Monday, May 01, 2006

Cookie Queen

Well, it was such a beautiful blue spring day yesterday, all I wanted to do was bake a strawberry-rhubarb pie. But the thing about pie is, it's something you've got to share. And not just the pie itself, but the sweet buttery-fruity smell while it's baking, and then the piece cold out of the fridge the next morning with a cup of coffee. So I stood there in the kitchen, realizing that I was out of white flour, and thought that rather than trying to round up B. and other neighborhood pals to eat this pie, I'd just wait til K. got here and we'd make that pie together. In less than a week now, depending on how long it takes before she can get a seat on the next flight out of Central Asia. It will be a long, multi-stopped trip for her, but at the end of it, she'll be here in Brooklyn with me again, and already I'm doing happy little tap dances of anticipation.

Plus, the rhubarb at the store was limp and kind of shriveled--not what you want at something like $6 a pound. Patience, patience is all. So instead I made my favorite chocolate chip cookies, the ones we used to call everything cookies when we were kids, because we used to put just about everything in the cabinet in them--raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, oatmeal, and yes, Rice Krispies.

I particularly like these cookies when they come out well-browned, thin and very crunchy--you'll get little brown crumbs all over your sheets but that browned-butter flavor is worth it. The way to make this happen is to use less flour than the usual back-of-the-Nestle-bag recipe, so the dough is very soft and spreads thin in the oven. I often worry that the dough's too soft and add more flour at the last minute, and then I get these hard little rocks. Have faith. Also, I almost never measure the add-ins--I just dump in as much as I have lying around, or what looks right. Don't be stingy--the whole point of these is to have just enough interstitial cookie to hold together all the goodies.

Everything Cookies Instead of Pie

1 stick (4 oz or 1/2 cup) butter, softened
2/3 cup raw granulated (demerara) sugar (or plain old white sugar, or, even better, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup white sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup rolled oats (more or less)
1 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or more, if you want)
1/2 cup raisins (ditto)
some Rice Krispies, if you want

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugar(s) together. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Stir dry into butter mix, stirring gently until just combined. Add oats, chips, nuts and raisins, stirring until mixed. Drop by spoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie and bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Let cool on rack.

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