The CHEWY CHOCOLATE HEART of Bad Habits

lots of heartsAS A KID, I WAS RARELY TOLD “NO”. I didn’t hear it when I asked for Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies for breakfast (Food was food.) and not when I abused the snooze button knowing I should’ve been on the F train en route to my 7 a.m. English class. I’d lie in bed and rationalize: I read Animal Farm already and, besides, my second class didn’t start til nine. So I slept through first period English for 30 days.

Most of those who hear this story tend to conclude: How ironic it is to pursue the writer’s life with English: Failed inked on the high school report card.

At the time, I didn’t realize my bid for success was tied to my alarm clock. After all, I may not be a morning person, but I’m a writer (damnit). It’s clear now, however, that my death grip on the snooze button is holding me back. amy • november 30, 2009

Beautiful_Blogger_AwardThis morning I woke up to find a small gold star in my mailbox – a Beautiful Blogger Award bestowed on this little blog by one of my new friends, Viola Comes In Colours. I can’t put my finger on what I did to deserve Maria’s kindness. Must have been the pumpkin pie ice cream shake that sealed the deal. In any case, I have a nifty new JPEG now.

To compensate for my lack of purpose routine, I bake. For the most part, I bake the same thing, chewy chocolate cookies, again and again because it brings Jason inexplicable joy. It’s like telling an 8-year-old that dessert will be served in lieu of brussels sprouts. For life. Jason could eat chewy chocolate cookies everyday if it weren’t for the fact that we devote the weekends to wandering New York City for rice pudding, miniature cupcakes and 6 ounce cookies.

I’m wary of sharing this information because I know how easy it is to misconstrue: hedonistic to some, excessive to others. Indulgent, irresponsible, unhealthy – like multiple bangs on the snooze button. Certainly, I see the merit of moderation, but, blame my parents, I also believe in the unwavering pursuit of happiness – even if the road is long; even if it’s on foot. You have to burn those calories somehow. So blog on, bloggers. Eat away, eaters. Some habits are worth maintaining. And while sleeping in is not a vice, exactly, I will work on snoozing less. amy • december 1, 2009

IMG_2776CHEWY CHOCOLATE COOKIES • courtesy of Jason’s mom who I’m meeting over the Christmas holiday on a ranch near San Antonio! Ten Days in Texas post to come. Note: Her original recipe is reprinted here with slight modifications, like the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of instant espresso, which was Jason’s idea.

1 1/4 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups unsifted flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
• • •

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Blend. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add dry mix to the creamed mixture.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. (Do not overbake! Cookies will be soft. They will puff during baking; flatten upon cooking). Cool on cookie sheet until set, about 1 minute. Move to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 4 1/2 dozen. Heart shapes optional.

Jason prefers them plain, but I serve them warm – to myself – in a mug of vanilla ice cream.

December 1, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , . cookies, Dessert, recipe. 6 comments.

Chocolate FOR THE WIN

chocolate thumbprint cookies ACI’VE BEEN BAKING. And crushing, chopping, melting, stirring, sifting, pressing, spreading, cutting, rolling, dipping, and photographing like mad. Two weeks ago, I entered the Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment thinking, “Fourteen days will surely be enough time to overcome 25 years of kitchen nightmares, to pick a worthy recipe and, of course, to write about it.” With only two days until the event, happening this Sunday at the Bell House in Brooklyn, I have a bona fide awesome entry.

It was a close call between Canadian chocolate bars and my sister’s chocolate thumbprint cookies pictured at left. In the end, I knew – No Guts, No Glory. So I confirmed: Amy Blogs Chow will be sharing 300 miniature Nanaimo bars.

Certainly, the chocolate thumbprint cookies were photogenic – cute, even – but baking 300 bite-sized pecan-coated butter cookies topped with chocolate kisses would have been akin to navigating a mountain with necessary equipment and years of experience. On the other hand, entering a chocolate dessert I’ve never known until two weeks ago (and never tasted until 2am last night) is like jumping off a cliff and building my wings on the way down. Should I fail spectacularly, I can always blame Canada.

I hope you’ll join the chocolate fest on Sunday. I even created a Facebook invitation. See you Sunday! You can meet my mom. She’ll be there since she lives, like, up the block.

November 13, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , . Brooklyn, cookies, Dessert, event. 2 comments.