Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cookies From Pluto

To explain the rift between the sexes, a book was written called Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus. That may well be true, but what the book failed to address is that my son is from Pluto.

My son has a peculiar way of looking at the world and a mystifying way of expressing himself. This can make communication very challenging. No ordinary stranger can understand him; it takes an intensive language immersion course to make sense of what he says.

You don't believe me? I challenge you to unravel this one.

"Mom, did you see that car that just went by? I think it was a beaver. Kinda hortony."

Well, after much cogitation, I deduced that he meant it was a BMW (a beemer), and that it was silver, like the one our relatives, the Hortons, rented when they came to visit. Crystal clear, right?

Can you guess what he meant when he asked about "that stomach thing that you put into your ears and listen to your body"

Of course - a stethescope. You got that, right?

How about this exchange?

"Mom, you know those cookies that you used to make? We should make those."

"What kind of cookies are those, honey?"

"You know, the kind that are brown with the chocolate."

Multiple questions followed about the color of the cookie (dark brown or tan - "lightish tan"), and whether the chocolate was in the cookie, on the cookie, around the cookie, or just flavoring the cookie ("In it. In bits.")

Have you guessed it? Yes, it was these. Now wouldn't a standard Earthling have just said, "Mom, could we bake some chocolate chip cookies?"

Once the confusion was cleared up, we did bake cookies. Chocolate chip. But I was bored with my standard and wanted to try something new. I cracked open a brand new cookbook I'd gotten for Mother's Day (Thanks, sweetie!), and found just the thing. Moist, chew, chocolate chunk cookies. Oh, yeah!

The recipe initially irritated me because it called for a mystery ingredient I didn't have on hand. So I came up with my own substitution and it turned out wonderfully. The cookies have a lovely texture, and the taste is amazing. I normally make small, dainty cookies, but there's something fun about a really large, delicious cookie. You can make them either way, but I think you'll get more of the moist, chewy texture if you keep them large.

Those Cookies With The Chocolate
- adapted from The SONO Baking Company Cookbook

1/2 cup dates, pitted and sliced*
Boiling water
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I subbed out 1/2 with White Whole Wheat flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate

*Dealing with the dates is tricky in a small quantity, so you can make a big batch of date puree and store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator for later use.

1- Put the dates into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak for 20-30 minutes, till softened. Drain the dates (save the soaking water to make oatmeal or put into bread, to sweeten it). With a handheld immersion blender or small food processor, puree the soaked dates to form a paste. Add a small amount of the soaking water, if necessary, to get a smooth consistency.

2- Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

3- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda: set aside.

4- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the date paste, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through.

5- Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the almond extract.

6- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, beating until the flour is absorbed. Gently fold in the chocolate chunks with a rubber scraper.

7- Using a 2-inch (1/4 cup) scoop, scoop out the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, placing the scoops about 2 inches apart.

8- Bake for 14-16 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through the baking time. The cookies should be set, browned on the edges, but still very soft in the center.

9- Place the sheet on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. (The cookies will continue to cook with the residual heat.) Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to the rack and let cool completely.


Marysol said...

Lynn, I don't know what you're talking about. But I like your version of chocolate chip cookies!

You know, the one with the oval shaped fruity things that grow on some kind of palm tree.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

What a really beautiful model!
Cookies look good too.
The son, he's perfect just like he is.

Jennifer Jo said...

Too funny.

And no picture of Pluto Boy? I mean, the picture of Pluto's sister (I assume) is lovely, but I really want to see the boy.

Despite the communication confusion, he sounds like a right smart whippersnapper.

hobby baker Kelly said...

Oh I just love trying to elicit comprehensible facts from the kids when they are speaking another language! ☺ Love your post. And those cookies look fascinating. They must turn out fabulously chewy. I think I have exactly ½ cup of medjool dates in the freezer to use up so I will try this for weekend treats, yum!

Shannon Riley said...

Wow, these look so delicious! :D

Katie said...

These look wonderful. I've never seen pureed dates in a choco chip cookie before but bet it adds a yummy chewy texture. Can't wait to try. Love how you had to do 20questions to get the answer to the cookies :)

Elle said...

Never a dull moment when sons are from Pluto...but glad that you were able to figure out chocolate chip cookies and then make this recipe. Aren't new cookbooks wonderful?

Kasha said...

So flattered that you stopped by my humble blog. Your recipes are fantastic with delightful posts. Thanks for making my day!

Not Quite Nigella said...

He sounds absolutely hilarious! The cookies look wonderful, what I wouldn't give for some now!

Melinda said...

I am back! I have allowed myself to read my favourite blogs this morning!
Those cookies sound interesting. I am totally curious...what was the original mystery ingredient that stir your dander up?
Serena looks like you are going to take her cookie away, but she still looks cute!

grace said...

terrific and clever post, lynn! i love the recipe name, too. thanks for helping me start my day off with a smile!

Unknown said...

Hahha your son sounds like a fun person to be around. Those cookies look amazing too. That gorgeous girl is your daughter?