What About Me Toffee Pecan Chocolate Holiday Tart

I can’t believe it is November. I am in a panic-a pie panic. I received a call from my brother-in-law, (aka Dr. Andrew Weil’s First Disciple) that I wasn’t entirely surprised to receive. It was the “no more corn syrup” call. (However, he did ask me to up the bourbon quotient in any pie of my choosing-hmm, is he numbing the pain of spending Thanksgiving with his wife’s family?)
Eleven months out of the year this kind of directive wouldn’t affect me. But with the holidays around the corner he was really cramping my style. Pecan pie is my favorite thing and last year I found and made the perfect recipe which, of course, requires corn syrup. If we were a large family you might say, just make a pecan pie and then a corn syrup-free something else. But, we are a small family. This year we only have four adult pie eaters and two mini ones. I always make an apple pie, which I have no interest in, because it’s Thanksgiving and because if I didn’t my father would kill me. It’s his favorite and he actually hates Thanksgiving for some reason so the pie is one way to make the dinner appealing. The other pie has always been pecan and, in recent years, a chocolate pecan because my sister won’t open her mouth for any dessert that does not involve chocolate and frankly, she could stand to put on a few. My mother is the easiest to please-she doesn’t eat dessert at all. Meaning, she doesn’t want a piece of pie on a plate, she’d rather pick at the leftovers while we do the dishes. So, now here I am wondering what to do.

At first I thought, why not just make a pecan pie without corn syrup? So, I baked a tester with a British import which seemed ironic considering the exporters don’t exactly celebrate Thanksgiving. Lyle’s Golden Syrup is liquid cane sugar and I found it in the fancy food aisle in the market. It has a more distinct taste than corn syrup and the pie I made just didn’t taste right. Not bad, but just not what I wanted.
Then my sister called. Although her kids have been cleared for nut take off she thought they’d be happier with something less gooey and more cookie-ish. And don’t forget the chocolate. And don’t even think about the bourbon. Ok. This was a fun project until people started weighing in with their demands assuming that I wasn’t already letting their needs guide my experiments. And what, by the way, will she be contributing to the meal since her husband and kids are vegetarian? And where was everyone last year when I nearly sliced off my finger with a mandolin while making a fennel salad? “Oh, it looks fine, just put on a Band-aid!” my father said as my hand throbbed all through the night and by the time I went to the CVS Minute Clinic they said I should have gone to the ER but it was too late for stitches. At least the salad was good.
I got over my irritation as soon as my 22 month old niece took the phone and said “Mimi comin’ house?” meaning “when are you coming to see me?” and that was all I needed to hear. Operation Pie was back on.

My goal was to bring together the toffee notes, good chocolate and a little bit of the structure of the chocolate chip cookie with the toasted nuttiness, slight gooeyness of a pecan pie. I also added some instant coffee just to give my trying-to-be-all-things-to-all-people-pie another dimension, and as a way to ward off the cloying sweetness both of these pies can fall victim to. If you're worried about the kids, don't be-the tart does not have a pronounced coffee taste. But if you're still worried, reduce the amount to one teaspoon.
After four experimental pies (too sweet, too dry, too gritty, too pasty) I think the fifth one is "just right." Unfortunately, if I have to so much as look at another pecan or a chocolate chip I will lose it completely. Luckily, I have 3 weeks to get my appetite back. Now let’s hope the family is satisfied. (I know I am!)

*Note-I’m as scared of making pie and tart crusts as much as the next person. But this crust is really so easy and doesn’t require a rolling pin! But, if you’re still scared you could make this as a pie and use a pre-made crust. Just read the ingredients and be sure it is all natural. I think I’d still par-bake it as I do below, just to make sure the bottom isn’t soggy.

What About Me Toffee Pecan Chocolate Thanksgiving Tart
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1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
8 Tablespoons butter-cut into small size pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place flour, sugar, salt and butter in bowl of food processor. Process until large moist pieces form-when you grab a handful it should hold together.

Spill out contents of processor into tart pan.
With floured fingers press dough evenly along bottom of pan and up the sides. This takes a little time and patience. Hang in there and it will be fine.
Freeze dough filled pan for 15 minutes.

