Monday, February 11, 2008


It was my intention to post this and other recipes much sooner, but fate had other things in store. After we returned from vacation, Guy learned that his sister is in critical condition. He wanted to visit her one last time, so decided to go to New Jersey (8 hours away, for those of you not familiar with Eastern US geography). Since I was not feeling well, I decided to stay home. A few days before he left, my computer monitor blanked out. Guy spent time with Dell and thought it was fixed, but it blanked out again and wouldn't come on. It was apparent that the monitor was dead, even though it was only 3 years old. (No wonder no one buys Dell anymore.) I was fairly sick anyway, so decided to wait for Guy's return. While he was in New Jersey, we got a call from a dear friend telling us his longtime companion and our friend had died. Guy came back early to attend the memorial service, and just as he returned, we got another call from a friend in Wales telling us her husband (a former business associate and friend) was in the hospital and not expected to return home. After a depressing week, Guy shopped for a monitor. He found a high-resolution 19-inch Acer in Circuit City for under $200 and grabbed it. I'm back in business, feeling a bit better and ready to share more recipes. I have even more of them now, so it will take a while to get them all to you.

First, these delicious chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of Diana's Desserts, who got the recipe from Cooks Illustrated. If you want all the info on why these cookies are big and fat, and the science behind them, plus the original recipe, go to and search for "Chewy and Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies." (The housekeeper at the Palazzo in Las Vegas generously gave us extra Belgian milk chocolate squares which prompted me to look for a new chocolate chip recipe to use them up.) I've made so many changes to the original recipe, it's easier for me to just post my adapted version. The only thing I would change is to take out the Hershey's Symphony and replace with a regular Hershey's or a Hershey's with Almonds. I discovered that I don't really appreciate the taste or texture of toffee in a chocolate chip cookie, or anywhere else for that matter. If you like toffee, then keep the Symphony in. These cookies are great and definitely worth your attention.

Chewy and Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies, Adapted
INGREDIENTS: 2-1/8 cups (2 cups plus 2Tbsp.) unsifted bleached all-purpose flour, such as
White Lily
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup), melted & cooled until warm
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or 1 Tbsp. Stevia or Stevia Plus)
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. Creme de Almond liqueur
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1-3/4 cup chocolate of choice (I used 1 cup chopped Belgian milk chocolate squares + 3/4 cup chopped Hershey's Symphony bar)
1/4 cup toasted chopped almonds
2 cups Krispy rice cereal

DIRECTIONS: Mix flour, salt and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Either by hand or with electric mixer, combine butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk and flavorings. Add flour mixture; mix lightly just till combined. Stir in remaining ingredients. (At this point, I refrigerated the dough overnight so it would set up better.)

Remove batter from fridge 1/2 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 325F. Adjust oven rack to center position, and only bake one pan of cookies at a time.

Form about 2 Tbsp. dough into a ball. (I used my small ice-cream scoop -- see photo below.)
Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base, again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough's uneven surface. Place formed dough onto parchment-paper-lined pans, spacing cookies about 2-1/2" apart. (I placed 12 cookie balls onto my 12" x 17" pans that I bought from Wal-Mart. They were 2/$10, and they're heavy duty.) You can also make bigger cookies if you want. I prefer a 3 to 3-1/2" cookie. 2 Tbsp. of dough will give you about a 3-1/2" cookie. If you use more dough for a larger cookie, you will have to adjust baking time. Bake until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden, yet centers are still soft and puffy, 12-15 minutes (Start checking at 10 minutes). I like to use the toothpick test to see if cookies are done. Cool these cookies on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks. They look quite flat in the photo below, but they really were nice and thick, but not cake-like. The edges were crispy and the insides were fat and soft. A very good cookie with wonderful flavor. Yield: About 2 dozen 3-1/2" cookies.

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