Monday, September 2, 2013

The Hampton Classic 2013 and The 5 Cookies that made the cut

Sophia Vergara at The Hampton Classic Sept. 1 2013
The Hampton Classic Horse Show punctuates the end of summer, coming as it does every Labor Day Weekend.  This year the punctuation mark was unquestionably an exclamation point.  The celebrity quotient was through the roof.  Sighted by us were Matt Lauer, Christie Brinkley, Martha Stewart, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kelly Bensimon, Kathy Hilton, Jon Bon Jovi, Jerry Seinfeld and, lastly Sophia Margarita Vergara Vergara. (Yes, two Vergaras according to her on-line bio.) 
I hate to be blasé about the other bold-faced names but Ms. Vergara was the stand-out. She’s absolutely stunning and much tinier than I ever expected.  As Gloria on Modern Family, she looks voluptuous as all get out.  In real life, Andrew thinks she’s likely a size 4.  With her fiancé Nick Loeb, she rocked the event. That’s saying something because in terms of spectacle the Classic is hard to beat.  Now I know this is a blog about food, and we’ll get to the array of intensely delicious cookies Andrew provided but first, let’s take a look at the Event.

         Our hosts, Michael and Jim, co-owners of the Bridgehampton Florist, are responsible for table décor for everyone from Mayor Bloomberg to their own spectacular effort which featured a blue and periwinkle theme.  This year their efforts were especially stunning since their long-time client Aerin Lauder supplied all the tabletop items from glassware to china. Aerin's eponymous shop opened this year in Southampton and it's pretty well taken the town by storm.  Here are some of the tables they did and a couple that they didn’t. 

Mayor Bloomberg's Table.
His daughter, Georgina took 2nd place at the Grand Prix

Marder's Table...the Bergdorf Goodman
of Nurseries is not to be outdone.
And last, but certainly not least, our table!

The clothing worn at the Classic defies any possible definition. You simply cannot believe the array of outfits ranging from unbelievably chic to unbelievably awful.  Some people look like they’ve put on the first thing that fell out of their closets.  And some people go to tremendous effort.  It would not be the Classic without the likes of Joy Marks.  Ms. Marks is one of our all-time favorites.  It’s not just her sense of style that’s extraordinary.  It’s the fact that, again this year, she wore not one but two outfits.  A pale pink ensemble greeted us as we walked in.  But not very long after that, there she was in shocking pink.  This begs the question “where does she change?”  All I can say is that if she can pull this off in a Portalette, she deserves a medal.
Page Patterson of Marder's Live Orchid and
Paper Butterfly
The hats come out in great profusion and they’re so much fun to see.  Here’s a sample of what we saw. 
         Lunch at our table was catered by Loaves and Fishes, the take-out shop that’s a Sagaponack landmark owned by Michael and Jim’s great friend, Anna Pump.  This year both lobster and chicken salads were on offer along with petits pois and a Yukon gold potato salad.  Our fellow guests provided the wines, all of which come from our pre-eminent vineyard, Wolffer Estate in Sagaponack.  But I have to say the piece de resistance was Andrew’s cookie platter.  This
year, he went all out once again.  5 types of cookies and bars were arrayed on a large white platter.  There were Lemon Bars, a recipe from Southampton’s Tate’s Bakery, Hungarian Apricot Bars from Nick Maglieri’s “Cookies Unlimited (Harper Collins 2000), Macadamia Butterscotch Bars from John Barricelli’s “The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter 2010) and two recipes from Alice
Cookies from Left to Right: Chocolate Chip, Hungarian Apricot Bars, Macadamia Butterscotch Bars, Chocolate Chip, Bittersweet Decadence, Lemon Bars, Chocolate Chip 
Medrich’s “Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-mouth Cookies” (Artisan Books 2010): 
Bittersweet Decadence and Chocolate Chip.  As friends passed by the table, and stopped to chat, these cookies proved an irresistible draw. So even if you could make the Classic this year, you can still make the cookies!  Here are the recipes:

Recipe from Alice Medrich "My Chocolate Chip Cookies"

The recipe’s secret is melting the butter and letting the batter sit overnight until the butter really soaks into the dry ingredients. The results are super-crisp cookies.

cups flour
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon salt
cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
cup granulated sugar
cup brown sugar
teaspoon vanilla extract
cups chocolate chips plus 1 cup chopped walnuts or 3 cups chocolate chips

1. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt to blend them.
2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Set it aside to cool.
3. Add the granulated and brown sugars to the butter. Stir in the eggs, one by one, followed by the vanilla.
4. Stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the chips and nuts, if using.
5. Transfer the batter to a plastic container, cover, and refrigerate for 1 day.
6. Let the dough sit out for 30 minutes to soften.
7. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
8. Scoop the dough onto the baking sheets in walnut-size balls. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the sheets, or until they are firm to the touch.
9. Slide the cookies on their parchment papers onto wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container. 

