The extreme decay makes one wonder why it took so long to topple over.
This treetop must have been at least 30 feet. A kind neighbor generously lent us his electric chainsaw to cut it up, so The Husband spent the better part of Saturday morning sawing and clearing.
We borrowed a generator from Cute and Talented Student's family. It kept the refrigerator and, more importantly, the sump pump going. Our basement remained dry, which was a fate not shared with many neighborhood houses.
As a thank-you gift to them, I made cookies, choosing the perennial favorite, Chocolate Chip Cookies. (In an informal survey on Facebook, I asked people to choose their favorite cookie from CCC, Brownie and Sugar. 18 out of 26 chose CCC.) I have tried quite a few different recipes, including ones by Thomas Keller, Jacques Torres, Martha Stewart, Toll House (of course), and the one I keep returning to is from Cook's Illustrated magazine. The cookie is crispy around the edges with a chewy, soft interior. I would change two things to ramp up the recipe. Refrigerate the dough for 24-36 hours (for improved flavor), and hand cut good quality chocolate. If you don't have the time for either, this recipe still is excellent. I also love the Torres recipe, which comes in a close second, found here in the NY Times. I just don't always have cake flour and bread flour on hand.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
2 c. plus 2 T. bleached, unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to warm
1 c. packed brown sugar (light or dark, I prefer dark)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 c. (more if you prefer) chocolate chips (or hand cut chocolate into chip size)
Whisk together the flour, soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugars. Add the vanilla and egg and yolk, mix until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture, beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Refrigerate the dough for 24-36 hours.
Preheat oven to 325º. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Form 2 inch balls and place on parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, about nine balls per sheet. Bake, reversing cookie sheets' positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, around 15 minutes. Let cool on sheet and then transfer to airtight container, if they're not already gone.