Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Wonder of Bananas

Nom nom...
I like bananas. As far as fruits go, I'd say they're like my best friend that I've known my whole life. I remember loving banana baby food when I was little. Bananas are such a cool, portable fruit. Mind you, they're not my favorite (I reserve that title for purple plums and pineapple). But I've eaten bananas my whole life and they've never done me any harm.

One of my earlier memories in life is from the time that my younger brother cut his thumb or finger (I can't remember) because he wanted to use a knife to cut his banana. I must have been 4, which would have made him 2 or 3. I'm pretty sure he even had to get stitches. I barely remember the incident, I just remember being alone with my brother in the kitchen when it happened. How he got the knife, I have no idea.

Where am I going with this? Where am I ever going, really? Muffins, that's where. I love muffins. Muffins make me feel not so guilty because they're a breakfast food, so surely they must be healthy. In my mind, breakfast food is always healthy because it is breakfast. Breakfast is by far my favorite meal and if I had to only eat breakfast for the rest of my life, I would be okay with that. That is why I can say it is my favorite. I don't really like claiming a favorite anything because part of me is terribly superstitious and believes that somehow choosing a favorite might curse me to be stuck with that one thing for the rest of my life. As in, choosing purple plums as my favorite fruit might mean that I would never be able to eat another pineapple because the universe will take all other fruits away from me, or maybe just make me severely allergic to all other fruits. Silly, I know. But superstition was never really considered rational to begin with.

Back to the muffins! This past weekend I made Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins from my Baked cookbook. I had a bunch of over-ripe bananas and a hankering for some muffins, so the decision was pretty easy to make. Without any further blathering, I give you the recipe.

Muffins!
Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins
from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1 lrg egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, sugars, butter, milk, and egg.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, instant espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Fill each cup about three-quarters full. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Move the muffin pan to a cooling rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the muffins from the pan and let them finish cooling on the cooling rack.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Recipe Redux: Lunch and Dinner


Ravioli!
You remember that kickass marinara sauce I cooked up last week? Well, there's still a ton of it in my freezer, and some more in my fridge. I've enjoyed it immensely. It is soooooo tasty. I just wanted to share with you how well it has paired with a roasted onion and goat cheese ravioli I picked up at Pastaworks in Portland. I served the ravioli with my marinara sauce and topped with a piave cheese that I also picked up at Pastaworks. Really good stuff. Really.
I don't know how to explain it, but I feel like this marinara sauce has renewed my spirit somehow, even if only just a little. It kind of started with Lent. You see, every year, I usually decide to give something up for Lent, even though I'm not Catholic. I do it for my own growth and development, to challenge myself. One year, I gave up Facebook for Lent. The next I went vegan (and I have been vegetarian ever since). The year after that, I tried to give up baked goods, but it only made me crabby, so I gave in after two weeks. Last year I tried giving up foods made with high fructose corn syrup, but that didn't work out either. This year, instead of giving something up, I'm trying to regain an interest in my lunches and dinners.

Up until the week before Lent began this year, I had eaten a peanut butter sandwich for lunch every working day for the past three and a half years. I got sick of it. I said to myself, "no more!" Lunch should be more interesting than that. So for now, I am having hummus and pita for lunch. I think I have officially perfected my hummus recipe, which I will share with you below.

As for dinner, I had grown careless. I was eating eggs and toast or leftovers. I don't mind leftovers, but I don't know that I can eat eggs and toast for awhile. Instead, I would prepare a large quantity of something freezable which I can thaw and reheat as needed. Thus, the marinara sauce in my freezer, which can be paired with any pasta. I am now excited about dinner again, even though I am eating alone. It's not the lack of company that bothered me after all; it was the lack of enthusiasm for what I was eating. I also realized that I have to eat at least three times a day for the rest of my life, however long that may be, so I might as well make it interesting.


Hummus!

Hummus, Perfected
adapted from this post

1 can (16 oz) chickpeas, drained (reserve the liquid), rinsed, and patted dry
2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, chopped
1/3 cup well-stirred tahini
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice in a food processor and whir until smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil and some of the reserved chickpea liquid a little at a time until the hummus is a nice, thick, scoopable texture- you'll need about 2 tbsp of the liquid. Add the cumin, if you'd like, tasting to get the amount you want, then season with salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if you think it needs it.

Scoop the hummus into a bowl or refrigerator container and chill until serving time.