Remove pan from freezer, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork repeatedly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
Cool on a rack completely.
(adapted from Everyday Food July/August 2005)

Ingredients-Pie Filling
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
5 Tablespoons sugar
7 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Chocolate Chips
1 cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Heat pecans in toaster oven or in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Keep an eye on them-you do not want to waste them so don’t let them burn! Set aside and let cool.

Place both sugars in large heatproof mixing bowl. Set aside.

Heat butter in medium skillet and melt over medium-high heat until the melted butter turns dark golden and smells nutty, 2-5 minutes.

Carefully pour hot butter over sugars and whisk thoroughly to combine. Allow to cool 2 minutes.

Add eggs and coffee powder to sugar/butter mixture and whisk thoroughly until fully incorporated.

Add flour and salt to sugar/butter/eggs and coffee mixture and whisk gently first to combine and then vigorously until flour is completely mixed in. Batter will look like caramel.

Stir in pecans and chocolate chips with wooden spoon or spatula.
Spoon batter into cooled tart pan and smooth.
Place a piece of foil on oven rack just in case there is some overflow.
Bake 55 minutes-1 hour. Top of tart may sport little cracks.


This tart is easier to cut if it has cooled completely.

Yield-One 9” pie or tart.

Depending on the pigginess of your crew 6 (big hog)-10 (a tiny piglet) slices. Feel free to go whole hog and top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


Halloween Baking with the Niece Sugar Cookies

Halloween has always been a happy holiday for me. Not because I like to dress up (I hate costumes and costume parties) but because I love candy. Obviously, I outgrew trick or treating a hundred years ago. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t partake in my own way. Like I just happen to buy a few too many bags of treats for my anticipated door bell ringers, and they always happen to be my favorites.
Everyone knows that a Milky Way ‘fun size’ is indeed more fun!
As a kid growing up in a large New York apartment building we had it made-starting at the 16th floor and working our way down we didn’t even have to go outside to come home with bursting bags. Ultimately though you get a little too old to be donning a mask, yelling “trick or treat!” and shoving an expectant hollow plastic pumpkin at the mother of kids you babysit for. Not that that ever happened to me when I was 14 and dressed as a hobo.

One thing I never understood was all the urban myth warnings-like the one about the razor blades being hidden in apples. First of all, what kind of sadist would hand out apples instead of candy? And what kind of moron would eat an apple instead of a mini Butterfinger?
I once had a roommate who, upon opening our refrigerator, squealed “ooh, look-an apple!” and happily bit into it. Squealing should be reserved for stumbling upon a chocolate cake or a hot fudge sundae. I knew then we would never be friends.

Now my Halloween fun is channeled through my nieces. The eldest didn’t even understand the pleasures of confections until last year when she was already three and a half. Now it’s all about candy, cookies and ice cream. Luckily, I’ve done my job with her little sister who sits in her stroller at the Duane Reade check-out pointing to the M & M’s and screaming “Candy? Candy!” Who could ever deny her? These easy and versatile sugar cookies are great, thank you Everyday Food. If I were making them for (I mean with) anyone over the age of five I’d add some grated lemon or orange zest or maybe some spices (ginger, clove, cinnamon or a combo) to the dry ingredients.

I think I had more fun during this project than the small fry for whom it was meant to entertain. At one point she asked, “why are we making these?” And I snapped “because it’s fun!” And then she ran out of the room to watch Dora.
I just hope she shares her candy with me.

One note: Regarding the icing-the good news is that there is now natural food coloring available. You can find it at Whole Foods and online.
Baking with the Niece Sugar Cookies adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Cookie Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cookie Directions

In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; freeze until firm, at least 20 minutes, or place in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze up to 3 months (thaw in refrigerator overnight).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Remove one dough disk; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of floured parchment, dusting dough with flour as needed. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer to prepared baking sheets. (If dough gets soft, chill 10 minutes.) Reroll scraps; cut shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake, rotating halfway through, until edges are golden, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on size). Cool completely on wire racks.
To ice cookies, spread with the back of a spoon. Let the icing harden, about 20 minutes. Decorate as desired.


Sift 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar into a small bowl.
Whisk in 3 to 4 tablespoons milk, water, or lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
If too thin, whisk in more sugar; if too thick, add more liquid.

