(in)famous NYT chocolate chip cookies

ok so if you love food and read a lot of food blogs (as i do), chances are that you've heard of the ubiquitous New York Times chocolate chip cookies. i wish i could tell you don't believe the hype! but that would be a lie. the hype is right, my friends. (see that rhyme i made?) these are my go-to party cookie. they are absolutely worth the slightly extra effort. the sea salt on top? takes this whole situation to a higher level!!!

ps. you totally dont need to refrigerate this dough a full 24 hours before baking... that's just crazy talk! (but if you can wait, they truly do get better and better)

chocolate chip cookies
adapted from The New York Times

- 2 cups minus 2 tbsp. *cake flour
- 1 2/3 cups *bread flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated cane sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. natural vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 lb. *chocolate
- sea salt

*note about flour-- it's rare i have both kinds of these flours on hand, i've used plain old all-purpose King Arthur with good results

*note about chocolate-- Jacques Torres says to use chocolate disks, and by all means go ahead if you can find them and don't mind spending the extra $$. i use a combination of 60% cacao Ghirardelli baking chips and a broken up bar of good quality dark chocolate, at least 60% - 75% cacao. the better the chocolate, the more amazing this cookie will be.

1. sift flour(s), baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.

2. cream butter and sugars together at medium speed until very light (about 5 minutes). add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. stir in the vanilla. reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. fold in chocolate by hand to avoid breaking up the pieces.
3. press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 - 36 hours. dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours. (or, if you are a renegade like me, disregard this entirely and proceed to preheating the oven. try to limit yourself to just one batch though, and save the rest for the next day)
WARNING-- chilled cookie dough is delectable and extremely addictive (like you need me to tell you this) and it will taunt you every time you open the fridge, calling to you with its siren song... you should probably hide the bowl behind a milk carton and some yogurt or something else virtuous, otherwise you'll eat it all before you can bake it, chilling time be damned. don't say i didn't warn you...
4. when ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. line baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat (this is crucial!)
5. scoop dough roughly the size of generous golf balls onto baking sheet. sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

these cookies keep pretty well in an airtight container or ziplock bag. they firm up a bit when cool but are so yummy dunked in milk, coffee, hot tea, what have you...

auditory pairing: givers- up up up -- this song is a great motivator for a quick run around the block while your dough be chillin... or, just to dance around your living room waiting for the timer to go off the first batch. no judgement!


puff pastry apple hand pies

did THIS happen to you last night? and the only thing that will make that horrible night (and embarrassment) go away is some damn apple pie? not to fear, my lovely. this is a fast, fun, and easy hand pie recipe that will cure ALL.

auditory pairing: carl sagan - a glorious dawn (ft stephen hawking) (if you get why, i love you!)

puff pastry apple hand pies
yields 9 pies

- 1 large apple (any type), peeled, chopped thinly
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp turbinado sugar (plus extra for "sprinkling")
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

preheat oven to 400F
1. mix chopped apple, cinnamon, 1 tbsp turbinado sugar, and cornstarch together
2. cut puff pastry sheet into 9 squares
3. place about a tablespoon of the apple mixture on one diagonal of each square
4. brush beaten egg along the diagonal sides, and fold pastry square corner to corner
5. use a fork to crimp along the touching edges, you should now have triangle hand pies
6. place on parchment paper and brush the tops with beaten egg
7. sprinkle turbinado sugar on top
8. bake at 400F for 20 minutes
9. place on wire rack to cool slightly
10. serve by themselves, or with some vanilla ice cream

that. just. happened.


a creamy peanut butter pie for mikey

a few days back, i noticed tastespotting being inundated with peanut butter pies. i assumed it was some daring baker's challenge and thought nothing of it. then, @tastespotting tweeted:

so i clicked one of the posts, and it talked about jennifer from "In Jennie's Kitchen". it took me to this post. seriously. i cried and cried....and then i thought about my dad and cried some more. jennifer's husband passed away unexpectedly, and there was an outpouring of the community asking how they can show support. jennie wrote: 

"For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there's no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on."

this pie's for you jennie, your children, your husband mikey.....and my beloved dad.

