2 cups (a 12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, aka chocolate chips (about 340 grams; you can chop 1 or 2 chocolate bars)
1 cup chopped nuts (Americans traditionally use walnuts, from walnut trees)
1 teaspoon hot water
Preheat oven to 375 F. That would be 190.556C.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually add flour mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreasedbaking sheets.
Bake for 9 – 11 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; then remove to wire racks to cool completely. (If you don’t have a rack, use paper towels on a countertop)
The dough may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in a freezer for up to 8 weeks.
Ruth Wakefield wrote quite a few cookbooks, and in a revision of the one that contains the above recipe, she added: “At Toll House we chill this dough overnight. When ready for baking, we roll a teaspoon of dough between the palms of hands and place balls two inches (about 5 cm.) apart on a greased baking sheet. Then we press balls with finger tips to form flat rounds. This way the cookies do not spread as much in the baking and they keep uniformly round. They should be brown through, and crispy, not white and hard as I have sometimes seen them.”
My friend Mona, a dentist who happens to be an excellent cookie-maker, gave me some tips of her own: she prefers to bake cookies in an electric oven to better control the temperature. She said that correct heat is really the last ingredient and must not be taken for granted. And she bakes them for exactly 9 minutes so that they will come out soft and chewy. Mona also taught me that the hot water if optional. As a matter of fact, the recipe on today’s bags of chocolate morsels does not include that teaspoon of water. Mona said that the hot water with the baking powder make the cookies fluffier.
This part of the blog will be dedicated to things we can chew on, or interesting facts about food we might like to digest. A lot of us know that to chew means to crush food in our mouths with our teeth so that it can be swallowed. But did you know that it also means to think something over, or sometimes to ponder a question or a problem? And to digest means to break food down in the alimentary canal so that your body can absorb it. Again, you probably already know that. But to digest can also mean to organize new information in your mind so as to absorb it mentally or to assimilate it. We can explore all four meanings here, with food and all things related to food.
The word cliffhanger comes from cliffs. Duh. Cliffs are vertical, or nearly vertical, rocks that have been formed by erosion and weathering. There are lots of famous cliffs, but the first ones that come to my mind are the White Cliffs of Dover, probably because there was a popular World War II song about them that was part of my childhood, and also because they are on the historical English coastline.
When one thinks of cliffhangers, England and its gothic novels always come to mind. Cliffhangers are the kind of story, book or movie that uses suspense either at the end of an episode or a scene. A good example was the way the final episode of Game of Thrones, season 5, was done. Jon Snow was dead. Or was he? Those of us who sweated it out until season 6 was aired were never really sure. The writers used old-fashioned melodrama, suspense and uncertainty, and the audience was left as if hanging from a cliff in a state of tension and apprehension. And that’s a true cliffhanger.
This part of the blog will not be able to offer any nail-biting cliffhangers, but it will have classes in series, and I hope they will be interesting enough that you will want to come back and read what happens next, even if you don’t lose sleep anticipating the next chapter. Enjoy.