Big Girls, Small Kitchen: The Book
EVENT: In the Small Kitchen, Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You
MENU: Dark Chocolate Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks; Chocolate Chip Cookies with Milk and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Good news in the oven at BGSK!
No, we have not conceived a love child. Or maybe on second thought, we have conceived something, and maybe it is a love child of sorts. It’s not a little girl though (that’s Helena, daughter of Rebecca, who’s enabling our first catering gig). What it is: a book! It’s been a year-long process, with a lot of help in the kitchen to take the project from blog to book, and so since we got the deal, we’ve been baking. A lot.
We baked for Heather, our delightful agent at ICM.
And we baked for you guys, the readers, although we guess you didn’t know yet what we were celebrating when we enlisted you to tell us about your favorite cookies. Somewhere deep down, we must just have wanted to keep our apartments smelling like freshly baked goods so our glee didn’t run out. But more importantly, we baked for you because we’re grateful beyond grateful for your enthusiasm, comments, and suggestions throughout the last year.
Just like BGSK and books, milk chocolate and dark chocolate are so good in conjunction that it’s best to combine them whenever possible. That’s why for the two recipes below–one sent to Heather and one delivered to Katie–we mixed chocolate in two different ways, showcasing its more resonant semi-sweet side against its toothsome, rich milk chocolate-y aspect.
In fact, the cookies Katie received are quite similar to the ones her boss got to try the day we went in for our meeting at Harper. We’d actually brought a cookie for Heather, pre-meeting, but then she suggested we give it to Bob, HarperStudio’s publisher, instead. We piled into his office–three of us and four of them–and then we offered this one tiny (but delicious) cookie to one-seventh of the population in the room. It was a little awkward. Bob took a bite and smiled. Apparently, it did the trick.
Anyway, we’ll be developing the book, a cookbook-cum-memoir, out of the blog and the cooking and living we’ve done behind the scenes of it. It will have lots of our signature recipes, so if you come here for those, you’ll find them in the book, too. We’ll be writing up the successes and epic failures we’ve had in the kitchen and summarizing the lessons, tips, and tricks that have created our practice of quarter-life cooking. But if you’re more into gossip, we’ll also be sharing tons of details about the little life journey that transformed us from just-out-of-college kids of 22 and 23 to the lovely adults we are today.
So stay tuned, and give us suggestions if you have them. We’re really excited to be writing!
From our kitchen, where we’re celebrating! with cookies!, to yours,
Cara and Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOKS
I have a very clear memory of making a similar cookie (one that also called for melted chocolate in the batter) back in high school. The recipe was for a triple chocolate cookie from Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and Kate, my younger sister, and I had been dying to make it for ages. We finally loaded up on chocolate on a mom-sponsored trip to Whole Foods, and we came back ready to bake. Unbeknown to us, the fancy Valrhona chocolate bar we’d acquired was flavored with orange. Tasting the batter, and later the cookies, Kate I could not for the lives of us figure out what had made the cookies taste so…unconventional. We kept saying things to each other like, “there’s sort of a fruity undertone, don’t you think?” Finally, a teacher (we had baked the cookies for a class of Kate’s) came out with it: “I love the orange flavor,” she said, completely casually.
These cookies, similar to those of the story, are great made with regular, non-orange, semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips, which is what I used here. More important is the quality of the cocoa powder–I like to use non-alkaline Scharffen Berger.
3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons natural (not Dutch processed) cocoa powder
3/4 cups milk chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In the microwave, nuke the semi-sweet chocolate chips until just barely melted, stirring to melt the last few chips. Set aside to come to room temperature.
Cream the butter with the sugar and molasses until lightened and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and cream again. Fold in the room temperature melted chocolate until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Stir into the butter mixture just until all the flour is incorporated (the dough will be pretty tough). Stir in the milk chocolate chips.
Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 minutes, then leave on the parchment to cool at least 10 minutes before eating.
I have to attribute my appreciation of this combo–milk and semi sweet–to one of my closest friends, JoJo, with whom I spent many hours reading cookbooks and copying out recipes in the basement of the Harvard Coop. The first time I watched her pour chips from two bags into her dough, I was surprised. Then, almost immediately, I found myself a convert.
As for the chocolate chip cookie recipe, it’s more or less the Tollhouse one, and I think it makes the most exquisite soft cookies–just be sure to underbake!
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (you can substitute dark, but then use a little less brown sugar and slightly more white)
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour–poured in
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Mix sugars and butter in a large bowl. With a mixer, hand-held beater, or very strong arm, beat until creamy. Then beat in the egg until the batter is fluffy and light.
Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes or until just barely set. Cool for 5-10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a rack or a plate to finish cooling.