Thursday, July 24, 2008

Carpet Art, A Dog Psychic, & A Throwdown

It's been a dog day. I had a few things rolling around my brainage about which I might write, maybe relating to those napping cookies. Perhaps I'd wax poetic about specialty flours and my vast, exhaustive knowledge about them. But, first of all - I remembered I lacked said knowledge; and secondly, the day was just refusing to allow for luxurious moments of research and digging into food pornage. Fine, here's this instead.

I was on the phone with my dear mother-in-law (MIL) and we were discussing her dog, Cody, who is having issues. As we're talking, one of my dogs, Wylie, drops his chew - this should have been my first clue of BADNESS COMING since Wylie is extremely possessive of his chew. Then, he suddenly leaps down from the couch. I'm all, whatever dawg, and keep talking. Suddenly I hear a sickening and unmistakable noise coming from Wylie - a rather squirtening sound, if you will. Oh shit. Figuratively. Literally. And he's traveling to complete his carpet art. Here, there, over there - all over every possible carpet fiber.

And, yeah - I'm still talking on the phone, it's important (more on this later). Mind you, Wylie is ALL heart - and now that he's finished, the poor emptied fella lays down and looks at me - and he's all do you want me to go in the other room and cut off a paw because I will totally do it, I will - I just couldn't hold it. I get up, go over and kiss his little face, pick him up - and with phone stuffed in my shoulder area, proceed to clean him up while STILL talking. I get him cleaned up, he keeps his paw. I then proceed to clean the carpet with that enzyme crap that is supposed to clean crap and it's not working for crap, but what am I going to do - rip the carpet up while I'm ON the PHONE? I have my limits. Anyway, got 'er done. Or so I THOUGHT. Clearly, I am the daughter-in-law of the YEAR.

So, I was finally back to sitting on my couch - comfy at last - still talking about my MIL's dog, Cody. We were discussing his latest session with a pet communicator. What? Yes, that's right. Now, before you go thinking we're a nutball family 'round here who calls every 1-900 Tom, Dick, & Harry Pet Psychic when one of our dogs whines, please - don't go all LaToya Jackson Psychic Network on me, okay? She just got this little dude and I met him on my recent vacation. We are dog people through and through - and we have never in our lives seen anything like this little guy - just a shut down little dude, but he came from a completely wonderful home. After a bunch of vet visits (perfect health), my MIL remembered a Pet Communicator's name she had and *boom*, without boring you with a bunch of details - this woman pegged Cody completely, from just a picture - and he is depressed and misses his sister, Olivia, who he was with for a year. So, we're discussing a very depressed little doggy - and even crap will not keep me from this discussion.

But as I'm sitting there on my lovely sofa, I keep getting little whiffs of that bad smell - I know what it is, but I CANNOT find where it's coming from - I really can't, but I know it's somewhere on my lovely sofa. And now I'm thinking I might have a job for that damn pet psychic.

So, that was my dog day - and why this wasn't ALL ABOUT THE NY TIMES CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. Moving on to those cookies, finally.....

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well, a couple weeks ago, the NY Times caused quite a stir with their article about the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, which included a recipe originally by Jacques Torres and then adapted by David Leite. I tried the recipe and was kind of ho-hum about it - and it left me wondering if the two specialty flours really made much of a difference. So, I had a throw down with myself - I made the same recipe the next day, but with all-purpose flour - because I really didn't want to recommend the specialty flours if I didn't find them necessary. The result? Use all-purpose flour, period. Yep. There is almost no difference between the finished product, except cost. The big takeaway from this recipe is: go ahead and sprinkle some sea salt on the tops of your chocolate chip cookies before baking them - that was a WOW, brings out the flavor, and leaves a wonderful lingering finish (and of course add salt to the batter). Are they the consummate chocolate chip cookie? Not really; they're pretty darn great. Honestly, I like my cookies softer, more giving - so, I'm just not feelin' the ultimateness. So, there ya have it, folks. Wait...the OTHER problem: the fact that you have to let the dough rest in the fridge overnight - okay...HOW MANY times do you think I was IN that bowl eating dough? Yeah. PROBLEM.

