nyt chocolate chip cookies

i've sung my mother's praises here before- she's often the inspiration, if not source, for many of the recipes seen on this blog. growing up, she was a diligent and often ambitious cook. she cooked dinner 6 nights a week, and there was equal likelihood that it would be spaghetti or beef wellington. and my mom is filipino! i've always admired her willingness to take risks in the kitchen; since she's very meticulous and good at time management, she'd take on recipes i wouldn't dream of doing. salt, drain, roast, puree and strain eggplants for soup? no thanks, but my mom is already planning what to serve for the main course. around the time i left for college she started seriously baking, which, in retrospect, i'm surprised she hadn't done earlier, considering her fidelity to recipes. for a baker, a recipe is much more mysterious set of instructions, requiring you to follow in blind faith until many mintues later when you can finally determine if your product is edible. my mom will test a recipe 3 times, changing the amount of the most seemingly insignificant ingredients, in order to come up with the very very best version. she should be on America's Test Kitchen.

so when she called me super excitedly about the new york times article on chocolate chip cookies i knew she'd be a good judge of the recipe. unfortunately, since she lives in california and i live in ny, i wouldn't be the recipient of all her testing. but i'm sure my brother and dad are happy. can you guys please find a way to ship me some?

nyt chocolate chip cookies
, revised by my mom

45 minutes, plus 36 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao) chopped

sea salt

sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. set aside.

using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

when ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. set aside.

scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. eat warm, with a big napkin.

yields 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.


are you going to a fourth of july bbq? if so, this is the dessert to bring. glossy swaths of bright white peak out under a blanket of ripe red syrup, dotted with a sprinkling of blueberries. why it's red, white, and blue, you say? how perfect to . a fitting birthday cake indeed, perfect to commemorate our country's birthday. i'm sure our founding fathers would pleased to be represented by this delight.

oh, but there is one little snag. the pavlova is already taken. it is unofficially the nationally dessert of australia and new zealand, after it was made in celebration of a world tour by russian ballet dancer anna pavlova. their answer to apple pie, pavlova is found on most tables during christmas time. no matter, i'm sure they will share. it is too good to keep to yourself.

mixed berry pavlova
, from smitten kitchen

4 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup regular sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

preheat oven to 250°F (130°C) and place rack in center of oven. line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch circle on the paper.

pour the vanilla and vinegar into a small cup. stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.

in a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. a few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar. increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.

gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center.

bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. check on meringues at least once during the baking time. if they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around. turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (the outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)

raspberry sauce

1 10-ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons sugar

puree the raspberries in a food processor, blender or immersion blender. heat the puree in a small pot with three tablespoons of sugar, until it is heated through and the sugar is dissolved. cool the sauce.

whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

whip the cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. when it starts to thicken, add the sugar gradually and then the vanilla, beating the cream until firm.

right before serving, spread the whipped cream on top of the meringue and drizzle the raspberry sauce over. dot with ripe blueberries.


there is a jungle of tomato plants on my fire escape that i'm proud to have raised from seeds. they are working their way towards bearing food, along with some baby carrot and green bean plants. i also have a container for herbs, with basil, thyme, rosemary and spearmint. i'm very proud of my little garden, glad to look out the window and see the flash of green and excited to watch them spring to life from wet dirt and brown seeds. i'm working on become more conscious of the slow, fickle process of growing food- fighting with the previously friendly squirrels, furiously watering and watching lifeless leaves expand, tracking mud all over the kitchen floor while re-potting- and i find myself loving every moment of it. but as much as i've enjoyed gardening, i've noticed something very worrisome. it is very, very expensive. for as much money as i've spent on containers, dirt, plant food, seeds and cages, i could have bought a summer's worth of tomatoes at the farmer's market. i justify it as my hobby- just like buying music is for grace- but i'm troubled by the (and my!) overtly moralistic rhetoric of "home-grown food is the right/best way to eat."

if you haven't read it yet, the nyt freakonomics blog is a great find. the economic implications of everyday minutia are startlingly explored, and while it's sometimes a little far-fetched, it's always interesting. this post in particular about the sustainability of the home grown food movement is useful in framing questions of class, privilege and foodie culture. moreover, if those of us who can afford to, continue to grow our own food, not only will we lose the opportunity to purchase the variety of food we currently can at cheaper prices, but prices will rise for those who cannot afford the same luxuries. it's unclear to me whether this is a desirable outcome, since clearly food costs are only now starting to reflect true costs of production, and no one is happy, despite all the whining in the food community about big box stores and growers. a typical conundrum in the fractured global marketplace - finding solid economic + cultural evidence that retaining local control/practices/culture is preferable when dispersed and disparate large-scale ventures can offer similar goods and services for a fraction for the cost.


francie is unusually good at fitting her fat little body on to the smallest spaces imaginable. she probably sitting on 3 square inches of dresser here. and despite looking more and more like those ladies who try and squeeze into a too-small seat on the subway, she manages to maintain her lady-like composure.
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