Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Domesticated Goddess

In my attempt to keep this blog updated regularly, and find a focus - I've come up dry in the last few weeks.  Having lost my job - for whatever reason - which I loved and believed in more than I can say - my brain has been muddled.

I got lucky - that's all there is to it.  I - in the last 2 years - climbed to the top, found the next summit, and kept climbing.  I got a chance to come back to the place that felt most like home (cheers, Lincoln, Nebraska) - I got a little play in the NY Times - did a little stint as the Queen of Cake in-training - and landed (by the grace of whatever it is) on my feet, every. stinkin'. time.  I should give props to the kings of my heart, lest they think I've forgotten them.  I have the month of October - longer if I'd like - to think long and hard about who I want to be - personally, professionally, whateverally.  I get to take care of my beast-pre-teen-son, my boyfriend, and the most ridiculous pets.  I'm holding out for another summit - rather than finding out that I hit the ground and it took some time to shake myself into reality.  Thank you.

Lets not kid ourselves - I'm not kicked back eating bon bons in my bath robe.  All this thinking, re-evaluating, number crunching possibilities, parenting, housework, pet care, keeping 'em fed and entertained stuff is hard work.  I surprise myself sometimes - I love the domesticated goddess life.  Making pita bread from scratch, sewing curtains, long dog walks - I am by nature, a nurturer.

I spent the other afternoon baking cookies for my beastie's 6th grade social - I also learned this act is a significantly more socially acceptable gesture before age 11.  Although, we do relish any opportunity to "ruin" lives and be the "laughing stock" of 900 11-14 year olds - we gotta have something to look forward to.  Distractions aside - and with all this time to think - cookies never get enough play.  This became blatantly apparent to me during the Gourmet Cookie Project - the reason I started this blog in the first place.  So - I'll stick with it.  Cookies, cookies, and cookies.  There are cake people - I still defend that people who don't like cake have just had bad cake experience; dare to challenge me - pie people, tall people, funny people.  I've never met a single person who doesn't like cookies.  I will also defend that cookies are the most versatile, convenient, and under-played treats of the dessert world.

So, the cake thing didn't work out.  Is there a future in cookies?  Lets start - or restart - with chocolate chip walnut cookies, per request of the boyfriend.  Sorry, Eric - they don't have walnut extract in them - I've never even seen that anywhere - but the complex, yet homey, classic combination of tons of chocolate and walnuts will be sure to satisfy.  We'll eat them warm, with tall glasses of milk - just like when we were kids.  Please Jacques, King of Chocolate, don't lead me astray.  I still bake for him like a desperate plea for falling in love.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Walnuts

Recipe adapted from Jacques Torres, via Martha Stewart

Makes approximately 6 dozen, 2 inch cookies

  • 1 cup, 2 sticks, unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups best quality bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; mix until well combined.  Mix in chocolate and walnuts.
  • Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

1 comment:

  1. These are every. single. thing. a chocolate chip cookie should be. Crispy edges, soft chewy center, chocolate in every bite, a little salty, and just enough nutty, earthy, walnuty goodness. I've had some trouble with other chocolate chip cookies getting too brown and crispy, too fast. These, indeed, did not. Don't get me wrong - I love me some crispy, caramelized cookie (thanks, mom) - but these are oh so all-American - from a French master. Go figure!