Hi. I’m here. And I have news.
Maybe you’ve noticed a decrease in post quantity as of late. Maybe you’ve noticed fewer tweets, fewer Facebook posts, and a general absence from the interwebs on my part. Oh, and I fully admit to totally falling off the Blog Comment Wagon. I may or may not have busted my face I’ve fallen so hard. As I was gathering my teeth from the side of the road, the Blog Comment Wagon kept right on movin’ and left me behind.
I’m sorry. If you could see me now, you’d see a toothless head hung in shame. I have an excuse.
Notice I didn’t say GOOD excuse because, really, there’s no such thing. But I do hope to catch up soon.
Now. The news. Yes. It is the most newsworthy piece of information to cross the wire in my world in a long, long time. It’s BIG. It’s HUGE. It’s EPIC.
Before we go any further, allow me to share what the news is NOT.
I am NOT, repeat, NOT pregnant. Okay? That’s NOT the news. No babies!*
The news is….drum roll please….
We’re moving! WOO!
I know, big deal, right? You’re rolling your eyes thinking THAT’S the news?! Yawn.
Hear me out. We’re not just moving across town or to a new house nearby…we’re moving BACK HOME! After six years here in Iowa, we have the opportunity to return to Illinois. Eric got a new job (same company, just a different location) and we snatched it up. Had to. Although we’re not returning to my suburban Chicago stomping grounds or to his rural Southern Illinois homestead, we’re going to be a heck of a lot closer to both. A LOT closer.
And we are thrilled. HOME. I’m giddy just thinking about it. We are biggest bunch of homebodies you’ve ever met. We just feel like we belong there. Being closer to our families is so important to us. I can’t believe it’s finally happening.
So. There ya have it. The reason for my absence. I haven’t been cooking much because I’ve been tip-toeing around our house trying not the touch anything in case we need to vacate for a last minute showing. My usual weekend baking activities have been interrupted by house hunting and trips to explore our new area. We don’t know when for sure we’ll move permanently to our new home (turns out the holidays aren’t a great time to try to sell a house. Gee, I can’t imagine why that would be! 😉 ), but it should be sooner rather than later.
We’re new to this whole house selling thing. It’s kinda hard. I have to make my bed and put the cap back on the toothpaste tube when I’m done. This is tough stuff, I tell ya! I decided to do the only thing I could think of to get people excited about buying our home.
I have STUFFED my freezer full cookie dough. It’s embarrassing. But also brilliant. See, every time there’s a showing, I pop a couple dough balls in the oven before we leave. Not only does it fill the house with the most enticing aroma of butter, sugar and chocolate, it also provides a sweet treat for our lookers to remember us by. How could you NOT want to buy a house that comes with cookies?*
*Cookies are non-transferable. Once the baker (ahem, me) leaves the premises the cookie responsibilities fall solely on the buyer. Sorry, no refunds.
Especially these cookies. Friends, we have a new contender in the race for Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever. This prestigious title, previously held by Alton Brown’s Chewy in this house, now goes to the Cooks Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Don’t get me wrong, both are good, but the CI version eeks out Alton in the texture arena. Where Alton’s are softer, CI’s are truly chewy. The edges are perfectly crisp while inside keeps a great bite. I also think the CI version has a greater depth of flavor, a bit caramely with hints of vanilla and salt and the perfect chocolate compliment. I don’t think the flavor of the cookie part is as strong in The Chewy. Warm from the oven or from the cookie jar a couple days later, these really are the perfect chocolate chip cookies.
Make ’em. They may sell your house one day.
THICK AND CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (Recipe Source: Cooks Illustrated, January 1996)
- 2 1/8 cups all‐purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 7 ounces
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ‐ 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper – and lower middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Beat butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined. Mix in egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Stir in chips.
- To shape the cookies: form scant 1/4 cup dough into a smooth ball. (I made mine a bit smaller than that, just a personal preference). Holding the ball in the fingertips of both hands, gently pull the ball into two equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and jam the dough back together at the base, leaving the jagged edges exposed on top. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheets.
- Bake, rotating the cookie sheets positions half way through baking, for 15 to 18 minutes (start checking after 13 minutes), until the edges start to harden but the middles are still soft and puffy. Cool completely on cookie sheets. Makes about 3 dozen.