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Friday, March 28, 2014

Milk and Cookies, Twitter and Bacon

Just as I was getting ready to teach my Twitter class* here at the Library, I saw this and laughed: "Bacon: the duct tape of food," tweeted by chef Michael Symon.  So true.  It's the all purpose fix-up for food that needs a little help.

Amazing when used well, but often overused, sometimes overpowering all else with its smoky salty flavor.  I admit that I have fallen under the spell of this seemingly magical ingredient and used it in some delicious preparations.  To wit:  bacon butter and bacon maple biscuits.  One bacon addition which I disliked:  Bacon Cookies from gourmet cookie shop The Milk and Cookies Bakery in the West Village of New York City.

Download this e-book from our Library website!
However, way over on the plus side for me were the Chocolate Chip Cookies from the very same Milk and Cookies Bakery.  They absolutely do not need bacon to be delicious. They are memorable and perfect just the way they are. In fact, I booked my family on a food tour of Greenwich Village on the basis of my foodie hair stylist Stacy rhapsodizing about those cookies. (Our tasting tour completely confirmed their wonderfulness.)

Best of all in my opinion is you can make these cookies anytime yourself using the Milk and Cookies bakery cookbook. We have it available at our Library as an electronic book.  (Just use your library card, then you can read it in your browser, or download it to your computer,  e-reader or mobile device.  Call us at 732-329-4000 ext. 7286 if you need help. Choose Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium as your lending library from the drop down menu.)

Photo from the The Milk and Cookies Bakery
Back to those Chocolate Chip Cookies - 1. They have an amazing crunch due to the addition of oatmeal that's ground up and mixed into the batter.  2. They have great depth of chocolate flavor from two kinds of chocolate: bittersweet chocolate flakes (make these in your food processor or blender) which are streaked into the batter, and large semisweet chocolate chunks (not wimpy chocolate chips).  And 3. They have both a  crunchy exterior and a soft middle.

Result - cookie nirvana.  Cookies even a bakery would be proud of. Or as my friend Barb said:  "You should sell these!".

I'll let you in on a few secrets:  these cookies require a little attention to detail, but it's totally worth it.  The first time I made them I brought them in to the Library and they were pretty good - see items 1. and 2. above.  But the texture, well, it was not quite right - the cookies were too big and too crunchy.

First attempt:  too big, too flat, too crunchy.
Second attempt:  gone before I remembered to take a picture. But totally like the first photo above.
I was determined to make them taste as great as the ones we'd had at the Bakery, especially since now both my daughter Kate and Stacy had raved about them, and I wanted to surprise my daughter with them for her birthday.

The second time I made them was a couple days later and I changed three things:  I shaped them into 2 inch (not 2.5 inch) hockey-puck-shaped rounds and then, before I baked them, I chilled the shaped rounds on the cookie sheets in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, and finally, I was careful to take them out of the oven when they were firm on the outside but still soft in the middle.

We had them as dessert after Sunday dinner, and then I gave the rest to Kate to take home for a belated birthday treat (make that really belated - her birthday was in June!)  I asked her to share some with Stacy who consequently texted:

Kate:  They pretty much taste just like the cookies haha.
Stacy:  "They taste EXACTLY LIKE THEM!".

So here you go, click here for the link for the Milk and Cookies  Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, and just be sure to follow the caveats above.  And please don't add bacon.

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Persistent Baker

P.S.  I read some of the comments for this recipe so there's one more thing to be sure to do:  when you cream the butter and sugar, be sure to use a standing type mixer (like a KitchenAid), not a hand held mixer, and when the recipe says "beat until very light and creamy", this means to be sure and beat it for 5 - 6 minutes until the color changes to very pale yellow and the mixture is noticeably light and fluffy!

* Check the Event Calendar for the next Twitter class, scheduled for early May 2014.

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