If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

The Ultimate Hampton Classic Cookies

         As promised earlier this week, this Chewing the Fat is all about the phenomenal cookies Andrew baked for the Hampton Classic, our annual Horse Show that’s a fixture of our summer calendar.  People raved about them!  And small wonder.  Andrew went all out to find the best-in-class recipes for everything he baked.  And by the incredibly small number of cookies that were left over that afternoon, he was a roaring success.  But then, who among us can resist a Chocolate Chip Cookie?  Who can turn their nose up at something with both chocolate and cream cheese in a one cookie.  And please let me know if you know anyone without a nut allergy who wouldn’t devour a cookie that comes close to the best Peanut Butter and Jelly you’ve ever eaten?
Alice Medrich, Cookie Godess

         Now in the interests of full disclosure, the Chocolate chip cookie that Andrew baked from Alice Medrich’s “Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt-in-You-Mouth Cookies” (Artisan 2010) is slightly controversial around our house.  Andrew, who annotates every cookbook he uses, wrote “love them the Best” and underscored “Best” twice.  This cookie is buttery and its edges are crisp and caramelized.  Their centers are chewy with lots of chocolate.  But on this side of the kitchen, I tend to favor a truly crisp cookie, a chocolate chip cookie that tastes wrapped in caramel dough…a chocolate chip cookie like….well, like last year’s Salted Chocolate Chip cookie…http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2010/09/hampton-classic-and-new-cookie-classic.html.  But that is so last year!  And besides, Alice Medrich is a cookie goddess.  Alice, aside from giving us her phenomenally good cookie cookbook, was also the first American to popularize the chocolate truffle!    She did so in Berkeley CA in 1973.  In fact, because Alice’s truffles were not, like their French counterparts, perfectly round but rather looked instead like a real truffle, they were even given the name “California Truffles”.  So Alice knows her way around chocolate.

Renato (L) and
Matt (R)

         As to the second and third of today’s recipes, frequent readers of Chewing the Fat will likely find it a yawn that Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, those Ad boys turned Bakers Extraordinaire, once again find themselves on these pages.  For all the baking-specific cookbooks we own, none get greater workouts at our house than Matt and Renato’s Baked Explorations (Stewart, Tabori and Chang 2010) and their earlier Baked: New Frontiers in Baking (Stewart, Tabori Chang 2008).  The books are just full of irresistible recipes.  But this one is straight out of Food and Wine’s new “Best of the Best”.  The cookie itself is surprisingly light in texture while staying deeply richly chocolate.

         For all the goodness of these two cookies, I believe I’ve saved the best for last.  Matt and Renato’s incredible Peanut Butter and Jelly Bar is simply irresistible.  If you ever enjoyed a PBJ, this bar has your name on it.  It will send you over the moon with it’s perfect combination of peanut butter, oats and jelly.  A word about the jelly. Andrew used Pollaner All-Fruit Grape Jelly.  Quite honestly, this is one of those cases when the quality of the ingredients are clearly responsible for the end result.  I’ve never tasted a better Jelly, so full of grape goodness! 

So here they are: Three fantastic recipes.  The ultimate cookies! Which makes me wonder….what on earth is Andrew going to do next year? 

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