Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cookies to Forgive and Unwind

I have not been posting recently because I am in the midst of my prelims. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, preliminary exams are a series of tests that a graduate student must complete and defend in order to move on to writing a dissertation. Fun, right? It's pretty time consuming and stressful on its own, but add it to a schedule full of teaching, fundraising for the grad student association (we've got T-shirts!), and general living-life stuff (um, long overdue dentist appointments anyone?), it's basically taken over any free time.
This whole being busy thing may have led me to totally forget about an appointmetI made just days earlier with one of my committee members. It's never good to stand up people who are way more important and well established than you are. So, to make up for it, I thought I would make some cookies, because people always seem to like my cookies. And for good reason, they are very tasty.
Almond Chocolate Cookies3
I have been working on this recipe for over 3 years now. I took Alton Brown's Chewy recipe, some random flax-seed cookie recipe I found before I even knew that food blogs existed, and just started playing with the amounts and proportions and all these things. Well, I think I have perfected them.
Almond Chocolate Cookies2
The secret is really getting them out of the oven earlier than you would think, and then cooling them on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes.
Almond Chocolate Cookies1
Well, after I made some for my committee member, I realized that I had finally perfected the recipe, and had to make another batch for us to eat. We've been holding back, only eating 2 or 3 each day, and they've held up for a week now, and are still deliciously chewy, despite sitting in a jar that is nowhere near air-tight. Making these is definitely enjoyable, but eating them is even better. Perfect for consumption after writing my 3 hour prelim question about the ecological rationality of biased conflict responses.

Wet ingredients:
1 stick butter, melted and cooled (or, use that Smart Balance half butter omega-3 stuff)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat four
1/2 cup oatmeal, ground (I use a coffee grinder for this)
1/4 cup flax meal (I grind my own, again in the coffee grinder)
1/4 cup almond meal (you can find it at Trader Joe's, or grind your own)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

I do all this in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, but you can mix it all by hand with a wooden spoon, or whatever sturdy instrument you prefer.

1. Adjust racks in top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine butter and sugar
3. Add all other wet ingredients
4. Combine all dry ingredients
5. Slowly (but really, it doesn't need to be that slow) incorporate the dry ingredients to the wet
6. Add chocolate chips
7. Scoop large tablespoonfuls of dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart
8. Bake 8 to 9 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through cooking. (You could also bake one sheet at a time.)
9. Cookies should look slightly underdone. Cool baking sheets on cooling rack for 10 minutes.
10. Move cookies directly to cooling racks until room temperature, or eat right away.


  1. I like the eat right away option.

    So does this mean you're done with your written exams??

  2. Unfortunately, I am only about 2/3 through with the prelims. 4 more hours in-house, and two 3-hour take-homes still to finish.