Recipe from Alice Medrich "Bittersweet Decadence"

1/4 cup all purpose flour - do not add more than this, you will not need it
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, I used Ghiradelli Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Chips
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped 
6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Melt 8 ounces of chocolate along with the butter in a double boiler (or in the microwave, 1 minute at a time at 50% power). Set aside the melted chocolate to cool slightly.
  2. In a glass bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Place over a simmering pan of water and continue whisking until lukewarm. Stir the warm eggs into the melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture and then add the chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
  3. Scoop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake until the cookie looks dry on the outside. It should still be gooey on the inside*. This took just 10 minutes in my oven. Remove to a wire rack. The inside of the cookies will be soft when you place them on the rack, but they will firm up as they cool. Enjoy!

Recipe from Tate's Bakery "Dot's Lemon Bars"

1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

For the Lemon Topping:

4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. To Make the Base: In a medium bowl, mix the butter, flour and sugar with your hands till the mixture is well blended. Place the mixture in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Pat the mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  2. To Make The Topping: While the base is baking, beat the eggs. Add the sugar and lemon zest. Mix thoroughly. Add the flour and mix it till it is incorporated. When the base is baked, remove the pan from the oven. Add the lemon juice to the sugar mixture and mix. Pour it over the warm base and bake it for 20 minutes.
  3. When it is cool, cut it into squares. Dust it with more confectioners sugar, if desired.

Recipe from John Barricelli "Macadamia Butterscotch Bars"

2 cups water
1 cup dried cherries
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (not chips)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking oil spray.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Place the cherries in a small bowl, then pour the water over them; let stand while you assemble the dough.
  3. Whisk together the flour and baking soda in a small bowl. 
  4. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium heatproof bowl; place over a medium saucepan containing a few inches of water. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts, whisking to dissolve the brown sugar. Remove from the heat and cool.
  5. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, corn syrup and salt to the butter-sugar mixture, whisking until blended. Fold in the flour mixture to form a smooth batter, then fold in the nuts and chocolate chunks. Drain the cherries and fold them into the batter; discard their soaking liquid.
  6. Scrape the batter into the baking dish, smoothing it evenly. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean except for a few crumbs adhering.
  7. Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into bars before serving or storing.

Recipe from Nick Maglieri "Hungarian Apricot Bars"

For The dough:
Sift together:
5 c. all purpose flour
1 c. granulated sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Mix in:
8 oz. softened, unsalted butter
3 tbsp. crisco
4 egg yolks
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
(Sorry, the crisco is essential here)
Flatten out and chill.
Nut and sugar mixture:
Stir together:
2 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts
1/2 c. sugar
Set aside
Apricot filling:
Cook over low heat in small saucepan 'til thick:
12 oz pound dried apricots, chopped
12 oz apricot preserves
1 c. water
To Assemble:
  1. Divide dough into three equal parts. Use a half-sheet pan, aka a jelly roll pan. Roll out one part to fit the bottom of the pan. The dough will be very soft and quite unmanageable. It's okay to use a bit of flour for rolling, and to use the pat-into-place method to fill in the gaps, or even all over. Spread two-thirds of nut mixture on top. Roll out second portion of dough. Lay on top. Cover with all of the apricot mixture. Use last portion of dough to form a lattice. Again, the pat-and-handform method may be easier here, and is perfectly fine. Sprinkle remaining nut mixture on top.
  2. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until top is golden and a peek into the middle shows the dough to be cooked throughout.
  3. These are actually better a couple of days after baking, and keep at room temperature for a week or more.


  1. Forget the Hampton Classic, I AM THE WINNER! Cookie recipes to die for! Think I'll eat them while I reread about Ms.size 4.... Ce la vie! lol.. Thank you Monte, fabulous!

    1. What a party that was! And Andrew will be thrilled someone loves his Cookie recipes!

  2. That time again, for Bittersweet Decadence and the Apricot Bars. That will be a good start for the cookie exchanges and Church functions that will be starting soon. So glad for my go to men. Thanks Monte and Andrew!

  3. Is it okay to post part of this on my website basically post a hyperlink to this webpage? hampton bay lighting company

    1. Be my guest Tanveer! I would be delighted. Please send me a link to your page once you've done so. All best, Monte Mathews