When I was fourteen, I was grounded from Cadbury eggs. Not because I misbehaved, but because I ate so many. (They’re seasonal. SEASONAL!)
Unfortunately for my well-intentioned mother, I was already adept at sneaking and hiding food by this point. I slipped my friend, Allie, a fiver, had her buy enough eggs to last all Easter, and hid them in my sock drawer.
Hiding and sneaking food were techniques I perfected early in life. Like most families with multiple children, we were competitive about food. Did your family have a Little Debbie rule?
Ours was that each kid got one per day if you ate your supper. This worked until my oldest sister went to college. I was eight. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that no one was accounting for her absence; that extra Debbie was up for grabs! So every day I took it, went into the bathroom, locked the door, and turned on the water. (The water covered the sound of the wrapper. To this day when I wash my hands, I crave Fudge Rounds.) After I ate my bounty, I lifted some trash and buried the wrapper beneath it. (The trick was to get it in the middle; if you put it on the bottom, then Dad would spot it when he emptied the can.) Is it any wonder I dreamed of being a spy when I was a child? Thanks to forbidden food, I was well on my way already.
When I left home for college, there was no one to care what I ate or when. It was a glorious time at first, but I began to miss those halcyon days of sneaking around. What’s the point of being bad if there’s no one to catch you at it? At this point you probably think I’m some weirdo with unhealthy food compulsions. I’m glad to see I’ve presented myself clearly. The point is that there are still some foods I hide from myself. This is one:
I love cookies. Who doesn’t? Nazis, maybe, and other morally questionable unsavories. Most people, especially most Americans, love cookies. (One would think there is no way to make cookies better, but the Brits do it by calling them “biscuits.” I wish we did that; it’s like everyone is a puppy–so cheerful!) I discovered this particular recipe when my husband and I were newly married. Originally, the recipe was for double chocolate cookies. Somehow–divine intervention, perhaps–I had the brilliant idea to substitute peanut butter chips for the chocolate, and, ta-da! an addiction was born.
Is there anything those two can’t make better? I submit that there is not.
This is the first time I’ve made the recipe with Valrhona cocoa powder, (for more about Valrhona, see my post on Milk Bar’s chocolate malt cake)but I always use Dutch process. (The Dutch process makes a darker, richer final product.) The key to this recipe, and to all cookie recipes, is to chill a few hours or overnight. Why? I have no idea. I just know it makes them bake and taste better.
This is my daughter who loves to help me bake. And guess what? Now I have someone new to hide food from. Life has come full circle, though I have to say she’s more adept at finding me out than my parents were. The child can sense chocolate or sugar from a mile away. I don’t know where she gets it.
Valrhona Chocolate Cookies with Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
(Adapted from Nestle’s Best-Ever Cookies)
2 1/4 C. All purpose flour
1/2 C. Valrhona cocoa powder (or similar Dutch-process cocoa)
1 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 C. Butter, softened
1 C. Brown sugar, packed
3/4 C. Granulated sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 10 oz. Package Reese’s peanut butter baking chips
Combine softened butter, brown and granulated sugars. Beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined with no visible sugar crystals. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Add salt, baking powder, and cocoa. Mix thoroughly. Add flour a half at a time, mixing on low speed until just combined. Add chips, mix lightly. Chill a few hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 375, portion 1 1/2 inch balls of cookie dough. Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are cooked and centers are still slightly doughy.