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02/14/2006

Being Julia

My friends, it is time to move on.  Taking a page from Julia, whose breezy determination is a model for us all, I will wrestle the conversation into less turbulent channels by posting a recipe and a photo of a cute child.

This recipe is for what I call miscarriage cookies.  They are that good.  They have seen me through dark times on more than one occasion.  These cookies are magnificent on their own, better with a glass of port, and better still with a vintage Percocet.

Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Toffee and Dried Cherries
From Regan Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen


Makes 40 large cookies (or 4 dozen if you're using my largeish cookie scoop, or none if you eat the batter raw, which I have been known to do).

2-1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 c. tightly packed brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 lg. eggs
1-1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. plump, moist dried sour cherries
1 c. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, in chunks the size of the cherries
1 c. Skor Bits

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.

  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

  3. Cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. (I use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.)  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla. Incorporate the flour mixture in 3 increments, blending just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the chunky ingredients until they are evenly distributed.

  4. Do what you need to do — baking one sheet at a time, changing the position of your oven racks, selling plasma to afford an expensive convection oven — to assure even baking.  Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheets and bake them in the middle of the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until barely set in the center and just firm around the edges. Cool on baking sheet for 3–5 minutes and then transfer to rack to cool completely, or stuff great molten handfuls into your mouth until your tongue is naught but a blistered, meaty slab.  Your choice.

There.  Now I can close and selectively prune the comments on the previous post, hopeful that we will all be too busy baking, drinking, or abusing narcotics to say any more on that matter.

Thank you all so much for your kind birthday wishes.  This morning I tried to remember how I spent my birthday last year, and I couldn't.  (Research reveals that I've blocked it out for good reason.)   This year is better in every way.  This is where the cute kid comes in.  Picture it, if you will...

Charlie books it down the hall towards the bedrooms, looking back over his shoulder to make sure I'm crawling after him.  I am, in the least suspenseful low-speed chase since OJ made a break for it.  I let him reach the bathroom before I do.  I hear the tumble of the spindle as he pulls a long ribbon of toilet paper off the roll.  I let him go at it for a moment, then scoop him up into my arms and threaten to indenture him to the Blue Man Group.  By way of apology, he makes a sweet and mournful sound through his PVC tubulum as I carry him back down the hall.

As Julia might say, isn't he sweet?

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