I’ve accomplished a lot in the kitchen, but the one thing that continues to foil my attempts of culinary mastery is the humble chocolate chip cookie. I’ve never made a good one. Why? I can’t say. For much the same reason some people just can’t make jello, or can’t ever hard boil and egg just right, I suppose. Despite following all the instructions, despite using an egg timer, despite trying dozens of different recipes… the chocolate chip cookie continues to elude me.
I don’t know why I bother to keep trying.
But I do. And as I was on a baking kick yesterday I took down a selection of recipe books (I just counted – I own 24, almost one for every year of my life, plus an assortment of notebooks and envelopes stuffed full of clippings, etc) in pursuit of that infallible recipe that has escaped me for so long. I found it in Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cook book – a book designed to ‘hide’ vegetables in basic meals, like pureed spinach in brownies and pureed carrots in grilled-cheese sandwiches. I remember deliberating for a couple of days over whether to buy it or not when it first came out, because hey, I eat a lot of veggies as it is. But veggies are good for me, so why not learn how to eat even more of them? I am unimpressed with the whole deception side of the equation, but the tips on pureeing and preparing veggies were enough to convince me to hand over $25.95 in exchange for yet another cookbook.
I don’t know if I’ve used it much over the past three years – a lot of the hidden vegetables seem like a lot of work, when I could just serve a regular grilled cheese (and apple! Best. Sandwich. Ever. Worth a post of its own in the coming weeks) with a big ol’ salad on the side. But sure enough, the book had a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I hadn’t tried before. Chocolate Chip Cookies with chickpeas. I had stars in my eyes.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the peas were to be pureed beforehand or not, but my friend, who had eaten them before, assured me they go in whole. From the start it was a peculiar recipe.
The chocolate and chickpeas were added to the creamed butter-and-sugar, and the flour and oats were the last things in the bowl, instead of the other way around. And it made a LOT of dough. We got 30 large cookies out of it, and there’s more dough in the freezer for next time.
The final verdict? … They were better than expected! Warm, they still held a lot of that notable chick-pea taste, but cool they were tasty as can be! The recipe called for optional walnuts and raisins, but SOMEBODY in my house doesn’t like them so I left them out. I also had slightly fewer chocolate chips on hand than I needed, so the chocolate-to-chickpea ratio was a little off. With the proper proportions, this cookie has potential! I might drizzle some melted chocolate over these to really balance out the chick peas, or I may suck it up and eat them all as-is.
Question: Did I eat the cookies used for the blog photo shoot?
Question: Before 10 o’clock this morning?
Answer: What’s it to you?
Other kitchen conquests from yesterday were:
Moosewood Fudge chocolate brownies. I’ve never owned a Moosewood cookbook, but I’ve got a few of their recipes from friends and they are always a hit. This brownie recipe is da’ bomb. (Can I say that?) I can’t find it online, but their 6-minute vegan chocolate cake recipe is equally simple, and divine. What I like about both recipes is how stealthily fast they go in the oven, and how they only make one bowl or pot dirty in the process.
Also hot out of the oven yesterday (but cooled before eaten, because that’s the rule for this next treat):
Let’s go in for a closer look, shall we?
Also fast, easy, one-bowl prep. Perfect. This recipe is really versatile, because you can add and subtract your garnishes as desired. nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, extracts… all options. You can go ahead a dip them in chocolate, but I find the simple approach is best. (Also: less pots to wash).
Biscotti! Everybody’s best friend!
Heat oven to 350F
Whisk 1 egg and 1/2 cup sugar until thick. Add 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (none of that artificial crap) and a few drops of almond essence. Fold in 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and a dash of salt. (Incorporate optional nuts, chocolate, candy, dried fruit, etc… use less than you would expect. Like, 1/4 cup max).
Lump batter into a log-like loaf on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 25 min.
Let cool 5 minutes.
Cut, and bake for 10 more minutes.
Turn over and bake for 5 more minutes.
Cool completely before devouring.
This recipe doesn’t make a lot – maybe 6-8 decent sized pieces. Just enough for a gift, or to eat yourselves in a few days. I’ve doubled the recipe to varying degrees of success. I find it’s best in small batches.
I got the recipe from a Halifax friend – I babysat her kids all through university, and almost half of the recipes in my trusty spiral notebook – the one where Mom wrote out recipes for Grandma’s Apple Pie and Nan’s Gingerbread, Orange Oatmeal Muffins and Chick Pea and Pasta Soup before I left home – are copied from her cookbooks.
Question: Did I eat all the treats depicted in this post?
Answer: Who wants to know?
Question: Really? Before 10 a.m.?
Answer: No comment.