Calming cookies.

>The dinner party is tomorrow and I am a wee bit nervous.

Why? Well, there is supposed to be snow. Not just any snow, but blinding, huge, massive snow. At least massive for this area- having lived in Boston I know what a massive snow looks like and the last time we had one was in the early ’90’s. Powerlines snapped, pipes froze, ugliness ensued.

So I’m nervous. The best way to deal with nervousness is to eat and do a little messing around in the kitchen. Lunch has been had, so there’s the eating part. Unfortunately I am single, so messing around in the kitchen is out, but baking is entirely doable.

Being limited in means right now I tend to approach food the way I approach getting ready to go out for the evening- I do the best with what I’ve got. If it’s a big ‘do I will hit the shops, but in general I like to stick with what’s in the house. So I’m looking around and what I got is salted butter, chocolate chips, shelled walnuts, eggs and a possible evening engagement of a potluck-y nature that has a Valentine’s Day theme.

This is a job for La Stewart’s Holiday Cookie Guide. Martha is like your ex’s new girlfriend- you may not like her, but she’s got the power so you may as well deal with it.

Unfortunately our friend Mart wants us to use unsalted butter in her Truffle Brownies, and heavy cream for the ganache. I have neither, and since I know that she requires unsalted for a reason, I am not going there. The whole point here is that I am not running to the store to get anything. If I were I’d be making a full-on Death by Chocolate. And that’s just not happening right now.

So… it’s back to the cookbook shelf where I find my elementary school PTA cookbook, and a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, which as far as I’m concerned are manna from heaven. I cracked it open to the index and lo, there were many recipes for this delicacy. I picked Pat’s, cut the recipe in half, and away I went.

First, the mixer decided to throw everything around. I countered this by putting a dishtowel over it in such a way so that I could still get in there with a spatula- no pic of that, but it was funny, let me tell you.

I like my chocolate chip cookies cooked through, which I realize is a bit weird. Martha has 3 recipes- cakey, crispy, and chewy. The crispy recipe was a revelation because I thought that when my cookies came out looking like that they were weird. Apparently it’s normal to have them all flat like that. I like my cookies chewy, but not so chewy that they should be popped back in the oven so they’ll stop oozing.

Funny thing: as I’m posting this I realize I’ve almost got the ingredients memorized. It’s such a simple recipe and should probably replace apple pie as a very American thing.

Pat’s Chocolate Chip Cookies


yields about 3 dozen

3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used dark and it turned out fine)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
12 oz. chocolate morsels

Optional:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl combine butter, sugars and vanilla and beat until creamy.

4. Add eggs, then gradually add in flour mixture.

5. Stir in chips (and nuts).

6. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets by an overfilled teaspoon.

7. Bake for 8-11 minutes- I took them out when they were light brown because I was going for chewy.

8. Place cookies on a cooling rack, then box ’em up for a party or picnic or to stash in your desk drawer for snackin’.

Recipe contributed to “Out of this World” a cookbook compiled by Wood Acres PTA (’88-’89) by Craig Haggerty.

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