A Take On The Chocolate Chip

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Oh, camp.

One Breath. Two Breath. Three Breath, four. These chicas are wild.

For those of you who are unaware, I have been spending the past three weeks being a Camp Counselor in Monterey, CA. A beautiful place, spent with hundreds of energetic and lovely (for the most part) young ladies.

The other day was the sanctuary of my week, my 24 free continuous hours granted every glorious Wednesday accompanied simply solo with the liberty to do as I please. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my girls, and camp is a blast... but sometimes you just need a break. As a matter of fact, I think they do too. There seems to be little time to linger and enjoy what is happening right now... and as our first session is wrapping up everyone is wondering where all the time went. In short there is little time to do "things" let alone do them well or even notice when they are happening. A problem indeed. It actually becomes impossible when your daily schedule is on autopilot and consists of:

7am Wake up
8 Breakfast (although I did see a camper take an entire peach pie to breakfast this morning; so I use the term "breakfast" loosely)
9 Class 1
10 Class 2
10:55 Snack
11 Class 3
12 Lunch/Fustercluck Time
1:30 Class 4
2:30 Class 5
2:25 Popsicle Break/ Sugarfest
3:30 Class 6
4:30 Free Time (Squeeze in hygiene maintenance, telephone calls, screaming, jumping, and maybe 3 seconds of sitting time)
6pm Dinner
7 Evening Activities/ Fustercluck #2
8:30 Night Meeting
9:30/10 (more like 10:30 in reality) wrestle the little ones into bed and hopefully regain sanity (usually 50% success rate)

Throw in crazy amounts of sugar, occasional disorganization and I cant flippin believe our girl's heads are still attached. Funny enough, all of this wondrous craziness was my inspiration to make some chocolate chip cookies. There is nothing that is more connected to childhood and understated than a chocolate chip cookie. We tend to dismiss them swiftly as being rather consistent, unchanging, and even boring (gasp!) using the standard ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, and chocolate chips. Its understandable how one might mistake the results of these darlings as being rather stable and unchanging. Au contrare my friends, since there is so much variety to look for in this sweet treat, I could seriously make hundreds of batches and not repeat the same flavor /texture/experience profile once. When you take the time to peer a bit closer, you begin to notice the techniques and elements that make all the difference in the world. Brown sugar lends a molasses flavor and chewiness. You want lightness and lift? Try beating your butter and sugar together on high for 4 or 5 minutos. Make your jaw work a bit more with a grainier flour and thus a denser cookie. Guaranteed chocolate in every bite, you request? Great idea... instead of adding more and risk overloading, cut up dark chocolate bars and find slivers and chunks throughout.

Its actually camp and its girls that make me think about my childhood and how I wish I would have paid more attention to the details then. The closer you begin to look at the one genre of anything the more varieties and differences unfold. So, I chose to look at the chocolate chip cookie. The other night I tried three different batches... the first too cakey, the second missing a certain je ne sais quoi, and the third just right. They will be dished out hot with milk to the girls on their last night, made with love as always, but more importantly....they are made with time. If only one notices, I'll feel triumphant, and hell if no one does... I always have my personal stash of leftovers and a chocolate laden smile.

Enjoy your time. Reading this. Baking these. And eating every morsel.

Les Cookies du Chocolat
adapted from here

1 3/4 sticks (10 TB) of unsalted butter, softened
2 TB cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces dark high quality delicious chocolate cut into various sized pieces
more turbinado for tops of cookies

Preheat the oven to 360 degrees.

Cream the butter and the sugars in high for about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides a couple times. Beat one egg into the mixture at a time, making sure each is incorporated individually. Sift your dry ingredients together: flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this mix slowly to the batter, reserving a teence for the end. Once everything is mixed up nice and neat fold in the rest of the flour mix and the chocolate chunks and slivers. We are now ready for the magic to happen.

Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto cookie sheets. Pop into the oven for around 8-12 minutes, depending on your oven and how done you love your cookies. After they start flattening a bit sprinkle some turbinado sugar on the tops...it makes all the difference. I like them when the edges are just turning brown and they are still nice and gooey. But hey, thats just me.

Enjoy with friends, family, and campers alike.

Music Pairing

Since I find it impossible to let myself recommend any camp friendly music coming out of Lady G*G*'s mouth, I will meet in the middle with Spice Girl love. Baby Spice would completely adore these cookies. And summer camp for that matter.

Girl Power.


Unknown said...

Love it!

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