15 August 2011

Eats: chocolate cake cookies

A few weeks ago... well, it’s probably nearing months by now, as the summertime has absolutely flown by. Right? I mean, Mr. P started back to school last week which means I have unfortunately lost my house husband. I have to do my own laundry and empty the dishwasher myself and the house just doesn’t magically stay cleaned up anymore. It’s devastating.

Anyway. Some undefined time ago, an old friend and her husband came over for a little visit! I’d barely seen them in years, and they were sweet enough to stop by for a few hours while they were visiting their family in town. Not around a meal time, not to do anything, just to pay a visit. Which strikes me as delightfully old-fashioned and darling and Southern, for some reason.

Therefore, I played hostess as a good Southern lady does, which meant FOOD. There are a lot of ways in which I am a giant lump of fail as a hostess, but the one thing I know is to have food when you have houseguests. So I made these cookies!

While running around the kitchen to make the cookies before they arrived, Mr. P commented “You don’t have to make cookies,” and I said “Yes I do.” Later my friend’s husband said, “Did you make cookies just for us? You didn’t need to do that!” and my friend replied, “Yes she did. Sarah wouldn’t not make cookies. She knows.” And we nodded at each other with the shared understanding that it’s just what we do. Southern ladies make food for their houseguests. Which is one of the many reasons that she and I are friends.

However, this visit was semi-short notice, and I’d recently used the last of our freezer stock of chocolate chips for cookies in a low-blood-sugar-desert-craving-fit. I didn’t have time to go to the store for ingredients to bake something for their visit – I had to make do with the ingredients I already had. And I’m not a fancy baker with anything other than the most basic pantry staples. But! I found this recipe that could do the trick. The only ingredients that aren’t common pantry staples are butter and eggs, and those things are usually on hand anyway.

All right! Since I was in a rush, I turned on the burner and set the butter on the glass top nearby.

Wait, you think that’s unsafe? Well, the last time I wanted to soften butter quickly, I put it, wrapper and all, in the microwave. And that is how I learned that wrapper contains METAL, and that it makes very bright SPARKS, and those will catch the non-metal part of the wrapper on FIRE, and also our microwave runs quite LOUD now. So this is an improvement!

Anyway, a few minutes later it was softened and easy to mix in with the other ingredients in the stand mixer. Again, I ignore any directions about separately mixing dry ingredients, because I refuse to bend to the dishwasher manufacturers’ conspiracy. Take THAT.

Speaking of those other ingredients? If you are like me? You measure them in your sink. Because this inevitably happens at least once every time I bake. Yet another reason I hate measuring.

Anyway, after I managed to get the cocoa in the mixing bowl, I decided the cookies were a bit... plain. I mean, I guess I knew that going in. That’s why I chose the recipe, because it had everything I already had in my kitchen. But still. I studied my completely disorganized baking cabinet forlornly...

Wait, what’s that in the back?

Hey, this stuff is from a Christmas party a year and a half ago! And isn’t expired! Because it apparently doesn’t have an expiration date! I thought back to my hoarding of chocolate bunnies as a child, not eating them for a year because I was “saving” them for an indefinite special occasion where eating chocolate bunny body parts was somehow MORE appropriate than it is at, you know, EASTER. I was fine when I finally ate those. So I ate a piece of this stuff and, still, did not die. Okay then! White chocolate chunks it is! I chopped it up:

And threw them in the batter. After mixing I put it in a bowl to chill in the fridge, per the recipe’s directions (I know, I measured and followed the directions and everything! Like a big girl!):

Fortunately Mr. P did not make any jokes about a bowl of poop in the fridge. It's okay if you do, though. I was tempted.

After not-quite-an-hour, the dough was still soft – more like “drop cookie” dough – but guests would be arriving so I didn’t have much of a choice but to start baking. I used my little cookie scoop:

And baked at 350°. Just like they told me to. I did NOT, however, dust with powdered sugar, reasoning that my perhaps outdated white chocolate chunks sufficiently fancied them up.

So there you have it! We liked them, and my guests really ate them up, so I am guessing they truly thought they were tasty and were not just saying so to be nice. Southern manners, and all.

Hope this recipe works for you the next time you want to bake a treat last-minute! And if you happen to be a last-minute houseguest, just remember that those cookies might be made with questionable white chocolate. I’m just saying. Even the best hostesses have to improvise.


Shanna said...

In my house, this is known as "what you've got cookies" [pronounced whatcha-got-cookies]; we also do whatcha-got-soup, whatcha-got-casserole, whatcha-got-muffins...well, you get the idea. I love that you've learned this concept so early in your marriage!

Hope your mom is doing well...