Tuesday, February 26, 2008

*cookie monster.

What do you do when your brother-in-law turns 40? Do you buy him Grecian Formula (and really, do click on that link. There's a three-step color-changing process that is just riveting) and Centrum Silver? Do you give him white roses of sympathy? Do you make him a mix tape?

No, you do not. Those things cost money (I don't have any blank tapes). What you DO is craft an enormous gift from butter, sugar, eggs, and confectioner's chips of various flavors, because these are things you have at home. You accomplish this whilst working a miracle on the time/space continuum, as you somehow manage to make a monstrous cookie (no worries, there are disastrous results to report) AND shower AND race back and forth from the kitchen to the living room to flabbergastedly watch Paula make Strawberry-Apricot Preserves with no strawberries in it AND feed the dog. Dammit. I forgot to feed the dog. Sorry, J! Better luck next time!

This recipe came courtesy of Emeril, who I usually avoid because his basic thesis seems to be that his food only tastes good if you're yelling at it. Frankly, I'd had a long day. I didn't need to be WHAM BAM, THANK YOU MA'AMming the dry ingredients. But I didn't want to do anything ordinary. M is kind of an extraordinary guy. He needed something special. Something tremendous. Something that could be constructed using items I already had in the cupboard.


With some addendums/caveats, here are the ingredients:

Flour, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, 2 eggs, light brown sugar, butterscotch chips (I didn't have white chocolate ones), bittersweet and semisweet chips left over from this endeavor, and salt. Addendum: Not making an appearance is the butter, which was softening on top of the stove as it preheated (to 375). It's a great way to speed up the softening process without melting, which I think changes things in the baking process. I don't recommend it. I'm just saying—snickerdoodles. They had the texture of biting through 45s.

SERIOUSLY, how old am I today?

Caveat: There was also baking soda. I just forgot to add it for the photograph. I creamed the butter and sugar together

with help from my dear friend Coppertone. In fact, I took a completely superfluous picture after I'd added the eggs, flour, and vanilla, because I wanted to show her off. She's so beautiful ...

Isn't she?

Then the chips went in. I eschewed the nuts because ... M is allergic. Or I was too lazy to go to the grocery store to buy nuts. You decide!

Emeril suggests baking all of this in a pizza pan, which would make the sort of pretty cookie cake you see in the plexiglas cases in the mall. I don't have a pizza pan, so I just sort of patted out a uniform rectangle on a baking sheet.

Then I shoved it in the oven and hoped for the best. Everything spread out like I knew it would, but it cooked perfectly in 25 minutes.

But here we encountered a comedy of errors. I cut out stencils to decorate the top with confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder. There was a moment where I'd cut out the letter "M" and then realized that does not a stencil make. Because I am an idiot. That's why the "M" is an outline and the "J" is an actual stencil. I should mention that I freehanded those letters. So pardon the 4-year-old-craft-project nature of them.

The cake cooled, and then I tried to move it to a tray (read: the piece of cardboard I ripped off the back of a sketch pad I bought when I was attempting some sort of weight loss regime and thought perhaps the secret was to make a kicky chart. No charts, kicky or otherwise, ever materialized). You know when you pick up a slightly warm cookie, all gooey and melty, and it collapses in a chocolatey heap? Imagine that on a massive scale. I tried everything I could to get that freaking behemoth off the generic Silpat, but I eventually had to just give it to M and beg to have it back at some future date.

I know, right? Wouldn't you want that for your 40th birthday? Not me. I want this. And this. And this.


Doug Davis says:
at: 9:49 PM said...

the manner in which you 'stenciled' that 'M' probably is the best thing I've read all week. (it's been a slow week).

also, I totally say cupboard. and a lot of other dorky housewords too.

K. says:
at: 11:58 AM said...

i strive to bring joy to the lives of the understimulated!



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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.