2 c. minus 2 T. (8 1/2 oz) cake flour (or AP flour*)
1 2/3 c. (8 1/2 oz.) bread flour (or AP flour*)
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 c.) unsalted butter
1 1/4 c. (10 oz.) light brown sugar
1 c. + 2 T. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 1/4 lb. semisweet chocolate chips/chunks/discs, at least 60% cacao
sea salt

In a bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Using a mixer, cream butter and sugars until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time - mixing well after each addition; add vanilla and mix. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add chocolate and stir with wooden spoon to distribute throughout dough. Press plastic wrap against dough and place in fridge for 24-36 hours (up to 72 hrs. max).

To bake, preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment or baking mat. Scoop golf-ball size pieces of dough onto baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, about 16-20 minutes. Transfer pan to cooling rack for about 10 minutes, then remove cookies from pan and place directly on rack for further cooling. Repeat with remaining dough. Eat warm or store in airtight container. ENJOY!

*Count yourself lucky whenever flour measurements are given in weight, because with "cups" (volume) - you can end up with huge variances depending upon how you get that flour into those cups. So, if possible - use your scale to measure 17 oz. worth of AP flour; if you don't have a scale, use 4 c. of AP flour.


Unknown said...

Get 'er done, Ann, get 'er done.
I've been reading your blog for a while and think you're great. Makes me laugh every time!

Anonymous said...

"A squirtening". I own dogs and I nearly burst a vessel with laughter over this gem because OH how I know this very threatening sound. I had grab my husband to read this one. And why do they have to travel and get it in as many places as possible? Oh well, I love them no less for it.

I heard about that recipe and all I can say is thanks for saving me the cash, girl!

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! I, too, am totally familiar with carpet art. My 95 pound lab mix tried to be an artist once. He reacted the same way as Wylie. I reacted the same way as you. What are you gonna do? Gotta love 'em.

And salt on the cookies! Now that's just plain genius, girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

You never cease to bring me a load of laughs and I thank you once again. Dog psychics, crap, humor, a throwdown, cookies, great pics; does it get any better?

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons that I am not a dog person ... I can handle a neurotic cat, but this is the second dog squirtin' story I've read in the past couple of days, and ewwwwww. Baby diaper? That's one thing. Canine? Completely different.

NV said...

OK, I'm still not over the dough that needs to nap, and then there's this ... poor Wylie! And poor you. I've SOOOO been there. I'd almost rather saw off a limb than deal with it.

Abeer said...

Ahhhhhh! these cookies look soooo inviting! i mite pass out!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Please send those cookies to poor Cody, so so sad to hear about the missing sister issue... Now, don't feed them to your own dog, you defenetly don't want chocolate chip pooh on your carpet or sofa!
Dough in the fridge, yes big big huge problem. Baked cookies, even bigger...

Real Live Lesbian said...

I'm so glad you let him keep his paw! What a great dog mom you are!

Fridge dough? What fridge dough? It would NEVER live to see the light of the next day at our house!

Ann said...

Evelyn - I GOT 'ER DONE, got 'er done, lol!! :)

Rachel - Well, Wylie is a traveler no matter what - but man, why oh why during an episode? Ah well, poor fella.

Firefly - All I can be grateful for is 95 lbs. vs. 7.5 lbs. - yeah, I probably had it easier.

Meagan - Ah, thanks. I thought it was going to be an easy-breezy day about flour...guess not, huh?

Standing Still - I know, ew. But my beloved cat, may she RIP, had a few "incidents" as well. And how 'bout hairballs? Ok, those aren't as bad...

NV - I KNOW! Napping dough? Manager Mom put it best the other day when she was all "I need to nap, that dough can fend for itself!" - yep.

Abeer - Deep breaths! :)

Clumbsy Cookie - Oh yes, no cookies for the doggies! And dough problems...yeah, talk to me...

Real Live Lesbian - I'm telling you, that damn dough drove me NUTS sitting in the fridge, it was my arch nemesis the entire time.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, Ann. I'm glad to hear I'm in such great company - I can't resist cookie dough either!

Anonymous said...

Sound the trumpets: I'm baaacckkk!

Sadly, I haven't a clue where the ret of the doggie poo is but I suggest turning off all the lights, taking off your shoes, and walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water. That is, as far as I'm concerned, the most certain way of finding it. Let me know how this goes. Pictures are not necessary as I have three dogs of my very own who have... er... hastily parted with their chews.