Enjoy!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Irish Coffee Cupcakes and the Girl Who Just Doesn't Give In

Irish Coffee Cupcakes
One of my mottoes is "never give up, never give in." It's really hard to follow sometimes, especially if I've been hurt or swallowed by the ocean (don't worry, I made it back to the surface). But then there are the times when I want what I want and nothing is going to stop me. Usually these things I want are not worth it in the grand scheme of things, but for some reason, little me has assigned it the utmost importance.

One such instance happened when I was in third grade. I'm still not entirely sure if this story is true, but I'm pretty sure it is. I remember it as if it happened last year. It was a Wednesday and I woke up with a fever. My mom told me I should stay home from school, but I refused because we had a spelling test that day and there was a signed piece of paper we had to turn in from our parents and if we did so, we would get a homework pass. I lived for getting homework passes- they meant I could skip a homework assignment. Score! So, I went to school, did my spelling test, got my homework pass, and made it to gym class. In gym I really started to feel sick, so the teacher sent me to the nurse who called my mom to come pick me up. Well, at least I'd gotten what I came for. But I really hated missing school.

I spent the next few days in a haze- I was dizzy every time I sat up on the couch. One day, maybe Friday, my younger brother came home from school and told me a killer clown had been at the school that day. Now, I grew up never really trusting the words that came out of my little brother's mouth- he was a bit of a fabulist. So naturally, I thought this story was being told just to freak me out. Besides, how outrageous is that? A killer clown at my school?

A single cupcake
Come Monday I was feeling better, so I went back to school. On the bus ride to school, all that the other kids were talking about was the killer clown. Wait a second... Is this some big prank? Surely my brother isn't that good... Rumor had it that the clown had chased a boy down the hall outside my classroom with a dagger. I resolved to get to the bottom of this as soon as I got to class. When I got there, all the kids were talking about the killer clown. So I asked my teacher if it was true. She said that we shouldn't talk about it any more, but from then on we were allowed to take a buddy to the restroom, just to be safe. Are you kidding me?!

So that is the story of the killer clown and the days I was too incapacitated to go to school. I never did use that homework pass- I moved later that Spring. I feel like I was sick for a reason that week. As in, maybe I was not supposed to be at school those few days. Maybe it would have traumatized me (I am an HSP, after all).

Anyway, what does this story have to do with Irish Coffee Cupcakes? Well, I was sick all this week. I had a head cold that really knocked me out. I haven't slept this much since my last trip to London. I also had a Game Night scheduled at my place Saturday night, and I was not about to give it up. I had already said I would provide the above-mentioned cupcakes, and I was not about to let anyone down. Mostly I was stubborn and really wanted to socialize and make awesome cupcakes. So I did.


Sickly cupcakes

These cupcakes are the bomb (why yes, I'm going back to the 90s with that one). When I poured the batter into the prepared liners, I was a bit worried because it was terribly lumpy. When the cupcakes came out of the oven, I was horrified because they looked like they had cancer or something. The lumps looked awful. Luckily, I got to cut holes in the cupcakes to fill with filling, and then I glazed them with chocolate. So you can't see the lumps on the finished product. And the finished product was damn tasty. Even my fellow game-nighters agreed with me on this one.


Irish Coffee Cupcakes
from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz

Cupcakes
175 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
250 ml strong-brewed coffee
50g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temp
275 g light brown sugar
2 lrg eggs, at room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling
4 oz cream cheese, at room temp
4 tbsp salted butter, at room temp
75 g powdered sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Irish Cream Liqueur (I used Carolans, per recommendation from the lady at the liquor store)

Glaze
4 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp light corn syrup
2 tbsp whiskey (I used Jameson)

     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
     To make the cupcakes, into a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
     In a medium saucepan, heat the coffee until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa until dissolved, then add the stick unsalted butter, stirring until melted. Whisk in the brown sugar and let cool until tepid. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Don't overmix.
     Divide the batter among the cupcake liners and bake until the cupcakes feel just set in the center, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool completely.
     To make the filling, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, beat together the cream cheese, salted butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the Irish Cream liqueur.
     To fill the cupcakes, use a sharp knife to cut a 2-inch cone-shaped hole in the center of each cupcake. Remove the plug-like pieces. Trim off the top of each plug to create a disk-shaped piece that is 1/3 inch thick. Save these disks for capping the filled cupcakes.
     Divide the filling among the cupcakes, then gently press the caps into the filling. They won't fit perfectly, which is fine, and some filling may bulge out.
     To make the glaze, melt the chocolate with the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey.
     Dip the tops of the filled cupcakes in the glaze, completely sealing the tops and generously coating them. Let cool, right side up, until the glaze is firm.

