Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Notebook on the road


This week my notebook is in Dad's kitchen instead of Di's. I knew that we'd be here in Pennsylvania for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie, and while I could just skip this week's recipe or put it off, I thought I'd give it a try despite the unusual venue. This week's Chocolate Chunkers come from Claudia of Fool for Food. I figured cookies would be fairly easy to pull off in a somewhat unfamiliar kitchen, and wouldn't need a lot of odd or difficult to find ingredients. What these cookies did need was chocolate, and lots of it. And me without my chocolate stash... =)

Before we left for our trip, I looked online and was able to find a number of people that had made the recipe before and posted it, so I didn't worry about copying the whole thing from my book. A couple nights ago I looked at the recipe and figured out what I'd need to buy. Bittersweet chocolate topped the list--I bought a bag of Ghirardelli 60% chips. (I melted half the bag for the dough and mixed in the rest for the chunks.) I also picked up a bar of Ghirardelli white chocolate--only four ounces, rather than six, but I'm not overly fond of white chocolate anyway. A tin of Hershey's regular cocoa jumped into the cart, and I picked up a new can of baking powder, since Dad's was dead (a use-by date of sometime in 2006, I think; I tested it and it barely fizzed at all). I thought I needed unsalted butter, but Dad had frozen some left over from when I was here in March. The one thing I missed was unsweetened chocolate, because the recipe I looked at didn't have it in the ingredient list. But I improvised with a bit more cocoa (1/3 cup instead of 1/4) and a bit more butter (four tablespoons instead of three). Raisins were on hand (unlike a lot of people, I love raisins and chocolate together), but I left out the nuts, since I know my kiddos don't like them much.

This is not the kitchen I grew up in. But many of the tools in it are familiar. Mixing bowls that I've used many times before, for instance. And a few newer things--like an unopened roll of parchment paper; my dad had no idea what it would be used for. My mom wasn't able to do much baking in recent years, though she used to do a lot. I remember the cheesecake phase quite well. =) And my dad isn't one for baking, though he tries... There was the birthday cake he tried to make for my mom one year when he didn't realize that the oven was set to broil instead of bake. Mmm, black on top and raw in the middle. =)


The cookies were pretty easy to mix up once I found everything. I'm not used to working without a scale, though. And I missed my favorite cookie scoop. Fortunately, when making dinner Sunday night, I figured out that the oven here runs hot and was able to adjust the temp down to 325 degrees F for the cookies. They took about 10 minutes to bake. I let them cool for a few minutes on the pan and then moved them to a rack. They didn't spread much, I assume due to the fact that there actually isn't a lot of butter in them (though the chocolate more than makes up for that). Brianna and Gillian woke up from their nap right when I was putting the first tray of cookies on the rack. Gillian immediately tried to help herself and was quite unhappy to be told that they were for dessert, later.

The verdict? Wow, there's a lot of chocolate in these! Yes, that should be obvious, but just looking at the recipe doesn't completely convey how much. Definitely have a tall glass of milk handy for these. Or a short one, if all you can find is a jelly jar glass like the one pictured above. =) (Another nostalgic find in the kitchen.) Everyone loved the cookies. My dad's favorite is regular chocolate chip, but he still managed to eat several of these. Brianna even liked the "chocolate covered" raisins. I'll be making these again. If you'd like to give them a try, you can find the recipe here on Claudia's blog.

For those who may be interested, my sister's wedding was beautiful, and everything went quite smoothly. The girls were both adorable. Gillian did manage to throw up on her dress a bit at the reception, no doubt because she'd been running around like a maniac. I don't have a good picture of them in their dresses, so the one above is from the park on Monday. They had a blast. I think my dad is more worn out than they are, though. It's been a good trip, though somewhat bittersweet.

27 comments:

  1. what an emotional trip it must be, cooking in your dad's kitchen with old familiar tools, a wedding, CHOCOLATE, and your mom's gravesite. i hope it has been a good trip, and cookies always help. that's my motto.

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  2. Your cookies look awesome (although I agree--that was a LOT of chocolate). Glad you had a good weekend, too.

