It's the season for milk n' cookies.
I'll have to admit I thought my milk n' cookies and pizza party days were behind me. But I am glad to report that adults have pizza parties too. And grown ups besides Santa Cause can enjoy milk and cookies.
My boss had the wonderfully retro idea of having an office pizza party to celebrate the holidays. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to get back on the wagon and try my hand at baking again. You see, I have been failing miserably lately, and I thought that if I ended up botching yet another cookie recipe, at least there would be pizza around to comfort any disappointed individuals.
I refuse to be one of those "I-am terrible-at-baking" people. A wise friend of mine once expressed his disdain for this sort of complacent, self-aware-of-my-faults attitude. Of course, his disdain lies more in character flaws like "I-am-selfish-so-sue-me" or "I-am-always-late-so-just-learn-to-expect-it-people" and less in things like "I-have-no-patience-for-baking" or "I-use-too-many-hyphens-when-I-write-blogs".
However, as an exploratory recipe-blogger I feel a sense of responsibility to try things with which I may be uncomfortable, particularly because I may demand you do the same at times. This "we're all in it together" mentality is the message of this blog.
I have wanted to try the NY Times recipe for a while now (which was all the craze a few years ago). However, that recipe requires you to refrigerate the dough at least 24 hours. I hardly have the patience for baking; waiting at least 24 hours to bake the dough is out of the question. I found a recipe that claimed to be the "last chocolate chip cookie recipe you will ever need" and did not require the 24 hour chilling period. The recipe comes from Ashley Rodriguez of the popular food blog, Not Without Salt . I decided to give it a try and follow the recipe exactly as is. The only thing I changed was to use already chunked chocolate (high quality) instead of chopping my own. Ashley explains in her post that chocolate chips have a waxy texture that makes them cute and pretty, but does not do so well in the taste department. The chunks really were better than chips, and I bet a great quality chocolate bar broken up would be even BETTER! The tiny pinch of sea salt on each cookie was such a great touch too. I truly have found the last chocolate chip cookie recipe I will ever need.
I know that if I can make great cookies, anyone can. It seems this is a fool-proof recipe if I ever saw one. Just follow the directions exactly. The cookies turned out perfectly. They were thick with just the right texture: soft/chewy on the inside with a nice soft crusty outside. I do not like the flat greasy/chewy kind of chocolate chip cookie because the cookie does not absorb the milk the way these could. Sometimes it pays off to take risks and attack your flaws full force.
The party was a success as well! A great group showed up, and it was really nice to just relax and spend time with the people I work with or at least along side of every day. I am including a couple pictures of the office here. It is such a great space, and my boss has it decorated so nicely. My camera doesn't work very well without tons of natural light so these pictures don't even do it justice; most pictures of the attendees were just too blurry to post.
PTP (Personal Trainer Patrick) judging all the cookie and pizza eaters as he offers a tangerine instead:
The guardians of the pizza:
THE Chocolate Chip Cookie
(recipe from Not Without Salt, a food blog)
2 sticks butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
1 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 lb. chocolate (use the best quality chocolate you can afford. With a serrated knife cut chocolate chunks roughly 1/2 inch)
Cream the butter and the sugars until light. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Combine the flour, soda and salt in another bowl. With a whisk, stir to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix. With a spatula fold in the chocolate.
If you so choose, and I do recommend that you do, sprinkle a very fine dusting of good quality sea salt. Fleur de Sel or Murray River Pink Salt are my recommendations.
Bake at 360* for 12 minutes. They should be lightly golden on the outside but still look gooey on the inside.
PS - I made my trusty Cakie recipe as well. This time, I tried Red Velvet cake mix and added white chocolate chips. You just need to follow the original recipe and use white chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips or M&M's. It was fantastic (aside from the stains it left on my hands). I failed to get a great picture, but you get the idea here.