creamy peanut butter pie
adapted from in jennie's kitchen
yields 8-10 servings

1 ready-made chocolate pie shell
4oz semi sweet chocolate chips, plus more for decorating
1/4 c chopped hazelnuts
1 c heavy cream
8oz neufchatel cheese
1 c creamy peanut butter
1 c confectioner's sugar
14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. melt 4oz chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until all chocolate is melted
2. pour over ready-made pie crust and spread to the edges
3. sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the melted chocolate, place in fridge to cool
4. pour the cream into a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form, place in fridge
5. in a large bowl, add neufchatel and peanut butter. beat on medium until light and fluffy
6. reduce speed to low and gradually beat in confectioner's sugar
7. add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and lemon juice, increase speed to medium and beat until all ingredients are combined and smooth
8. stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mixture, the fold in the remaining whipped cream
9. pour the filling into the prepared crust
10. drizzle melted chocolate over, or shaved chocolate, or just add some chocolate chips (i shaved some chocolate and added some chips)
11. refrigerate for 3hrs or overnight 

roasted eggplant pasta with fresh herbs

this pasta dish per uno is perfect on a lazy, late summer night when you want to eat something super yummy but make a minimal effort. i felt just so on a recent evening, when i rescued a lone ichiban (that's japanese!) eggplant that was languishing in my humble balcony garden, yearning for purpose. i made this just for me, but it would easily please a crowd. (for a pound of pasta, i'd use 1-2 full sized eggplants, and obviously increase your ratio of cheese, herbs, etc.)

roasted eggplant pasta with fresh herbs

serves 1; 2 if you aren't greedy

- one good sized japanese eggplant
- about a cup of your fave pasta (i used barilla whole wheat penne)
- handful fresh herbs, i used mint and basil
- cheese (i used trader joe's TO DIE FOR honey chevre and a bit of freshly grated pecorino romano)
- toasted pine nuts (optional)
- additional olive oil for finishing the pasta (good quality extra virgin is perfecto)

1. pour yourself a glass of wine. this should be a prerequisite to any pasta dish you make, ever (or if you're me, before cooking... anything) otherwise, somewhere, an Italian person cries. seriously.

2. preheat oven to 400. line baking sheet with foil or parchment (because you really don't wanna scrape browned eggplant bits later. this is minimalism, people)

3. slice eggplant lengthwise into quarters (or rounds if using regular sized eggplant). sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper, drizzle with olive oil. if you are feeling saucy (i was), add a garlic clove or two coated in oil to the sheet... the garlic will roast nicely alongside your eggplant and add a lovely depth of flavor to the sauce.

4. roast eggplant about 25-35 minutes, flipping a few times (i lost count... too busy drinking wine). basically, the skin should get toasted and wrinkly-looking, the insides brownish and soft. you can't really over-roast (the more tender, the better), but please don't under-roast-- no one likes tough, bitter eggplant.

5. meanwhile, gently salt and boil water, cook pasta al dente.

6. while pasta is cooking, roughly chop herbs, toast handful of pine nuts (if using) in a skillet over medium heat. (those bitches burn easy, so watch 'em!)

7. when eggplant is done, chop up into bite size pieces. toss with cooked pasta, throw in herbs and pine nuts. sprinkle cheese on top, finish with a drizzle of olive oil. add a bit more pepper if you like (i like).

8. pour yourself another glass of wine, and enjoy! this is so much better than takeout.


crispy oven-baked parmesan potato wedges

these potato wedges have been my go-to side for years. they can be changed to any flavor, just keep the potatoes and olive oil (or as we like to say, early earl) constant. they taste fantastic accompanied by a milk steak, boiled over hard, with a side of your finest jelly beans, raw.

auditory pairing: peter bjorn and john - second chance

crispy oven-baked parmesan potato wedges
yields 4 servings

1 tbsp parm (somestimes i use 2tbsp, like in this post's pics)
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 tbsp extra virgin (THATS WHAT SHE SAID) olive oil
5-6 medium red potatoes
parchment paper

1. cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then each half into 4-5 wedges
2. place all potatoes in a large ziploc bag, add all other ingredients
3. close bag and shake, let marinate for 20 mins, up to a few hrs
4. preheat oven to 450F, line 2 baking pans or "lipped" cookie sheets with parchment paper
5. add wedges in a single layer on the pans/sheets and drizzle a little of the oil mixture over them
6. bake for 20 mins
7. flip wedges and bake for another 10-20 mins, until browned (mine are usually done after 10 mins)


char-grilled beef kabobs

if there's one thing lebanese love, it's kabobs. we cook meat on the stick so deliciously, it makes unicorns shed rainbow tears of happiness whilst simultaneously pooping double rainbows.

the main reason why kabobs or (ke-babs, for you new zealand types) are superior to non-stick meats is the mere ratio of spices to surface area. i now share with you my go-to rub for all meats red.

auditory pairing: gogol bordello - avenue b (bc if the meat could talk, it would have this attitude)

char-grilled beef kabobs
yields 4 servings

2 ribeye steaks, cut into 1" cubes
1 tbsp cajun spice
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp kosher salt

1. mix all spices together and rub on all sides of steak cubes
2. let "marinate" for 45 mins up to a few hrs in the fridge
3. thread onto skewers (i like to use the flat metal type, the ones pictured i inherited from my dad)
4. preheat grill to medium-high
5. grill on all 4 sides for a few minutes until brown/golden and delicious looking
6. remove from skewers and serve with a little sauce of your choice (i'm really into this vidalia onion and fig sauce right now)


(holy) cherry (eff) cheesecake (this) ice cream (is delicious)

my sweet mom brought me 2lbs of the most fleshy cherries i've ever come across. (why does everything you say sound so nasty?

this recipe fits their tender juicy goodness perfectly. it's as if coldstone creamery had a love baby with your second favorite thing in the world. for instance, mine would be: coldstone x puppy noses = this ice cream. make it. now. or convince me to make it for you.

this batch is for you, derek!

here's also a great way to seed cherries without buying any weird contraption. any piping tip with a large hole will do.

more assembly pics

auditory pairing: bon iver - holocene (go reggie pace go!)

cherry cheesecake icecream
from mommiecooks
yields ~ 5.5 cups

cherry sauce ingredients:
1 1/2 c cherries, seeded, halved
1 c water
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp corn starch

graham cracker crust ingredients:
1 pkt graham crackers, crushed (the packs with 9 full crackers)
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinammon
6 tbsp butter, melted

cream cheese ice cream ingredients:
6 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 c milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened (neufchatel can be used too)
1 tsp vanilla

for cherry sauce:
1. add all cherry sauce ingredients to small pot MINUS corn starch (cherries, water, sugar, lemon juice)
2. bring to boil, cook 10-15mins
3. mix together cornstarch with 1-2tsp cold water, and stir into pot
4. boil a minute longer until mixture thickens
5. remove from heat and let cool completely in fridge

for crust:
6. in medium baking dish (9x9 or comparable) add all crust ingredients (graham crumbs, sugar, cinammon, butter) and mix well
7. pat into pan and bake @ 350F for 10 mins
8. cool completely

for ice cream base:
9. mix egg yolks, sugar, and salt. set aside.
10. in medium pot, heat up milk and cream until it begins to boil. turn off heat.
11. ladle 1/2 c milk/cream mixture slowly into egg yolks while whisking continuously
12. slowly pour tempered yolk mixture into rest of milk/cream while whisking constantly
13. turn heat on to medium, until mixture thickens up, whisking every minute
14. once thickened, remove from heat and add vanilla and cream cheese (or neufchatel). stir to combine
15. place in fridge to cool completely

16. run chilled ice cream base through an ice cream maker
17. chill ice cream base in freezer for 1/2hr to thicken up
18. scoop half of the ice cream base into a freeze-safe container, add half the cherry sauce, and half the graham crust (crumbled a bit)
19. repeat with ice cream, followed by cherries, followed by crust (crumbled a bit)
20. run a knife through the whole mixture a few times to help everything swirl together
21. place back in fridge and chill completely
22. EAT!


fondant show off time

back in march i took a fondant techniques class through University of Richmond. It was super fun, and you got to practice your own cake in the class. i highly recommend for anyone interested in fondant. this was my concoction!

in no way is it perfect, but it was my first try and i'm pretty happy with it.

oh so you think you're all amazing because you realize it's august and you must be good at math?? i lost the pics jen of jarnettphotography took for me until now ;)