Blessings to you, you good lookin' thing. In law of the year, too, since I reckon that you've earned the title.


Anonymous said...

Poor little Wylie, dogs are all heart. You are really a multi-tasker, I gotta give you that, impressive.

I shouldn't have looked at those cookies (beautiful pictures), it's lunch time damn you.

grace said...

i can never resist cookie dough, so i know for a fact that a bowl of it wouldn't last 36 hours in my fridge. i'm not even gonna try.
i'm proud of my multitasking skills, but i sincerely hope i never have to do those particular tasks at the same time...good for you. :)

YD, sometimes with ♥June and ♥Angel Samantha said...

I hope little Wylie is ok now. I know all too well about this, have 2 of my own...

Now those cookies look awesome! I wish I have some dough sitting in the fridge that are ready to bake....sigh....guess I will have to make some tonight and WAIT till tomorrow to bake. Sigh again...Why didn't you warn us yesterday that the dough need to be refrigerated overnight...oh wait, you did!

On another note, I have got a great new toy! Posted about it at my blog.

Gigi said...

I've been reading about this recipe and everyone seems to agree with you Ann. I usually try to avoid cookie dough in the fridge because it hardly ever makes into the oven! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for trying this both ways because I saw the price of the flours and the recommeneded chocolate discs, and I knew it was too much for my pocketbook, at this time.

Anonymous said...

apparently, all purpose flour and bread flour are interchangeable, and you only need to add a little bit of cornstarch to all purpose to approximate cake flour. the link below takes you to my favorite baking substitution site -enjoy!

Jeanine - The Baking Beauties said...

wow, what a post. LOL Your poor puppy, and yes, I do think you deserve daughter-in-law of the year award!

BTW, interesting about flours. I saw the two different flours and said "Nope", but now you've changed that to a maybe. :)

Ann said...

Patricia: I sometimes think I like the dough better than the cookie!

Lacy: You're back! I will keep any/all pictures of evidence to myself, lol!

Sarah B.: I even surprised myself this time. Food porn torture, I know!

Grace: It was pure hell. Could think of nothing but that dough for 36 hours straight!

YD: Ran over to your blog to see new toy - WANT IT! Love it!

Anon: I know, a bit easier on the $ w/ the AP flour. :)

Janet: oh cool! Thanks for that link!

Jennifer S said...

I've lived that dog story!

So how much flour, if we use all-purpose? 3 2/3 minus 2 T?

Anonymous said...

Friday food porn. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I don't even know what to say about the Pet Communicator... What kind of name is that anyway? What is she, the friggin Ronald Reagan of pets?

Laura said...

Mmmm... chocolate chip cookies and, uh, dog shit! Sounds delicious!

But anyway, I too have heard a lot of that "squirtening" sound lately. Dog tummyaches must suck.

Nicole said...

So, you never really said... Did the cookies end up being worth the hype once you stuck with the basic AP flour? I'm on a quest to find the perfect choco chip cookie recipe.

Love your blog, btw.

Ann said...

Jeanine: Yeah, it's worth a try with the AP; the other flours just didn't do much of a difference for me, but I was hoping!

Jennifer: Yep, all of us dog owners have been there. Sorry that was confusing. It's actually 4 c. due to how the flours weigh differently. :)

Rebecca: You're welcome! :)

Morton: I know, I know...sigh!

Laura: Isn't it APPETIZING? Lovely isn't it? Dang dogs ruined my gig.

Nicole: I don't think it's the ultimate. I really don't. I truly like my ch.chip cookies to be soft - I want my teeth to sort of sink in, I don't want much crispiness/crunch at all; these had more crunch than I prefer. If I made them again, I think I'd try under baking them. But really, I think next time I'm going to look for a "soft" cookie.

Mrs. G. said...

Cat girl here, but we are united by the cookie. Oh my God those look good.

Manager Mom said...

Oh...thinking about Wylie's projectile pooping issues while looking at that picture of the chocolate chip cookies... just so wrong, yet somehow so right.

Nic said...

Very funny! The cookies look fabulous, I must try the salt thing sometime!

Ducky said...

Hay Anne
My name may be a dead givaway but... Can you gess who I am? I know you personly; I live in MN; I have a tiny white dog named Romeo? It's me Grace Hope to see you soon.
Your neice, Grace

P.S. Emma says is here to. She wants to know where the resipys are