Enjoy!


 Note: I put the filling in a sandwich baggie and cut off a tip to squeeze the filling into the holes in the cupcakes. Made it pretty easy and less messy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, aka Ray-Ray's Favorite

My favorite cookies!
Sometimes I can be a little forgetful. It is pretty much guaranteed that any time I go grocery shopping, I will forget one item, whether it was on my list or not. Whenever someone asks me to remember something for them, I usually don't (as in, remind me I need to pick up paper towels at the store- hey, I can't even remember that I need buttermilk, so how am I supposed to remember paper towels?). But there's another kind of forgetful and I like to call it a life-forgetful. I've been sick all week, and at the beginning of my illness, I had some random flashbacks which I kind of blamed on the rain (hey, remember that song?! Blame It on the Rain?!). One such flashback involved a song that I was particularly fond of when I was seven years old- it was from my Minnie 'n Me cassette tape and it was called Funderful Wonderful Friends. I had completely forgotten about that song and that tape until that moment in the Target parking lot when the skies were gray and gloomy. Memories.

Being sick has allowed me to reflect alot. It's also allowed me to sleep alot, but I don't think that was by choice. I really couldn't help that I fell asleep on the couch after breakfast every day that I've been home sick this week. But I digress. Being sick has made me seek comfort, in part out of loneliness, and in part because it sucks to have my head hurt and feel so exhausted that just taking the dog out to go potty wipes me out. Luckily my mom was willing to bring me Jamba Juice and muffins while I was incapacitated. But I wanted more. I wanted cookies.

I'm realizing that cookies just may be my favorite. They're the perfect snack. They're portable and it's easy to exercise portion control with them. And they're round- I think round objects are pretty fabulous. They're fun to make, and more fun to eat. They're fun to share. And as far as variety goes, I think that if I wanted to, I could make a different type of cookie every week for the rest of my life and never get bored.

So what kind of cookie did I want while I was sick? Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. My favorite. I think it really is official- this is my favorite kind of cookie. It's been my favorite since I was a little girl singing along to her Minnie 'n Me cassette tape. It combines two loves of mine- oatmeal and chocolate. We all know how I feel about chocolate, but I never really get a chance to express my love of oatmeal. It is hearty, healthy, and delicious. It's something to really bite into. So naturally, combining oatmeal and chocolate chips in a single cookie makes me extremely happy, even when my head is clogged and I'm exhausted and I've spent far too many hours alone.

Not that I was alone when I made the cookies. I had Frakah over again, because that's another thing that is helpful when I'm sick- sister time. We made cookies together (actually, I made the batter, which nearly wore me out, and then we rolled the dough into balls together), and then had pasta with leftover kickass marinara sauce and watched When Harry Met Sally, which just might be one of my favorites. And then we ate warm cookies for dessert. Good evening.
Cooling time
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from The Grand Central Baking Book

10 oz all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
7 oz granulated sugar
7 oz light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
9 oz rolled oats
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together using a hand mixer on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until lighter in color and fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl several times during the process.

Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and add the vanilla. Slowly pour the eggs into the butter mixture, adding them one at a time and incorporating them completely with the mixer on low speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once during the process.

Gradually add the dry ingredients (in 2 to 3 additions) with the mixer on low speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once, to fully incorporate the butter and sugar. Combine the oats and chocolate in the same bowl used for the dry ingredients, then add them to the dough and stir together with a spatula.

Scoop the dough into 1.5 oz balls. Arrange the dough balls on the prepared pans, 6 per pan, then press into 1/2-inch thick disks.

Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. The edges of the cookies should be golden brown, while the centers will appear blond and slightly underdone. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets.
Enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kickass Marinara Sauce

Saucy!
I am sorry if my title offends you. I do not mean to offend; rather, I intend to get the point across that this marinara sauce is really awesome. It gets the Ray-Ray seal of approval with two thumbs up (wow, I haven't said that in ages!). How can you go wrong with a marinara sauce made from scratch? Really?!

Just add fire
Okay, you will have to forgive me if this post goes astray- I have had a glass of wine. But this wine is so good I just have to say something about it. It's called Brimstone and I picked it up at the Phelps Creek Vineyards tasting room in Hood River, Oregon. I've been there several times before and I love it. The Brimstone is frikkin awesome. It's a red wine. I highly recommend it.

