11 January 2010

Ooey Gooey Hot and Sticky

Chalk this up as a happy accident. (As opposed to the previous night's episode, which was far from happy.)

Click to see the deliciousness up close & personal

We wanted dessert badly late the other night, so I decided to bake some chocolate chip cookies. Not any chocolate chip cookies, but Thomas Keller style, as found in Ad Hoc at Home.

I'm generally not big on cookbooks, particularly for cuisines I'm already very familiar with, but Mr. Keller is an exception in this household. Some friends of ours back in California are serious T-kizzle fans (apparently they have achieved the kind of intimacy where one can throw hip-hop nicknames at the man, or so legend holds it), and we're not strangers to Ad Hoc, its awesome crew, and their seemingly infallible repertoire of food.

So much so, that I shelled out 50 bones and nearly exceeded my airline-mandated luggage capacity to bring this giant tome back with me from New York the day after it came out.

Also, Alannah has gone on the record to say she'd ditch me to eat at Ad Hoc. (I've referred to this story in our first attempt to cook TK-styley.) So again, it's a no-brainer that I want to recreate that magic in our own kitchen ever so often. Hell, sometimes we even outshine it.

But sometimes that "no-brainer" part kicks in... almost literally. Like when I try to make chocolate chip cookies and only put in half the flour called for by the recipe.

(Which is, by the way, 2 1/3c flour, 3/4tsp baking soda, 1tsp kosher salt, 5oz 55% chocolate chopped into chips, 5oz 70% chocolate chopped into chips, 8oz butter, 1c packed molasses sugar, 3/4c granulated sugar, and 2 large eggs.)

The recipe actually isn't all that different from many standard chocolate chip cookie recipes, other than the specificity of the chocolate and molasses sugar. Much of what makes a Keller recipe a Keller recipe is stark simplicity mixed with meticulous technique.

So here I was, making this seriously simple but sublime cookie, and midway through the baking process on the first sheet, I noticed that, well, I was literally cooking a sheet. The cookie dough had spread out into a giant rectangle covering almost all of the baking sheet in the oven.

Perhaps I should have known something was wrong when my balls started melting as soon as I spooned them on to the parchment paper. (And here I thought it was all the butter doing that...)

At any rate, I fixed the second batch by adding more flour, and it was a decent enough save, yielding some soft, delicious, hideously rich cookies.

But what to do with the first "batch?" I wasn't about to let all that good chocolate go to waste. Nor that molasses sugar that was probably the handiwork of some poor South American quasi-slaves (no matter what the Fair Trade label on the bag says). And, of course, all that gorgeous A.O.C. butter.

Something had to be done. So I folded the sheet into four, stacked it all together neatly, wrapped it tightly in parchment paper, and put some weight on top of it. Who knows, maybe I was on the way to making the heretofore unseen Chocolate Chip Terrine!

Fast forward to tonight. We had a lovely couscous dinner at a casual Moroccan nearby, skipped dessert in favor of some hot mint tea, and, of course, regretted skipping dessert after seeing the trays of luscious Maghreb pastries go by later. So we got home and I proposed making something with the layered chocolate chip abortion.

I sliced the stack into squares, heated them up in the oven (and for a flash under the broiler), scooped on a couple of quenelles of speculoos ice cream, and topped it all with dark chocolate shavings.

Et voila! I have no freakin' clue what I just made, but it was good. So good that T-kizzle and D-cizzle and company should put it on the menu at you-know-where.

Ok, maybe not, but it was the tastiest accident we've had in a while.

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