Use food coloring to color as desired (my niece and I spooned a bit of the icing into separate little bowls, tinting each one a different color)

YIELD-32 cookies


No Pressure Frozen Key Lime Pie

Giving a dinner party is incredibly stressful for me, which is why I never give them. I use the excuse that my apartment is just too small and no one over 5’5” would be comfortable but really, it’s because I can’t handle the pressure of carrying everyone’s good time on my shoulders. What if people are bored? What if they don’t get along? What if someone I didn’t invite finds out I didn’t invite them and then I have to make something up...”I’m so sorry but I thought that was the night you said you had tickets to name of impossible to get tickets for show goes here!” When really I’d want to say; “I don't like you enough to feed you." It’s awful but true. So, that rules out entertaining chez moi.

On the other hand, being a guest at a dinner party comes with its own set of problems. First, if you’re single you are expected to be the entertainment. “Oh, we’re so boring. All we do is hang out with our gifted and talented kids…it’s such a treat to see you!! We miss you!!! Tell us one of your great dating stories! Come on, one of the really disastrous ones. You are SO funny!” I guess this is what they mean by singing for your supper.

And then there’s the food. I don’t eat garlic, pieces of red meat or chicken where you can see the bone. I know, I’m already starting from a precarious place. That’s why I always offer to bring dessert-at least I know they’ll be something for my stomach to look forward to. I was once invited to a party where, with much production and fan fare, the host brought out a big cast iron pot, lifted the lid, releasing a nauseating wave of garlic, and announced “beef stew!” He then heaped a huge pile of plain penne on our plates and allotted each guest one small cube of meat, a few mushy carrots and two pearl onions. (Have you ever tried to stab a pearl onion with a fork? Don't bother.) And then everyone had to oooh and aaaah over this paltry presentation.
Thank goodness I’d made a flourless chocolate cake so I wouldn’t go hungry. The pressure to respond when there isn’t a good thing to respond to is just the worst. It's just asking too much of me. Whenever I watch the Food Network I feel so sorry for the ‘guests’ who have to regale the TV chef with “Oh Giada, what’s this I taste in your ravioli? It’s wonderful!” You know that poor person has been on the set eating cold pasta for five hours-take after take. It doesn't seem worth it.
My dessert offer was politely refused when I was invited to dinner at the house of newly married friends. After mixed greens with goat cheese, walnuts and pomegranate seeds, vegetarian chili and a crusty loaf the hostess came out with a pie plate and announced, “it’s homemade!” I took one bite of this chocolate chip studded pie and knew. This was the whole of a Pillsbury Slice n’ Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie log smushed into a store bought pie crust. Ok, officially it was made at home but it was not homemade. Kind of like the ‘All Baking Done on Premises’ sign at the diner-which really means someone dumped the industrial sized fake blueberry muffin mix into a pan and put it in the oven. What a crappy way to end a great meal.
There is just no reason to stop short at dessert. If you are being brave enough to entertain do it from soup to nuts! Or pie. This Frozen Key Lime Pie is so easy it’s almost embarrassing to call it homemade. I put my trust in Ina Garten and the Barefoot Contessa does not let you down. If you are thinking, “but I don’t really like lime,” don’t think that. You’re thinking of the green flavor in a roll of Lifesavers. They are awful and I’ve always wondered who picked the fruit that makes up those five flavors in the first place. Never mind that. Just make this pie and either bring it to the next dinner party you are invited to or serve it yourself. If I know it's on the menu, I promise to oooh and aaaah.

Notes: The only tweaks I’ve made below are to leave off the lime wedges she uses as decoration-seems like a waste since you’re not going to eat them. Also, I find it annoying that the wax sleeves of graham crackers contain 9 crackers, not 10. I didn’t feel like opening a new pack just so they could get stale so I just used 9 and it was fine. Yes, this pie contains raw egg yolks. None of the many people I have served this to have gotten sick. But, per Ina, "if you have concerns about raw eggs, combine the yolks with 1/2 cup of the lime juice used in the recipe in a double boiler. Whisk constantly over medium heat until the mixture reaches 140 degrees. Use in place of the raw egg yolks, remembering to add the remaining 1/4 cup of lime juice to the filling mixture along with the condensed milk and zest."

