counting our blessings

You rarely realize how fortunate you are to have something until you don't have it.  Health, home, family... POWER.  Last weekend, the winds were whipping around at 60+ mph; it was raining torrentially, and a HUGE tree fell down, right around the corner from us.  It took down cable and power lines and we were out of power for 50 hours.

The extreme decay makes one wonder why it took so long to topple over.

We had our own not-so-little problem of a treetop snapping off, also because of rot.  Fortunately, it crashed onto the Big Climber and not the house.

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

Printable Recipe

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.


  1. trader joe chocolate chip cookies with almonds. just excellent. wonder if the recipe is online somewhere...

  2. Again you have made the DEFINITIVE chocolate chip cookies!

  3. ~m diva- do try the recipe and tell me what you think!

    ~stephen- i tried looking up the tjccc with almonds and couldn't find it. what do you like about it?

  4. it's a firm cookie, not soft. very good chocolate, nice amount of almonds. flavor is great. so much better than trader joe's regular chocolate chip cookie - can't compare.

  5. As spokesperson for the Cute and Talented Student's family, I have to say the cookies were divine! The Student has too many food allergies to list so he wasn't able to sample these treats. His brother doesn't like chocolate (we believe there was a mix-up in the maternity ward) which shortened the list further. My husband favors salty foods over sweet but couldn't resist a nibble. I allowed him one cookie. That left me along with my 3 year old daughter to enjoy the rest! (You'd be surprised how much she can take into that tiny tummy of hers!) Even though I fall into the category of people whose culinary reviews are limited to either "Yum!" or "Yuck!" I have to say the chocolate chip cookies were so yummy that I got a little depressed when we got down to the last one. Thanks, Rebecca!

  6. Cargoogle, glad you and your daughter enjoyed them. Half the fun of baking is sharing.


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