My oldest “baby”, Hayden, just turned 22 and as he wasn’t home for a traditional birthday celebration with cake this year, I decided to bake him a batch of these amazing brownies to enjoy when he returned from college for Thanksgiving. They are a slight twist on an Alice Medrich recipe from her fab book, Seriously Bitter Sweet: The Ultimate Dessert Maker’s Guide to Chocolate .
Cookies + Bars
I call these "Twisted Turtle Bars" because they are my spin on the classic as presented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito in their second cookbook, Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented . I made these to bring to my eldest son and his cronies at college a few weekends back, and decided to modify the original recipe NOT because I thought I could make it any better, but because I didn't have all the ingredients I needed on-hand and so decided to make a few substitutions.
"Turtles" have always been, are now, and will always be candies that are made from caramel, chocolate and pecans. I love them in a way that is probably unnatural for a grown man, but really what's not to love about them. They're chewy, crunchy, sweet, and salty…and oh so cute if made properly so that they resemble little turtles with the pecans forming their legs and head.
As I was with Sarabeth's "Chocolate Chubbies" that I posted here some time ago, I am grateful for the quirky name that Flour Bakery adopted for these cookies. Having the word chunky in the name helps me to keep my intake of these dandies in-check as it is a constant reminder of the risks inherent in letting yourself go with a tin full of these on the counter. Enough said.
A brookie….what the hell is a "brookie", I can hear you asking?
Well, in my parlance, a brookie is a cookie with the texture of a brownie.
I decided to whip these up the other day because I needed a BUNCH of cookies in a hurry for an event I was hosting at my home. Rather than cook up multiple batches of much larger cookies, I decided to pull out my #70 portion scoop (about 1/2 ounce, 1 tablespoon) and cranked out about 4 dozen of these gorgeous little "brookies" in no time.
Ever go to a top-notch bakery and buy a huge, delicious chocolate chip cookie and wish that you could make one just like it at home?
Well now you can.
These behemoths, from the famed Tartine Bakery in San Francisco are the ultimate bakery case cookie. Fully 3" wide, they are packed with chewy-earthy oats, crunchy walnuts and decadently rich bittersweet chocolate. The addition of molasses gives them a depth of flavor that brown sugar alone can't quite match, and their generous size will satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth at your table.
Not to be confused with the dainty and ever popular French Macarons, these delightful flavor bombs are big and bold, jammed with sweetened coconut (and in this case mini semi-sweet chocolate chips), and made luxuriant with a mix of egg whites and pastry cream.
The base recipe is one from a favorite local chef of mine, and a HUGE supporter of Share Our Strength, Joanne Chang. Joanne is a wonderful gal, super dedicated to ending childhood hunger in the US, and a very successful chef and restaurateur. She is an owner (along with her husband Christopher) of the wildly popular Boston restaurant Myers and Chang, and also runs a growing empire of Flour Bakery and Cafe locations (currently 4 and counting) in and around the city.
I know what you're thinking. Wouldn't it be lovely if all we had to do to rid the world of conflict and bring peace was to bake a few batches of top-notch cookies.
Israel and Palestine…..fixed.
Russia and Ukraine…..done.
Syria's civil war………a thing of the past.
Lannisters v. Tyrells……..just make sure there's enough cold milk to go around (it turns out drinking wine in Westeros can prove fatal….poor Joffrey).
It seems silly to ponder a world where a single sweet confection could turn the tides of conflict and put us on a path to world peace, but if any treat could, then it would surely be these masterful cookies.
I have always loved oatmeal raisin cookies, they are among my favorite treats. I had making a batch in-mind when I picked up a monster container of Quaker Oats the other day, but before I could get them mixed up and in my oven I stumbled across this recipe for oatmeal date cookies. Given that I had a container of Medjool dates in my pantry I decided to make these instead, and I'm so glad I did because they really are a very different cookie, and they are super tasty.
I came across this recipe a few weeks back as I was looking for a kid-friendly treat to bring to a holiday party. The recipe is by Sally Sampson, a friend of mine, and the founder and President of Chop Chop Magazine which aims to inspire and teach kids to cook and eat real food with their families. If anyone knows what appeals to a kid's palate, its Sally!