- Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2008 -- 9pm
- Location: Bloomington, IN
- Kitchen: My Apartment
- Dining Companion: Matty
- Recipe Rating: B+
I am starting to try to work through some of the sections of The Book from the beginning of the section, picking up the recipes I haven't made yet. This was the first recipe in the Cookies, Bars, and Confections section that I hadn't made. When I read this recipe my first thought was, "What?!? No vanilla?!?" When I tasted the finished cookies my first thought was "What?!? No vanilla?!?" Vanilla extract is to baking what salt is to the rest of cooking (confusingly enough salt is to baking what salt is to the rest of cooking too, so this really wouldn't make a very good SAT question...). What I am trying to say is this: salt goes in everything. Vanilla goes in essentially every baked good, and also some other stuff. Vanilla, like salt, is a flavor enhancer. Its ultimate purpose is usually not to impart its own flavor, but rather to enhance the other flavors around it. So in the same way that I am deeply, deeply skeptical of recipes that don't call for any salt, I was skeptical of these cookies from the start. "What?!? No vanilla?!?" Aside from this vanilla craziness, this recipe isn't so different from the chocolate chip cookie recipe on the Toll House Chocolate Chips bag (a recipe which I love, by the way). The ratios are a touch different, and of course these cookies are studded with chocolate chunks, chopped pecan, dried sour cherries, and chopped apricots instead of good old Toll House Chocolate Chips. The verdict: the recipe is pretty good. The cookies desperately needed vanilla. Without vanilla the buttery flavor didn't shine through the way it should in a fine chocolate chip cookie. I also thought the chunks went a bit overboard. I am not a huge fan of dried fruit and chocolate in the same cookie (that's just me) so I would have preferred these either without the chocolate chunks or without the cherries and apricots. But as they were, I have certainly been eating them. Matty says, "They're good." Truth be told, he says that about almost everything, but hey, he's easy to please! If I were you, I'd stick with the Toll House recipe. Hell, if you like the fruit, just add it to that!
Here is the recipe.
My travels went smoothly yesterday and I made it into Providence right on time! My luggage, however, did not. My suitcase arrived with me (as luggage is supposed to), but the cooler full of frozen food I had made for my special gentleman friend got stuck in Chicago. How they managed to misplace only one of my pieces of luggage I am not sure. And of course it was the one with perishables in it! I pleaded with the luggage lady to have them send it last night. There were no more flights from Chicago to Providence, but there were flights to Boston taht they could have put it on, which would have made it easier for them to deliver anyway. No such luck. She said she would get it to me "As soon as possible." It arrived just now, more than 24 hours after I arrived. I have some difficulty believing that it takes 24 hours to get from Ohare to Somerville, MA. I had prepared my special gentleman for the worst -- that probably all of the food (except some cookies) would have to be thrown away. I am a stickler for food safety, and if that food was above 40 degrees, it was going in the trash. The shocking thing was, the food was still cold. I was concerned, of course, that it had warmed up into the temperature danger zone at some time in the last 24 hours and had then gotten colder again (which is a pretty unlikely series of events in an insulated cooler, but I am cautious!), but actually much of the food was still partially frozen! So either that Target cooler is way better than what I paid for it, or they stored it overnight someplace pretty cold. I am betting on the latter, but still, props to my cooler. I carefully inspected the containers one by one with my thermometer, and ultimately decided everything was safe to keep, except one soup with a lot of egg in it. This was a happy turn of events. My special gentleman friend hates to throw food away, especially homemade food! And there were some good things in there: brownies, cookies, pizza, black beans, white beans, gnocchi, smelly soup, lima beans, etc...