Now, let me give you a little background on why I decided to make this marinara sauce. Ever since the second week of living alone in this apartment, I have not had much of a taste for dinner on my own. I've had lots of eggs on toast, some salad, some crappy soup, and God knows what else. It's been really pathetic. I just don't know how to feed myself a good home-cooked meal. Which is silly, because I know how to cook for a group of people.

So I got to thinking about what freezes well, and I remembered that I made this sauce for my family in the past and it made so much that we froze half of it. When reheated, it tastes pretty darn good. I've had it atop penne and farfalle. What I really want to try it with is gnocchi, my soul mate. Gah,  I love gnocchi. I feel an ode coming on...

Veggies in the pot
Ode to Gnocchi
Oh, dearest gnocchi
thy soft pillows
of potatoey fluffiness
which turn to mush on my tongue
when mixed with marinara
and fresh mozzarella
I feel I can speak italiano
senza problema
con passione
and I am transportato a Roma
il y a plusiers ans
quand j'etais un peu plus jeune
et naive
e la vita etais bella
and I was con amice
oh gnocchi
I will eat you encore une fois
et je sourirai

I know that that poem was in English, French and Italian. That's what happens when you speak 2 1/4 languages. When passion overtakes you, language does not matter. The words must break to the surface.

Chopped onions
Anyway, when I have marinara, I think of gnocchi, and gnocchi makes me think of Rome. And then I am reminded of that time when my friend Danielle and I ate at the only restaurant in Rome that did not include the gratuity in the bill. We had had a lovely dinner, and I of course had gnocchi. I tried to get tiramisu for dessert, but they had no more (?!). The restaurant also could not break a 20 Euro bill. Our waiter thought that we were trying to stiff him , but we explained that we had good service, but needed change. Some other tourists were able to give us two tens, but we needed to break one of the tens. Danielle convinced me to try to get the ten broken inside (we dined outside, al fresco), so first I feigned using the restroom to scope out the scene. I approached the desk tentatively and asked if the girl could break my ten. She explained that it would be very difficult and she went through her desk, then asked every other person working there if they had any change, she made me hold out one hand with the ten, and the other for some change and a five. The big scary Italian guy came and made a big deal about giving some change, and I was afraid the mafia was going to come after me. It's a little scary to be surrounded by a bunch of Italians yelling about money and only understanding the basics. Needless to say, once I got my change, I darted out of the restaurant, threw the tip on the table and told Danielle that we had to get out of there pronto. And then we ran to the metro, which was closed. Luckily, I knew from my previous trip to Rome where a taxi station was, so we booked it and hired a taxi. And then when we were dropped off at the train station, we saw two young boys rifling through a wallet they had just stolen. And yet I love Rome. Con passione.

Okay, without further ado, here is the marinara recipe.

Marinara Sauce
from Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentis

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 sm onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
64 oz canned crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste. You can transfer the cooled sauce to freezer bags and freeze until you want to use it.

Beware!
Note: I do not recommend drinking wine before or during the chopping of vegetables. While I did not lose any appendages, I did manage to peel my finger instead of a carrot. There may or may not be blood in the sauce. Good thing this stuff is just for me. I did, however, have a creepy coworker tell me that maybe my blood is what makes my stuff taste so good. He does not work with me any more.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Brewer's Blondies and Sister Time

Mmm, tasty...
The sucky part about being in school is finals. I hate the pressure of knowing that I will be tested on what I've learned. I also hate the period of time between the last lecture and the final, because it means that any minute not spent working or sleeping should be spent studying. But why study when you can bake something totally awesome?

Let me let you in on a little secret. Maybe it's not a secret. I love that I have some mad baking skills. If I were a man, I would marry me for my super-duper chocolate cookies alone. My Swedish friend once offered to marry me because she liked my pancakes, but we knew that that would just never work out. But at the end of the day, whatever kind of day it happens to be, I can make myself something pretty damn tasty. And it makes me smile, which is all that matters, right?

So anyway, today I should have studied for finals. I kind of did. Reading the take-home exam counts, right? Hey, I started brainstorming too, so I got that far at least. And I opened my textbook to look up sexual harassment (it's employment law, and it's kind of a big deal). So I did something. Unfortunately, I find it really hard to focus when I have absolutely no baked goods or sweets in my apartment. Solution: go to the store, buy things, and then come home and bake. But....I also wanted some sister time.

