Isn't Drake lucky that his cute face fits so seamlessly on most pictures of Santa?
This week we got snowed in my cousin rescheduled our Christmas party, so we spent the weekend watching the first season of Mad Men (which makes me want to go dress shopping) and baking and knitting. I finished the second sock of my first pair! now all I have to do is rip out the ankle of the first sock and redo it in a rib to match the second one, cast off more loosely on the first sock and then I'll have my first wooly pair! I can't wait.
I also finished 6 Christmas presents (Drake cheated and is wearing his today) and baked some cookies and a chicken. The chicken was a gesture of good will and healthy eating-- I made (and ate) the cookies first. A new recipe, and the jury is still out. I am attempting to copy the Levain cookie of my dreams and this is my second attempt. I think that the first attempt may have been more successful. I will expound.
I have been baking since the beginning of conciousness. Not cooking, mind you. Baking. I have no interest in "food" as it were. Just cookies cakes and (seasonal) pies. Toll house-ish recipes sufficed until high school when on a trip to BJ's wholesale club with my mother I happened upon the Mrs. Field's cookie cook book. I decided that I shouldn't buy it, but that if I happened to memorize the chocolate chip cookie recipe while we were in the store, why not try it. So I did. I'm a quick memorizer :)
Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies, as altered by the waning memory of Alta:
1 c. butter (room temperature) 1 1/2 c. brown sugar ( I used dark brown) 1/2 c. sugar (beat until fluffy) add 2 eggs, one at a time-- thoroughly incorporate. Add 1 tsp vanilla with the second egg.
in separate bowl, whisk 2 1/4 c. flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt
mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Add chocolate chips (these days I use Ghiradelli bittersweet and milk chocolate mixed together)
Cook for 7-10 minutes at 375.
Then I lived in Rochester and my friend Ali introduced me to The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook which has some of the tastiest cookie recipes I have ever encountered. I'll leave you to discover them as they're readily available. All baked goods in this cookbook, especially the Ultimate Carrot Cake are ridiculously delicious.
Then I moved to NYC and discovered Levain. It's like a meteorite of cookie heaven. Their cookies are a full 6 oz. Have you seen a 6oz cookie before? unreal. This is the cookie that convinced me, once and for all that my allergy to walnuts is worth ignoring. So my tongue swells a bit, who cares! they're that good.
And so, faithful friends, I give to you this Christmas a link to my new favorite cookie recipe. I know that you will hesitate when you see just how big a 6 oz cookie is, but please I entreat you, make them 6 oz. otherwise you don't get the gooey goodness in the middle. Also toast the walnuts.
And don't blame me when you eat a pound of cookie.
My husband and I are both opera singers, and in the fall we moved from NYC to Michigan, where he is now a professor of voice and opera at Oakland University. In January we bought our first house-- an 1895 Victorian, and we're expecting our first child (a boy) in April.