(I didn’t realize how fuzzy these pictures were until I uploaded them. Sorry!)
I am all about these cookies. These are my go-to, friend-making, all-around best chocolate chip cookies, and I decided it was time for their Italian debut. Except I got a little over-zealous while in town picking up ingredients and told everyone I knew that I would bring them some. But like I said, this is how I make friends.
This, by the way, is the size of my workspace:
I’d like to now share some interesting baking facts I learned when I couldn’t find some of the ingredients and thought I’d have to make a ton of substitutions.
Baking fun fact #1: If you have to substitute baking powder for baking soda, you need four times as much and you have to cut out any acid that would react with it.(Update: I’m not sure that would even work. Best to just stick with the recipe.) Baking Fun Fact #2: Molasses, and therefore brown sugar, is acidic. I had no idea. So had I not found baking soda at the last minute, the brown sugar that plays such a prominent role would have been cut. A travesty, if you ask me.
Remember when I had no electric mixer? Yeah, still don’t. Oh, Kitchen Aid, I will never again take you for granted!
This is me, eyeballing teaspoons. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Also, I will no longer ever forget that 1 oz = 28 grams. Oh boy did I do math! Speaking of math, when I’m working the register at the bakery I’m so slow at figuring out change because for some silly reason I try to do all the math in Italian. Then there’s all this translating involved, and it’s just a mess, at which point I count out loud in English.
A cookie success! The brown sugar here is actually dark brown sugar, so these cookies have oodles of flavor! And if you want to make these yourself, here’s where you can find the recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-chewy-recipe/index.html. (Though, I recommend using bittersweet chocolate chips.)
The next morning/that night I brought some to work. They loved them!
I stopped by Andrea’s restaurant and gave him cookies, and in return he gave me some of the biscotti that he had just made. Best trade ever!
I gave some to Patrizia and her husband Nino at the ceramic shop, and Mario in the art gallery, whom I met two days ago. His wife is actually from Chicago, so he knows the city well. We bonded over that, well, that and the cookies.
That evening was Damiano’s birthday, so of course he got cookies too. And he loved them! I met up with him, Ilya, and their friends (too many names to remember!) at a bar for aperativo before dinner, and he barely put the plate down. (That’s him on the left making a face).
After dinner at a pizzeria we hung out in town, though it seemed we were always heading to the bar but never getting there. Everyone was stopping to talk to people on the street, or just standing around. When I kept walking too fast or asking where we were going, one guy, Manual, said to me, “In Castellina everything is slower.” How very true.
But eventually we did make it to the bar, and then onward again to hang out outside. We were always going somewhere, but never in a hurry.