It’s New Year’s Eve. I’m in New Orleans. There’s a huge shindig down in Jackson Square, at least two masquerade balls, and I have no doubt that Bourbon Street is in full swing. Closer to home, I hear fireworks, and at least one of the bars in walking distance is having some kind of event.
This city takes its holidays seriously, enough that even I feel like I might be missing out on something by staying in tonight. I mean, a masquerade? How do you pass that up? Especially given that I own a lovely venetian mask which I never have occasion to wear. But honestly, it’s a relief. There’s no need to caffeinate to keep energy up until midnight, no crowd of party-goers to shout over. And if I’d gone to a masked ball, I’d have missed out on and evening lounging on the couch in purple argyle socks, watching Blade Runner and eating seared duck and couscous.
On an unrelated note, I made chocolate chip cookies during the insane holiday baking spree a couple of weeks ago. I never make chocolate chip cookies. Really. This is the second time since high school that it’s happened. But after all this time, I still remember exactly how it’s done.
Ingredients (makes 2 dozen)
16 T (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 T vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
3 chocolate bars, preferably all different
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cream butter in a mixer. Add sugars and continue to mix until thoroughly combined.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix just to combine.
Add flour, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg, and mix again to combine.
Chop the chocolate bars. The size of the chunks is really up to you. I prefer them about 1 cm².
Add the chopped chocolate to the batter. . .
. . .and fold it in.
Then just drop the batter in about 1 1/2 tablespoon blobs onto parchment lined cookie sheets. I don’t measure. I just estimate blobs to approximately the size of a golf ball.
Bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven, add a small pinch of kosher salt to the whole batch. It sounds crazy, I know, but just go with it. Salt is delicious.
If you’re baking cookies to ship halfway across the country, do not attempt to get them bagged and shipped five minutes after they come out of the oven, even if the post office is closing in twenty minutes. You will get chocolate everywhere.
Don’t tell the recipient of your cookies if you used a nonstandard flavor of chocolate bar, either. It’s amusing to hear about an office arguing over whether the hint of flavor in the cookies is orange or coffee. It was coffee, incidentally. Coffee goes with nutmeg. If I were using orange peel or orange oil, I’d swap the nutmeg with anise and then never ever share the cookies because that combination is amazing.
Happy new year!