I never really say it, but I think my sister is pretty rad. Perhaps some of it is that we're a lot alike. Whenever someone who knows one of us meets the other of us, they remark on how alike we are. We're both goofy, opinionated, theatrical and we like to boogie. And we both bake. A badass duo, if you will.

So I had sister Frakah come over to bake blondies with me. We tried listening to Enrique (Iglesias, who we simply refer to as Enrique), but ended up with crappy Marc Anthony (thanks, Pandora). Then we tried for George Michael but wound up with a crappy song that had me imagining myself in a long flowy dress on a yacht at sunset in the 80s. Yech. So it was time for a movie.

Frakah and I have a few fallbacks that we tend to watch together, and today it was time to watch Practical Magic, a perfectly appropriate sister-time movie. About five minutes into the movie, I realized it would be a lot funnier with midnight margaritas (in the movie, they have midnight margaritas, but I think you should be able to have midnight margaritas whenever you like). Then, we realized there were many changes we would like to make to the movie- a midnight margaritas scene every five minutes, replace makeout scenes with someone ribbon-dancing in a meadow to sappy music, and add a psychedelic element to the big midnight margaritas scene. Our new dream is to create our own feature-length reenactment of this movie, with said changes.

What does this have to do with blondies? I don't know, just that we enjoyed the fresh, warm blondies as we watched the movie. The main reason I decided on baking these blondies today is that the recipe says you get to enjoy them warm- you only have to cool them for twenty minutes before cutting into them. I served these yummy guys with some milk chocolate ice cream, which was not a bad idea at all. Not a bad evening at all.


A thick, gooey mess
 Brewer's Blondies
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp malted milk powder (I used Ovaltine)
14 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 3/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 lrg eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup malted milk balls (Whoppers), coarsely broken by blunt force (see note)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and malted milk powder together.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined.

Spreading the love...
Add the flour mixture in two batches and beat until just combined. Add the malted milk balls and chocolate chips and stir with a spatula until just combined. The mixture will be thick. Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly.

Bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the blondie comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. These blondies taste pretty frickin' fantastic warm.

Note: The recipe tells you to chop the Whoppers in a food processor, but mine was dirty, so I improvised. I put the Whoppers in a freezer baggie, sealed the baggie, and beat the hell out of the Whoppers with a big silver spoon. It felt really good. :)

Enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Other Chocolate Chip Cookies

A little overcooked
I've gotten lazy. That, or I've gotten desperate. I did not make my famous chocolate chip cookies this week. I was really craving some chocolate chip cookies, preferably warm ones. So I settled for cookies I could make with the ingredients I had on hand.

For some people, one chocolate chip cookie is like any other. Not so for me. No cookie compares to my famous chocolate chip cookies. I'm not bragging here; no, instead I am just stating my preference. I have tried other cookie recipes before and was merely dissatisfied with the result.

This week I tried the Baked recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Well, okay, so I fudged it a little. That's right, you heard me, I broke my own rules and did not follow the recipe exact. The recipe in the book called for dark brown sugar, but all I had was light. The recipe called for a ton of semisweet chocolate chips, but I only had half a bag, so I also used bittersweet chocolate chips. Lastly, the recipe calls for chilling the dough in the fridge for 6 hours (say what?!), and the first batch I baked after one hour. Oh yeah, I'm a baking rebel now.

As for my first two little changes, they were no biggie. But as for the 6 hours, well I think there's something to that. The excellent thing about this recipe, however, is that you can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 5 days and bake them in small batches so you always have fresh cookies (at least for five days you will). I have been enjoying fresh cookies all weekend. I even gave up on my cookie scoops- they're broken anyway. I rolled giant balls of cookie dough using a big spoon and my hands. Worked perfectly for me!

As for how the cookies taste, the first batch was just alright. They were too greasy fresh out of the oven. But batches 2 and 3 were pretty darn good. Satisfying, I must say. Still not my famous cookies, but a worthy substitute. :)

Even cookies need love
Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, soft but cool
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy using a hand mixer. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. The mixture ill look light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat for 5 seconds.

Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.

Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 6 hours (just do it).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scoop the dough into 2-tbsp sized balls (or thereabouts). Use your hand to shape them into perfect balls and place them on the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans once during the cooking time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and the tops just start to darken.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the individual cookies to the rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!