01 October 2008

A day in the life...

Claire was mentioning the sameness of days and she is right (see my last post). It's much harder to mix things up when others are dependent on us for "support services'. Sometimes I find that pretty tedious and other times, when things move smoothly, I am pretty happy with it.

This week, with the girls out of school for the holidays and with the German back at work after the holiday, it seems appropriate for Berlin that it has been raining madly every day, thereby forcing me to stay home and not allow them to get their ya-ya's out at a playground. It is also impinging on my new-found orderliness. Oh well.

However, in between breaking up spats, suggesting games and playing them, I put together the New York Time's chocolate chip cookie recipe for the second time.  

Credit to spicyicecream for the original listing.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from
The New York Times
Makes 24

• 480g plain flour
• 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
• 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
• 280g unsalted butter, softened
• 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar (this is 180g of dark brown sugar, by weight)
• 225g granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 500g bittersweet chocolate chips (I used 200g because I don't love chocolate)
• Sea salt, to sprinkle

1. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Whisk well, then set aside.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
3. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. This can be messy, so hold a clean dish towel over the top of the bowl. Add the chocolate chips and mix briefly to incorporate.
4. Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.
5. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Remove the bowl of cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking try with non-stick baking paper.
6. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop six mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them evenly. Use a tablespoon or coffee scoop to measure out the dough. I then pressed the balls flat with a fork, criss-crossing as with peanut-butter cookies. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, about 15-20  13minutes. (I immediately removed the cookies from the sheet.)

Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. 

I made this a few weeks ago for a book club meeting and I was amazed at how much better these were than the traditional recipe one always sees listed (which is the Tollhouse cookie recipe, generally). The increased vanilla and salt in particular, as well as the decreased ratio of sugar to flour, make it a far less sweet and more savory cookie. I made versions with and without the sprinkled sea salt and the children (and adults) loved it both ways, so this batch was all with the sea salt sprinkles.

Then I threw together a newish recipe for beef stew.

7 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)


  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 grams beef cubed
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 3 diced onions
  • 8 stalks chopped celery
  • 2 bunches sliced scallions
  • 1/2  cups  dry red wine
  • 2  cups  water and 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes  actual dried basil, oregano and garlic
  •  1 T dried oregano, 1 T dried rosemary, 1 T garlic, 1 bay leaf
  • 1  cup  chopped carrot/ 1 chopped red pepper/  bunch of sliced mushrooms
Sprinkle flour, salt, and pepper over beef. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture to pan; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Add onion and celery to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add beef, wine, and the ingredients through bay leaf to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes or until beef is just tender. Add remaining ingredients to pan; cover and cook for 30 minutes. Discard the rosemary and oregano sprigs and bay leaf.

adapted from Kate Kunstel, Bronx, New York, Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2007

 I really need to start putting meal plans together so that I can buy what I need for the recipes I want to make, instead of creating the recipes to go with what I have in the (now completely empty refrigerator).

Thing1 had a lot of fun putting the cookies together with me, although it took a taste test for her to believe that baking soda and baking powder are not as tasty as sugar (and salt- she is my daughter, after all). She even ate some of the stew (when we pulled out the meat and the green beans for her to eat separately). 


Anonymous said...

Those chocolate chip cookies sound good. I may try them later, but today, strangely enough, I bought my first cookie pre-made cookie dough from the local grocery store since time is rather short these days. And I'm sure they're not nearly as good as yours.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Oh yum, I am really liking the savory aspect...must try these.

And I hope the rain lets up for you...we are in the same situation right now. A wet week for Germany!

C N Heidelberg said...

G, we're going to be in Berlin to meet up with some US friends on Sat Oct 18, any chance you'd want to hang out in the evening? I'm trying to contact Snooker & Yelli too! My email is linked on my blogger profile so let me know!