Monday, April 9, 2012

Deep, Dark Secrets

How Deep Is Your Love by The Bee Gees
Last night I returned home to Washington from a trip to Utah to visit my kids and grandkids.  My daughter traveled with me and it was her car we used to drive home from the airport.  Before she started the car she gave an impromptu, albeit short, speech about how she had come to find great value in "signs" - those little nods from the universe that suggest importance in the usually mundane happenings of the day to day.  I knew something was up.  It was late.  I was tired.  She said she was but wasn't acting tired at all.  The car starts and the inside is filled with the ethereal music of . . . . the Bee Gees, namely, Barry Gibb . . . asking me about the depths of my devotion.  My daughter busted up laughing but then proceeded to sing along, word for word.  This "sign" had been planned days in advance.  Days!  

I'm not ashamed of my love, nay, reverence, for the brothers Gibb.  They are an important part of my adolescence with extremely fond memories attached to every song.  I have endeavored to pass this love on to my children but most have resisted.  I don't get it.  But, with this particular daughter, I have a hard time telling if she has truly embraced the Bee Gee love or if she is mocking me.  

Nevertheless, as I planned what I would make for today's post, these long-loved treasures came to mind and the only song that seemed to fit was Barry Gibb's breathless yet earnest query - "How deep is your love?"  Be.  Still.  My.  Heart.

My initial plans for Culinary school were to open my own bakery/cafe and it occurred to me that I might want to start guarding some of the recipes I'd want to use in that bakery.  My own little secrets.

The recipe for these soft and moist chocolate cookies have resided in my recipe stack for a couple decades now, I'm sure.  I can't remember where they came from even.  All I know is I've messed with the recipe on and off for years now, making the final adjustments while in Culinary school.  I used to give it out willy nilly but then stopped, putting a big note (to myself and family) on the card saying, 'DO NOT GIVE THIS RECIPE OUT!!!"

Over the course of my training I realized I wasn't going to want to spend the time required to build the type of establishment I had in mind so I started dreaming about my second, yet equally fascinating and compelling choice - a food blog!  Had I known how much fun this would be, it would have been my first choice all along!

No longer guarding my recipes so closely, I'm sharing my favorites with you all - and this one is one of my absolute favorite cookies - ever.  It's almost like a brownie inside, it's so moist.  There's a slight crunch on the exterior as you bite - perfect.  You can leave out the nuts, if you'd like, as I usually do when making them for others.  You never know where a nut allergy might be lurking.  But, today, I loaded them up with toasted walnut bits.  Mmmmm.  Heaven help me!
Yes - this cookie has my deep, deep love and is the "door to my very soul."  It has also been the "light in my deepest, darkest hour" on occasion.  And, today, it's yours.  You're going to swoon, you're going to dance, you're going to do whatever makes you happy - but, first, you're going to have to make these cookies - now.

Soft Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
printable recipe card
makes 3 dozen
1 c. butter, softened (227 g)
2 c. sugar (400 g)
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 T. Torani coffee-flavored syrup
2 1/4 c. flour (333 g)
3/4 c. cocoa powder (70 g) (I use Valrhona)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (390 g)
1 c. chopped nuts, toasted, optional

Cream together the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy - about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to mix well after each.  Add the vanilla and coffee flavoring and mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until well-combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix on low.  After the paddle makes a few turns and the ingredients just start to come together, add the chocolate chips and nuts.  Let the mixer make just enough turns to bring the ingredients together.

Scoop out cookies onto a parchment-lined sheet tray and cover with plastic wrap and chill for about an hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove plastic wrap and bake for 12 minutes, turning the sheet tray halfway through the baking time.  Let cool.

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