Monday, June 05, 2006

Closin’ Cookies

On Friday evening, Shane & I officially put our house up for sale. A few hours later, we had two separate parties asking to see the house the next day. Saturday morning, Shane ran around like a chicken with its head cut off cleaning the house, taking stuff to storage, etc., etc., where I was given the “job” of baking. He felt people would be more likely to buy the house if it smelled like pie and cookies, and who was I to disabuse him of that?

The real reason behind the baking was to prepare for Kian’s 11th birthday. We were celebrating with friends on Sunday and needed to get ready. As Kian isn’t into cake, I baked two cherry pies. (Nor is he into gourmet cherry pies either: these were Pillsbury crust babies with Comstock pie filling. I know: classy.)

For those who don’t like cherry pie (me) I made chocolate chip cookies. The Wednesday Chef reminded me that the NYT’s Amanda Hesser had published three types of chocolate chip cookie recipes earlier this year. So, like the Wednesday Chef, I made Hesser’s Flat and Chewy chocolate chip cookies.

They are awesome. Buttery, with a bit of saltiness (don’t let that scare you off – it’s a good thing) provides the perfect counterpoint to the brown sugar and chocolate chips. I made them with and without walnuts. In response to their deliciousness, the Toll House people have committed hari kari.

All the baking was done a few hours before the prospective buyers arrived. I displayed the pies in my kitchen and the cookies under a domed cake plate in the center of my dining room table. There were plenty of cookies (I probably got 40 out of the recipe) so I piled some extras on a plate with the note “Please Enjoy” and left the house in the care of our lovely realtors.

There has been A LOT of interest in our house. I like to think the cookies are responsible.

Flat-and-Chewy Chocolate-Chip Cookies
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. kosher salt (I used 2 tsps. Regular salt)
8 oz butter, softened
1 ½ c. packed light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 c. chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli’s 60-percent cocoa chocolate chips)
2 c. chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325-degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. (I stirred, but didn't sift, these together.)

In a mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and blend until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate and walnuts. Chill the dough.

Roll 2 1/2 -tablespoon lumps of dough into balls, then place on the baking sheet and flatten to 1/2 -inch-thick disks spaced 2 inches apart. (Place a square of parchment paper a bit larger than the dough on top of each ball, then press down on the paper with a drinking glass. It makes fast work of flattening the cookie.) Chill the dough between batches.

Bake until the edges are golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes 30 to 35 cookies. (As I used less cookie dough per cookie -- I think I have a small cookie dough scoop -- the recipe yielded more cookies. Each cookie baked up to about 4 inches across.)

UPDATE: I made another batch this evening, this time with toasted chopped pecans. They're really good.

Grade: A+


Lis said...

Good luck to you! Where are you moving to?

Miasys said...

I read your blog just about every day, but this is the first time I've posted. I love your recipes and your wit, it cracks me up. I've even got my mom hooked- she lives in Binghamton, NY (I live in St. Louis, MO.) Anyway, I used to do real estate, and yes, cookies- cake- anything with that vanilla aroma really trips a switch with buyers. We always tell people to put a few drops of vanilla in the oven & turn it on if they're too lazy to bake. It can close the deal, for sure. Good luck!

Laura Rebecca said...

Lis -- Thank you! We are planning to move "down the road" a bit to Canandaigua, NY.

Gena -- Thank you as well! That vanilla trick is great. Yesterday, when I didn't have that cookie smell wafting from the kitchen, I threw a bit of water in a pot and mixed in vanilla, cinnamon, and Chinese five spice powder. I let it simmer and it gave off a nice fragrance.

But that vanilla trick is much easier! Brilliant!!!

Miasys said...

Just make sure you only turn on that oven enough to warm it- that high alcohol content will smoke up tout suite!
I like to simmer orange peels, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan and then just leave it to scent the kitchen and house. Not as foody as the vanilla, but it smells clean.
Oh, and baking frozen bread dough (thawed, obviously)was another sneaky trick we liked to use. Nothing like walking in to the smell of fresh baked bread.

Acme Instant Food said...

*Whew* I haven't been able to leave comments in ages. Also, has anyone besides myself had problems loading picts into Blogger lately?

Anyway, God bless ya L.R.! I've been on a hunt for just such the chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you give it a seal of approval, I'm confident it's a good one.

Good luck on the home sell/purchase/move. Did that last year and we have declared that we are not moving out of this house until they come and remove us, feet first in pine boxes.

Acme Instant Food said...

P.S. Wanna bet that my yield is VASTLY shy of yours? Wanna? Huh? Huh? :)

Rachel said...

Good luck! I am sure the cookies will seal the deal!

Laura Rebecca said...

Thank you guys; I appreciate the support.

Sorry about the lack of photos -- blogger is driving me insane.

Anonymous said...

With regards to the house marketing: when our last house was on the market, I would throw some strawberries & sugar on the "jam" cycle of my bread machine, and boy, was that enticing! I am, of course, assuming that you have a breadmaker; I couldn't live w/o my Zo! Go King Arthur!

Anonymous said...

Hey -- thanks for letting me know you are out there blogging in Geneva. I added a link to your site -- please send folks along to mine. I am just starting but am working on it. And I would love your comments and an exchange link.

good luck on the house sale.

Acme Instant Food said...

So a good buddy of ours landed in the hospital this weekend with a blood clot the size of Houston in his arm. We are loading emergency BBQ chicken salad, chips and salsa in the car and rescuing him from hospital food tonight. These cookies are in the oven as I'm typing and will be his dessert. I think they'll be amazing and I'll let ya know how they turn out. But, I can tell you already that the yield is half of what you claim. *licking lips* gee, I really need some coffee right this minute so I gotta go...

Anonymous said...

I'll have to try this.We're about to put our house on the market.

Acme Instant Food said...

Yep, DELICIOUS! **Drinking coffee** as I suspected, low yield. **wiping crumbs** Maybe next time I'll tripple the recipe to equal what you claim. The east coast must be on some kind of a different system of measurement than us.

Laura Rebecca said...

Kevin, I'm so glad you enjoyed them. I hope your friend is doing well -- so kind of you to save him from hospital food!

Anonymous said...

I too am also a fan of the choc chip and walnut combination! These sound delightful :)

Anonymous said...

Any chance Acmeinstantfood can post his BBQ chicken salad recipe??? I checked his blog, to know avail.

Will definitely try this cookie recipe...flat AND chewy..yum!

Laura Rebecca said...

I would petition Acme directly, Anon. It DOES need to be shared!