Basically Barefoot Contessa Frozen Key Lime Pie


1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (9 crackers)
¼ cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted

6 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tablespoons lime zest
¾ cup lime juice from 4-5 regular limes or 8-10 key limes

1 cup cold heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla


Set oven to 350

Make crust:
Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9” pie pan, making sure sides and bottom are even thickness.
Bake 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Make filling:
Beat egg yolks and sugar on high speed with paddle attachment for 5 minutes until thick.
With mixer on medium add condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice.
Pour into baked shell and freeze for two hours.
Make decoration:
Beat heavy cream on high with whisk till soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla, beat till firm. Take pie out of freezer briefly, spoon or pipe onto pie and freeze several hours or overnight.


Balloon Boy Digestive Biscuits

I have balloon boy on my mind. Not because these everything-that-is-wrong-with-America-and-our-culture-of-celebrity parents used their son in an effort to become Colorado’s answer to the Kardashians. No. It is for a reason much more personal and closer to my heart, or stomach. He threw up on national television. Twice!

I’ve had a deep, powerful and, I know, irrational fear of getting sick in public forever. Sometimes I think it’s why I’ve never wanted a huge ‘look at me’ party-no Sweet 16, graduation or birthday bashes. And let’s not even start with a wedding. What if, with everyone staring at me, I just threw up? I used to get panicky on the subway-sure I would faint, collapse onto the filthy floor and be one of those ‘sick passengers’ who forced the MTA to halt the entire transit system. This mind-set is also what causes me to deny any kind of help whenever I find myself sprawled on the street after one of my annual wipe outs. (Thank you CP Yang Market for indiscriminately dumping the water from your flower stalls all over the sidewalk in the middle of winter. Next time I’ll be calling the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg!) I could have a broken leg and I’d be shooing away helpful strangers with “I’m fine, I’m fine!” while hopping my way home.

All this to say that I have the opposite of a cast iron stomach-so when this poor, used puppet of a child became ill, I felt for him. And
then I felt a little sick. When that happens I find myself wanting something really plain. Please, I’m rarely so queasy that I lose my sweet tooth completely. I just don’t want anything too rich or chocolatey-a plain cookie and a cup of tea to right what’s wrong. I’ve always been a fan of Carr’s Wheatmeal Biscuits and McVitie’s Digestives. But I have a hard time finding the Carrs, and McVities are filled with our latest foe-partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
So, in search of some homemade control I did a little research, some tweaking and had the perfect, simple, wheaty, not too sweet but, straightforward and crunchy, biscuit. And no mixer required!

The next day, when you are feeling back to your old self and the 15 minutes of fame allotted to the Balloon family are up, these versatile little rounds will be even better when they deliver a bit of gorgonzola dolce and fresh fig to your grateful and sturdier constitution. Now just pour the vino!

Balloon Boy Digestive Biscuits
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¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour

¼ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger (optional)
1 Tablespoon rolled oats

4 Tablespoons butter, softened

4 Tablespoons brown sugar

4 Tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, (and, if you want a beat of soothing heat, ginger) into large bowl. Stir in oats.
In a small bowl, cream together butter and sugar (I just used a wooden spoon) and add to dry ingredients along with the milk. Stir together until mixture becomes a paste.
Scoop dough out onto floured wax paper and knead until smooth. This will only take a minute.

Place another sheet of waxed paper over dough and roll out until 1/8” thick.

Cut dough using 2 ½” round cookie cutter and transfer to parchment lined cookie sheets. Gather scraps and repeat until all of the dough is used. Prick cookies with a fork. (*Note-if dough seems too soft to transfer, pop in the freezer for 5 minutes and it will be easy to do.)
Bake 15-20 minutes until medium golden. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes and then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.


