Monthly Archives: February 2012

Recipe: Constitution Day Cookies.

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People react in wildly different ways when they find out I’m Tea Party. Many are surprised. A few unfriend me on Facebook. Others say something along the lines of Good Christ, you finally snapped out of it. About time. On that topic I will just say that my heart is liberal, but I learned long ago that pragmatism has got to trump idealism every time. My conservatism is fiscal first, and Constitutional second; I do love me the Constitution. Lawyers take an oath to defend it. (I wish more of them would remember that.) I am opposed to government having too many of its tendrils infiltrating my life, with the result that I am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-gun, and pro-Capitalist. What I really am is a libertarian in the most literal, rather than political, sense of that word.

But I digress.

These are called Constitution Day Cookies because they didn’t have any other name; Tony and I invented them, or more accurately I riffed off a number of other recipes as I am so prone to do. He added the crowning touches, being my number one taster and critic. And the first time we made them was on Constitution Day 2011, September 16. This recipe makes about 72 cookies — and uses six eggs and over a pound of chocolate (not counting the chips!), but less than two cups of flour. That right there should tell you something of what they will be like.

Two bits of logistical advice:

  • (1) Be sure to use the parchment paper. You can find it in the area of Target or the grocery store near the tinfoil and waxed paper and such, and it really makes them come out so much better and not stick. Spring for the pre-cut sheets of parchment if you can, because trying to cut the shit makes you want to kill yourself. Silicone liners or silicone cookie sheets also work perfectly for this purpose.
  • Get yourself a cookie scoop, one of those mini ice cream scoop looking things, and use it. These things are a real pain in the ass as drop cookies because of the texture of the dough, which is so much like a certain strain of baby shit I don’t even want to speak of it shit, I spoke of it. It gets all over your hands and makes you want to generally die. When I stopped using a tablespoon and started using the cookie scoop, I was able to lay down my batches in a third of the time.

Okay, okay. Finally: recipe.

Constitution Day Cookies

18 oz. unsweetened chocolate
12 tbsp. (1 ½ sticks) butter

¾ tsp. baking powder
12/3 cup flour

6 extra large eggs
4 cups sugar
1 tbsp. ground espresso powder (optional)
3 tsp. vanilla
dash salt

3 cups any combination of white, butterscotch and chocolate chips

melt together chocolate and butter in 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup or bowl, or top of double boiler, and set aside. combine dry ingredients and set aside. Blend together eggs, sugar, espresso, vanilla and salt thoroughly. blend in chocolate/ butter mixture. fold in flour mixture. fold in chips. allow to set in refrigerator for as long as necessary to reach drop cookie consistency.

drop with cookie scoop or by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone. bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until tops crack. cookies will be soft; allow to set before removing from pans.

Recipe: Butterscotch (Or Not) Bread Pudding.

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I’ve been so remiss — I put up the recipe for the instant bread pudding only, which is a sad, mousy cousin of real home-baked bread pudding.  For about 120 days I’ve been working at developing the ultimate bread pudding recipe based on concepts culled from dozens of recipes I’ve pulled from absolutely everywhere.

My theory of bread pudding is that it mustn’t ever contain cinnamon; cinnamon just makes it taste like apple pie custard, and if you want apple pie, what are you doing fucking about with bread pudding? What you want, instead, is lots of vanilla. (Me and vanilla are getting to be quite an item.) And the best bread pudding I’ve made contains Nestle’s butterscotch chips. But leave them out if you want; the whole idea of bread pudding is to make it your own. Just avoid fruit and cinnamon like the plague, and you’re on the right track.

The other thing you need to know is how to properly chunk the bread. I always use a sourdough or French for texture. If you chunk it too finely, all your butterscotch or chocolate chips or whatever will sink to the bottom and form a dispiriting mass. Chunk it too large and you’ve got a mouthful of custardy cardboard.  The key size for soughdough and French is a chunk about 1″ in diameter; crust pieces should be chunked about half that size.

So, now that you’re educated and without further ado, I give you:

Ultimate Basic Bread Pudding

  • 12 oz. day-old sourdough or French bread, torn into chunks
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 0.5 cup butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
  • 2 cups sugar: I use about 1.5 cups brown and 0.5 cups white, but you can use any mixture of white and brown
  • 4 cups cream (I use 2 cups heavy whipping cream and 2 cups half & half)
  • 0.25 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons Singing Dog vanilla extract; or 1 teaspoon Singing Dog vanilla paste

Chunk your bread into a large bowl and allow to sit uncovered for a while and get a bit dry. While the bread is sitting, beat 3 eggs in a large bowl; beat in sugar, cream, salt and vanilla; beat in butter last, because if it’s too hot it will partially cook the eggs.  When this entire mixture is well blended, stir in the bread chunks. Your mixture should be about the consistency of thick oatmeal. Then stir in any add-ons: semisweet or milk chocolate chips and butterscotch chips are my favorites.

Butter one of those oblong baking pans and pour in the pudding mixture. Set pan of pudding on a cookie sheet in the oven in case of overflow. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cover pan with tinfoil to keep top from getting too dry, and return to oven. Bake for another 40-60 minutes or until pudding looks done and is sort of a “jiggly thigh” consistency. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. May be served hot, warm or cold.

How to Serve: Screw that “serve cold” crap. The only way to eat bread pudding is piping hot — I reheat mine in the microwave in a shallow bowl — with half & half poured over it and then whipped cream over all that. I will waive the whipped cream if I absolutely have to, but eating bread pudding without a cream product poured over it is like eating cereal without milk or popcorn without salt: a hollow, empty experience.

How to Rationalize: Bread pudding contains eggs, milk and bread. So there you are with all your wholesome food group basics, except for vegetables. And fuck vegetables anyway — they’re not a real food group. Everyone knows the four basic food groups are dairy, grain, animal protein, and coffee. So you can live on a diet of bread pudding with impunity, and I swear to God, don’t worry about fat content. I have lost about 15 pounds since I stopped eating lowfat placebos. This bread pudding will not only warm your heart and your soul; it will make you thin.