Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week is upon us. And according to Mr. Man Pants, this ought be a weekly series, rather than a yearly event.
If your views are consonant with his, then you might as well take advantage of the celebration, for May is National Salad Month.
...who called me a Killjoy?

You know, if I weren't afraid of Mrs. Fields declaring me an endangered species, I would probably confess to you that I've never been a huge fan of CC cookies—no matter how awesome—so instead, I'll keep my mouth shut.

Cow extract and chocolate chip cookies go well together, so serve it with a tall glass.

Speaking of milk, did you know it takes 345 squirts from Bessie's udder to make one gallon of milk? I'd be curious to meet the Adonis who gets paid to run these studies.

In any event, here is my family's favorite CC cookie recipe. This is a rich, chewy, full of chocolate chunks cookie, with a generous pinch of Oh.My.God.

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 4 dozen cookies.

2½ cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks, or chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
On low speed, add the flour mixture, and mix just until blended. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chunks. Drop by tablespoons (I use a small ice cream scoop) onto sheet pans, 2 inches apart. Bake  for 12-15 minutes. Adapted from At Blanchard's Table.

Note: Bake the cookies right after mixing. Do not refrigerate the dough, or cookies will come out poofy and cake-like. And if you're the type who likes that sort of thing, I don't wanna know about it.

Happy CCC Week!


White Bean Hummus with Garlic Confit

My paternal grandma was the first to introduce me to the wonderful world of Middle Eastern cuisine.  Many years later,  it was  a boy, Kaleel, who reignited my interest for the food...among other things.  We were young and, somewhat, in love. I was the ‘somewhat’ in that fleeting courtship.

Lest you think I'm the  proprietress of Heartbreak Hotel, I'll let you in on a secret, I'm actually highly sensitive—the type who'll cry over  tourism tv commercials. And if it's a local ad, well then I'm inconsolable.

No, I  liked Kaleel, who was a sweet, hopeless romantic,  frantically searching for his soul mate. Whereas my  interests, at that time, were fashion, friends, food and frolic. And the prospect of marriage somehow turned me into a tower of Jell-O.

Inevitably, the day finally came, when I carefully sidestepped his advances to fulfill my own search.  A search  of the bean dip variety—hummus, to be precise.

I'm in love with this stuff. And have always  preferred the less pungent taste of roasted garlic in my hummus.  So, while skimming through a cookbook recently,  my eyeballs landed on this tempting trifecta of whole garlic cloves, poached in olive oil and fresh herbs. And I fell, hard.

It still has the mellow flavor of roasted garlic, but with less waste. Plus the added bonus of a garlic and herb infused oil.  All this, with a sexy French accent.

Chef Al  and I suggest buying ready peeled garlic to double  up on the  recipe, without the angst of peeling a mountain of garlic cloves—which, you know I would do—but, I don't want to.

Use Confit  in pastas, vinaigrettes, pizzas,  toasted breads, and can't forget, hummus (following  Confit recipe).

Garlic Confit

3 garlic bulbs, stemmed and peeled (about 35 cloves)
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup olive oil
Salt  & freshly ground black pepper
2 stems fresh thyme, or 1 sprig fresh rosemary

Place garlic cloves, wine, ¼ cup water, and olive oil in a small skillet. Season with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper. Tuck the herbs into the liquid, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer until the water and wine evaporate, and the cloves are soft and golden in color, 30 to 40 minutes.  Store in  a sterilized jar for 2 weeks. Makes 1 cup.
Adapted from: Crescent City Cooking, by Susan Spicer

In this hummus, creamy Italian cannellini beans step in for the chickpeas, and tangoes with the Confit, for an international affair fare I'd be willing to commit to, and  I do.

White Bean Hummus with Garlic Confit

½ cup Garlic Confit
1 garlic clove, mashed
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed *
½ cup Tahini
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons oil from Garlic Confit

Place all ingredients  in the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth. Adjust with more salt or lemon juice to taste. Makes about 4 cups.

*I cooked my own cannellini beans  until tender, and reserved  some of the cooking water to thin out the hummus to desired consistency.

Hummus was served with homemade mini pitas, and crudités (carrot  leaves, jicama, celery and cucumber sticks).  I love tiny food, don't you?

Share it with your significant other. This way,  a breath mint will be deemed unnecessary.