Let's Try Whoopie Pie

I cannot believe I just bought a jar of Marshmallow Fluff. And if buying this black hole of nutrition (but dentist's pay dirt) wasn't bad enough, I bought it from, what I like to call, the Kill Me Now Store. That’s the name I have given the tragic supermarket around the corner from my apartment that stubbornly resisted the sprucing up the rest of the neighborhood went through 25 years ago. The average age of the shoppers is around 97. The pre-existing smell of rodent killer mingles with the clients’ accompanying used kitty litter aroma to infuse the store with an appetite suppressing stench. The aisles are so narrow you can’t pass one of these customers if they’ve stopped their cart to load up on Friskies or Meow Mix and let's not even talk about the cashiers. Except I will-they make molasses look fast. Picking up your purchase (as if it weighs 100 pounds) they turn your item slowly around and around in search of the neon orange price sticker, use a pencil to punch in the amount on the prehistoric cash register, and with glazed eyes, mutter “$1.49.” No bar code scanner here my friends! We’re doin' it old school and our prices are outrageous to boot! By the time you finish picking up the thing you were too lazy to walk the additional four blocks to the clean Food Emporium for, your mood is so low it’s a wonder you don’t stumble through the smeared exit door, run into the street, and simply fling yourself into the oncoming Columbus Avenue traffic.
My need for Fluff started with this whole brouhaha over bake sales in schools. It’s making me crazy-bake sales are not why obesity levels are soaring! The reasons for the increasing waist lines of American children are so varied and far reaching I will not attempt to tackle and explain. But how can you deprive a child of that wonderful surprise, when you think recess will mean the hard oatmeal raisin cookies that comes two in a pack, but stumble upon a table filled with frosted treats, find $.50 in your pocket and buy yourself a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting, sprinkled with multi colored nonpareils? It is just cruel. Yes, the cupcake came from a box, and the frosting a can, but it is just one tiny cake. And just once in a while. That’s the point-it’s a treat.
Obviously, I am being nostalgic for the bake sales of my youth and really don’t know what a Duncan Hines cupcake goes for on the open school market these days. But all of this has made me think of the lame recess snacks we used to have when I was a kid. We were the only school that referred to the mid- morning snack offerings as “Milk Lunch.” We’d say “Oh, the milk cart is here!” And run into the hall to find one of the miserable looking women from the lunch room guarding her pitiful offerings-waxed paper bags filled with plain goldfish, some peanuts (the pre-nut allergy age) in a tiny paper cup, maybe a generic version of a Lorna Doone. My friends from other schools talked about Ring Dings in the cafeteria or Oreos in the vending machine. I’ve been thinking a lot about Oreos lately as I’ve been circling their latest variety, the Cakester. Although I have yet to try them I am intrigued by this homage to the Whoopie Pie, something I’ve also never had. All of a sudden they’re everywhere-in chocolate, pumpkin, vanilla. It’s time to tackle them myself and see if they deserve to be the popular girl.

After comparing and contrasting various recipes I settled on this one from epicurious because the reviews were the most positive and mostly because they didn't call for shortening. As always, I tweaked the portion size and used the largest (a generous tablespoon size) of my mini ice cream scoops for the cakey cookie part (or you can use a tablespoon) and then my 2 teaspoon scoop for the filling. The idea that their recipe yielded only 8 ‘pies’ was a little much, seeing what is in them. Also, the online recipe called for 1/2 cup of cocoa but the comments indicated the original printed recipe called for more. I've made the adjustment below. Again….this is a TREAT and one will be plenty. And plenty good!

WHOOPIE PIES-adapted from


For cookies/cakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar (I used dark brown)
1 large egg

For filling

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 cups Marshmallow Fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla

Make cookies/cakes
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

Using 1 tablespoon ice cream scoop or a tablespoon and the assistance of another spoon, drop mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 parchment paper lined large baking sheets. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 7 to 10 minutes. (note* my oven is small and I don't trust it to bake evenly with two sheets so I bake one sheet at a time.) Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.

Make filling:

Beat together butter, confectioner’s sugar, Fluff, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Assemble 'pies':
Turn half of the cookies upside down. Using 2 teaspoon ice cream scoop (or spoons) drop filling on flat side of cookies/cakes. Top with the remaining cookies/cakes, press down lightly and Whoopie!!!!!These will taste even better the next day, if they’ve been wrapped tightly. Don’t forget the milk, you will really need it. And don't be surprised by the ooziness of the filling-just part of the Whoopie joy. I think I'm starting to understand the obsession with this little cutie. Next time-pumpkin?

Yield: 20 three inch Whoopie sandwich cookie cakes


My Most Recent Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are many wonderful things about living alone-you can have dessert for dinner, you can dance to Justin Timberlake while making dessert for dinner and you can spend a rainy Sunday lying on the couch catching up on a week’s worth of “All My Children.” Not that I would ever do any of those things, I’m just saying. Yet, at the same time there are instances when someone else might be of use.