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  3. So glad you enjoyed the cookies and that you had the chance to fix them with your family :)

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  4. It must have been a very emotional trip going from one spectrum to the other. (((hugs)))
    Your cookies look wonderful though! So rich and delicious. Well done!

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  5. Di-I'm so sorry about your Mom. It was sweet of you and your sister to leave your bouquets.
    About the jelly jar...what a blast from the past! :o) The cookies were great, and I'm glad you guys enjoyed them. These will be repeated here, too. And I'm also glad to see that the wedding went well.

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  6. Oh, my goodness, what a trip for you! That's a lot of emotion packed into one trip. Bittersweet was a good description, and since this is a food blog, it's perfectly fitting.
    Your two little girls are so darling, I bet they were the hit of the wedding.
    Of course your cookies are beautiful, even without scale, scoop or enough bittersweet.

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  7. How wonderfully touching.

    We loved these cookies.

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  8. I'm in love with these cookies!!

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  9. I love the road runner glass, and that you made your cookies in dad's kitchen. I am glad your family loved the cookies.
    Your sentiments are very touching and the dates on the gravestone sent me to the calendar. My father died on the same day this year. All I could remember was that it was Good Friday.
    The yellow flowers are lovely and your kids are adorable. What a great family.

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  10. Sounds like a whirlwind, emotional trip -- your girls are adorable! I am impressed that you were able to fit in cookie-baking while you were there! I totally agree with you about this being a milk-mandatory cookie. Glad that your family enjoyed them!

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  11. what a weekend you had. what a great family you have...and good looking cookies to share with them.

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  12. sounds like a busy, emotional trip, but a good one. i am glad your cookies turned out wonderful..baking in another kitchen is always a little iffy..!!

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  13. Looks like you had an eventful few days. Glad the wedding went well and you were able to spend some time with your mom albeit in spirit. Congrats to your sister. Being a newlywed is a joyous feeling.
    Clara @ iheartfood4thought

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  14. Lovely, bittersweet post. Thanks for sharing your very special family with us.

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  15. Your mom would love this post. very sweet of you. And your girls are just lovely.

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  16. A post filled with emotions... thanks for sharing it.
    I have to admit I do have a special love for your roadrunner glasses!!! LOL ...what a trip back on memory lane!
    Great job on your chunkers, they look scrumptious!

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  17. I bet your mom would appreciate baking entering the house again. I wish my mom had a cheesecake phase!

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  18. Di...re the white wheat flour..it really does not make a diff at all in taste for cookies, I have used it a few times for the TWD's and am always impressed you cannot notice a diff. But in a cake or cupcake, you def can.

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  19. Thank you for sharing your family with us. The jelly glass is a blast. And the cookies look good too. HEEHEE

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  20. Your cookies look much more palatable than mine. (I think I over chilled my dough.) I also am always impressed with bakers like you who can improvise by adding indgredients to compensate for others.

    By the way, I'm sorry to see that your mother passed away, especially at such a young age. I'm sure your dad was worn out by all of the events, but I be he loved the company and home baked goods!

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  21. I completely agree with the milk comment! You need a tall glass to get these down!

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  22. Thanks, Di, giving us a window into your weekend. It's full of all the things that make up our lives: sweet, poignant, familiar, new, mundane, momentous. Definitely brought tears to my eyes. Your mom was just a few years older than I am. I'm so sorry for your family's loss.
    Nancy

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  23. Wow, it must have been a very emotional trip for you. You have such a beautiful family. I have to agree with Nancy, it really was a beautiful post.

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  24. Lovely cookies! What an emotional weekend. Gosh, your mom passed away even younger than my dad (he was 62). It is so hard to lose a parent that early. Remembering them helps -- so great to bring the bouquets to the gravesite.

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  25. What a weekend. Thanks for sharing. And I love chocoalte and raisins, too. There are some of us out there...

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  26. Your cookies look great despite the challenge of baking in someone else's kitchen (and wow you have an amazing chocolate stash!) Your girls are beautiful, too! Thanks for sharing about your trip- I'm glad you guys had a good time even if it was hard without your mom. *hugs*

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