made them and they were so good, so instantly adored, I knew I had to give them an even more appropriate name; the kind of name that could make a viral cookie go even more viral. And so Shirtless Ryan Gosling Cookies were born.
Cookies, cookies everywhere and not a chocolate chip cookie in sight. Look, let’s be honest about Christmas cookies: they’re fun to look at but are they really fun to eat? Most of them taste like cardboard with over-sweetened frosting slathered on. While everyone tries to reproduce the cover of Bon Appetit (which is, admittedly, pretty stunning), why don’t you do what I’d do and make a batch of these comforting, hot from the oven chocolate chip cookies from one of America’s greatest bakers? As someone who makes a lot of chocolate chip cookies (Martha’s, whole wheat, Eric Wolitzky’s, ones with cranberries and oats) these may be the most wholesome and comforting I’ve yet made, partially because they’re packed with walnuts.
Every generation is given its iconic body part. The 90s gave us Cindy Crawford’s mole. The aughts gave us Janet Jackson’s breast (perfect cupcake fodder). And now the 10s have given us a gift in the form of a pointy, wet protuberance: Miley Cyrus’s tongue.
I first became aware of Miley’s appendage, as most of America did, at the MTV Music Video awards when she appeared onstage with stoned, pink teddy bears (no I’m not talking about Robin Thicke) and she stuck her tongue out in a way that defied the laws of mouth-physics. Was it disturbing? Was it groundbreaking? I’m not sure. But one thing was for certain: that tongue was seared forever into my memory banks.
This is a week of recipes where the finished dish doesn’t look good, but tastes really good, so I lead with a picture of something else. Yesterday it was Kachin Chicken Curry with a picture of a mortar and pestle, today it’s No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies from Baked Explorations with an image of peanut butter in a measuring cup. You’ll understand why when we get to the end.
Parents of three year-olds, I salute you!
We have house guests this week, our friend Celia and her three year old daughter, Johanna. And while I’d been told that the terrible twos are nothing compared to the terrible threes, that really had no significance for me since I don’t have children, I just have a cat and she’s 14. But Johanna is three and very adorable and fun (last night she tried to read me a bedtime story and confessed, midway through, “I don’t quite know how to read”) but also prone to screaming tantrums. And when she arrived at our door on Saturday, she was in the middle of a fierce one. “She just woke up from a nap,” explained Celia. Thankfully, I had cookies on hand to sooth the savage beast.
The other night I was very cold so I made a hot chocolate. My method for a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants hot chocolate is pretty simple: I warm milk, whisk in unsweetened cocoa powder and a bit of sugar. I taste and allow it to thicken a bit at a simmer. Then, at the last minute, I add a quarter of a Ghiardelli Bittersweet Chocolate bar. Suddenly it’s like you’re drinking a hot melted chocolate pudding and everything’s wonderful. Now imagine sprinkling in some cayenne pepper and cinnamon and turning that hot chocolate into a cookie. Say what? Allow me to explain.
It’s considered a hard and true fact in the food world that baking is a precise discipline and that cooking–sauteing, roasting, salad-making–is looser, freer, more of a vehicle for personal expression.
Why does that always have to be the case? Isn’t it possible that, if you know a thing or two in the kitchen, you can whip up a batch of cookies with as much freedom and joie-de-vivre as you might employ while making am omelet? I decided to challenge the status quo yesterday by making a batch of cookies without following a recipe.
Until I get a cease and desist letter from Kim Boyce, whose book “Good To The Grain” inspired me to buy six different kinds of flours last week (that led to a spelt olive oil cake with bittersweet chocolate), I’m going to keep blogging my experiences cooking from her book. The good news is that this particular recipe–a recipe for whole wheat chocolate chip cookies–has already had quite a life on the web. Molly blogged about it, as did Heidi (who made hers in a skillet!). And there’s a reason this recipe is so popular; Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies may sound wholesome, but the results are anything but.