Like a few nights ago I had this really weird headache. Kind of like someone was snapping a rubber band at my skull in the exact same place over and over again. It would have been helpful to have someone around assuring me that I wasn’t having an aneurysm, or to pick out a nice outfit for my burial if I was. And then my heart started pounding at the thought that this could be my last night on earth and somehow I fell asleep and woke up to a new day and hopefully not my last.

On other occasions, like when I can’t open a new jar of jam or need help fastening a bracelet, I think “this is why God invented the doorman” and I go downstairs for help. But the other day I had an experience that nearly convinced me to find a mail order husba
nd, or set up a third bed in my nieces’ bedroom. After a long, sweaty run I was getting ready for a nice, hot shower. As I struggled to pull my jog bra over my head everything just stopped. It wouldn’t move at all. And I was now caught with a bra stuck under my arm pits propelling my arms forward like I was in the stockade. I was so sticky that it just wouldn’t budge and the panic that started to spread through my body only made the stickiness worse. This was not a case where going downstairs was an option. Neither was calling the super or knocking on a neighbor’s door. What if I can’t get this off? And I’m found sprawled on my bed having starved to death in this crazy position. So, I lowered myself onto the floor and wriggled back and forth on my back (like a dog scratching an itch) until the friction of the carpet pushed the bra past this hazardous point and I was released. Now I know why Liz Lemon figured out how to give herself the Heimlich. You just never know. I could have really used another set of, very familiar, hands.

But I don’t need any help making cookies-exactly what I needed to do
after my sweaty trauma, make something sure to be good. My search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie is like the search for most things elusive-you'll know it when you see, meet or in this case-taste it. This recipe is my most recent attempt at perfection, encompassing so many
different techniques and tweaks. These are really good-if not a bit more labor intensive. My experimentation will continue but stopping to rest with these is sure to please.

A FEW NOTES-use Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Chips to add a little depth of flavor-I use them for any recipe calling for chips and they take things to a whole other level. Also, I would never think of disturbing the deliciousness with nuts but if you are a nut fan, who am I to stop you? Throw in a handful of your favorite with the chips.

To portion them out I always use a two teaspoon sized mini ice cream scoop- that way I can have two and not feel like a pig!
My Most Recent Chocolate Chip Cookies
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1 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
7 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
5 Tablespoons white sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Ghiradelli 60 % Cacoa Chocolate Chips
Sea Salt

In a small bowl or on large piece of wax paper mix flour, salt and baking soda till combined.

Place 2 Tablespoons of butter in a medium sized bowl.

Heat remaining 6 Tablespoons of butter in medium skillet until melted over medium high heat. Continue cooking, monitoring butter and swirling occasionally until butter takes on a medium nutty color and smells like nuts too-about 5 minutes.

Pour melted butter over butter in bowl and stir until the 2 tablespoons melt.

Add both of the sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl and whisk until fully incorporated. It will be gritty. Add egg and whisk until the mixture is totally smooth. Let the bowl sit for 3 minutes and whisk again for 30 seconds. Do this sitting and whisking 2 more times.
Add the flour mixture to bowl and mix with a spoon until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. If you dare, take a tiny taste (don’t do it if you’re scared of raw egg!) and enjoy a toffee, caramel-y warmth unlike your mother’s chocolate chip cookie batter.

This is where you will hate me. Now take a big piece of wax paper, put it on the counter and empty the bowl of batter onto the paper. Fold the paper around the batter, put the paper packet in a plastic Ziploc bag (or wrap again but with foil) and put it in the refrigerator.
LEAVE IT THERE FOR AT LEAST 24 HOURS! If you have the self control, make it 36 hours. *A little trivia-the original Toll House Recipe called for this kind of chilled resting but somehow that detail was left off the back of the Nestle bag 50 years ago.

The next day, take out packet of dough and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using two teaspoons or, ideally, the mini 2 teaspoon sized ice cream scoop, scoop out dough leaving two inches between scoops. Sprinkle very lightly with sea salt.
Bake the trays one at a time, 8-10 minutes, until light golden brown and still soft. Cool sheets on rack for 2 minutes, remove cookies with spatula onto rack and cool completely. Yield: 36 2 1/2" cookies