Saturday, October 20, 2012

Homemade Oreos

A chocolate cookie is like a warm hug. It can say "I love you" like nothing else. And so I left the house last night with a big box of I love you's in my suitcase and a song in my heart. I'm seeing my best friends after more than two years and going back home after well over one year. . . Not even a 3.5 hour flight day and the ensuing 6 hours spent at the airport have dampened my spirit. I'm beyond excited to see them and elated at the prospect of getting a brief break from expatriate life.

In the years that we haven't met each other new babies have been born, older ones have grown and lives have really evolved. I still have a hard time imagining them in their new mommy roles because we've spent such pitifully little time together since we all had children and, in my case, went to live on a different continent altogether. There is so much to catch up on despite daily chats on whatsapp and frequent photo exchanges. "Friends for twenty-five years" sounds awesome and truly is. .. More sisters than friends, these two are my best critics, strongest supporters and confidantes. There's nothing I can't talk to them about and can always expect them to give me the best advice, soothe my aching soul. I love them more than words can describe.

I could catch a nap on the plane but am looking at the clock instead, and writing this post, too excited to sleep. An hour away. Tick, tock. And our brief interlude will begin.

One sleepy evening this past week I was browsing through my Instagram newsfeed and came across a photo of TKOs (Thomas Keller Oreo Cookies). Intrigued, I looked up the recipe online and was completely sold when I saw that these homemade 'oreos' consist of a white chocolate ganache sandwiched between two sablé cookies. There could not be a better homemade treat to take along for my friends. So I got started on a batch right away. As soon as the dough was ready I knew I finally nailed it - several frustrating attempts at making World Peace Cookies (my dough is invariably always crumbly and the logs fall apart when I slice them) had made me lose faith in myself when it came to sablés. Not any more! These cookies had the perfect, formerly elusive, sandy texture and the intense chocolate flavor I was looking for. Unfortunately I cannot eat dairy at present so dared only a small bite of the sablé with a hint of ganache so I cannot tell you how perfectly paired they are. But from the aromas in my kitchen and the stamp of approval from my little (almost) 5-yr old gourmande-in-training tells me these cookies are pretty awesome. And I can tell you, based on the tiny bite I took, that they are better than Oreos. Now if these aren't the embodiment of love, what is? You can find the recipe here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday marks the first time my son traveled without me. I made these cookies because the chocolate chip kind are his favorite, because I was going to miss him and because I wanted to surprise him by hiding a small tin of these in his carry-on luggage. I imagine he reached into his bag and found the tin sandwiched between his books. Then he smiled, pulled out one cookie, placed the tin on his lap and began reading...

This recipe comes from Nestle Kitchens and yields quite possibly the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made. I used whole wheat flour and substituted dark chocolate for the chocolate chips. If you like cookies that are crisp around the edges but perfectly chewy in the middle this recipe is for you. My son says these are winners so I may never make a different kind.


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