Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Wonder of Dinner Plates and Cream Pitchers

I was raised in the kind of house where you would never ever dream of showing up to a party empty-handed.

Even when I go to a close friend's house, I must know what to bring. I really do want to know; you can't just say "nothing." I'm still not comfortable with the fact that my in-laws always say "nothing." If you say "nothing," you're getting a bottle of wine, whether you need it or not.

This may be a tad annoying to my South Florida friends; I understand this. But I was raised in a place where everyone pitched in. Someone brought a salad, someone else brought a side. My mom brought dessert.

The dishes would be lined up on long tables next to stacks of delicate Blue Danube plates and over the clink of silverware and ice cubes, you'd hear gentle exclamations like, "this is wahhhndurhful."

This kind of entertaining feels normal to me. It's not that I feel the need to "earn" my seat at the table; I just like to feel that I'm a part of things, I suppose; both the things that are happening here at this party, and the things that are part of our larger social relationships.

So, when you invite me over, assign me a task. It'll make me happy and keep me out of your hair.

This weekend, I made my chocolate chip cookies for Nick and Wendi's July 4th party. We nibbled them in little bites, huddled under the eaves as fireworks cracked and sizzled overhead. As the smoke drifted across the Intercoastal waterway, a yacht blared its horn in appreciation of the finale and a fine drizzle cooled our skin in the muggy darkness.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
A Fritter Original

1 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon brewed, then cooled coffee
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease two cookie sheets.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat until well-blended. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and coffee, and blend.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ground cloves. With the electric mixer running, add the flour mixture to the batter in 1/2 cup amounts, mixing just until blended through.

Fold in the rolled oats and chocolate chips.

Using two spoons, drop the batter in small balls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack. These cookies freeze well, as does the uncooked batter.

Makes: 2 dozen

The title of this post comes from the late, great Laurie Colwin's The Lone Pilgrim.


Grace said...

what you're saying about feeling the need to bring something along could be coming straight from my mouth--i feel exactly the same way! meanwhile, your cookies look just right to me; thanks for sharing your recipe! :)

EAT! said...

your cookies look and sound great. i like the additional flavors you added and the whole wheat flour. i have been using whole wheat white and have been pleased with the results.

Foodycat said...

I know exactly what you mean. And if you ask me to bring a dessert please tell me what you are cooking so I can match it!

Kelly said...

omg you just won me over with these cookies I have yet to make..chocolate AND coffee in one??..absolutely heavenly...can't wait to make these goodies.!

Kelly said...

oh p.s. I would like to add you to my blog roll..ok? :)

Sarah said...

Grace--Southern gals think alike in that regard! I know from your recent post that you love cinnamon, so you should give these cookies a try. They've got a nice cinnamon-y spice.

Eat!--Thanks for the tip about white whole wheat flour--I'll check it out. Using wheat flour in baking has been a challenge for me, so I appreciate any such tips!

Foodycat--Great point! Everybody wins that way!

Kelly--I aim to please! And I know from YOUR recent posts how much you love the java! Give this recipe a try--it shouldn't disappoint. And thank you so much for the blogroll link--I've done the same for you!