All I have to say is “chewy, sink your teeth into chocolate chip cookie” and I’ve gotcha, right?
The Cookie Swap Season has officially begun, and today I’m starting with the Granddaddy of the Holiday Cookie Exchange – rich and chewy homemade chocolate chips. This recipe, from Wendy Putler, is one of the best we’ve ever rescued, made with whole wheat and real butter. Here’s Wendy’s story and her scrumptious step-by-step creation.
“One day I was visiting with another mom while waiting for kids at gymnastics. We got on the subject of cookies and she said that she made the best chocolate chip cookies. I told her that I was sorry, but I made the best. We started comparing recipes and sure enough, they were the same! My mom found this recipe in the Boston Globe newspaper in 1964. The original recipe called for shortening instead of butter and extra water. I switched to butter and left out the water, and I liked them even more. Over time they started coming out flatter. (I don’t know if butter has higher water content now, but something changed.) So I started adding more flour. I switched to whole wheat, but when I substituted all the flour, we weren’t crazy about the taste. But using a portion of whole wheat actually made them better and chewier. My friends love them, and I give them the packages of the frozen cookie balls with instructions for gifts. That way they can make them later when all the other holiday goodies are gone.”
Wendy, put me on the “friends” list, and thank you for the recipe!
Would a girl like me, who loves to shake things up in the kitchen, pass up a recipe with a name like Earthquake Cake? Not a chance! It’s recipes like this that I hope to run across every time I buy old recipe boxes at antique stores. Sadly, more and more stores are discarding the recipes and just selling the boxes. But I’ll travel miles out of my way, hoping to find that over-stuffed, often disorganized, box of recipe treasures. Those were somebody’s go-to recipes, and many of them are now mine. It was in one of these old toll-painted, scuffed up boxes that I found a dessert that shook the earth and sent shockwaves through me… okay, that’s a little dramatic. But, actually, Earthquake Cake, I discovered, is fantastic tasting and a lot of fun to make because the center sinks and the sides rise, and in the end, it all mixes together into an ooey, gooey volcano of chocolate goodness!
In researching the Earthquake Cake, I found that it was categorized as a convenient “back of the box” cake and that had many recipes call for German Chocolate cake mix in the batter. Since the version in my old recipe box had “one rich chocolate cake mix” written on it, that’s what I opted for. But I think either a German Chocolate or regular chocolate cake mix would work just as well – it’s just a matter of personal preference. It goes together very easily – just a simple layering of ingredients. Finally, here’s your early Earthquake warning: as you watch the cake bake, it may look like a wreck as it shifts and bubbles over itself. But I can tell you one thing: you won’t find a fault with this lost and found Earthquake Cake.
It’s said to have come from the Yiddish word “rugel,” meaning royal. Rolled out, delicate dough filled with a variety of ingredients, Rugelach (pronounced Ru-ga-Lach) has grown in popularity from a Jewish specialty, baked during the holidays, to an American favorite, enjoyed all year long. It seems as though every country has its own version and name for Rugelach, and there are hundreds of recipe variations for this bite-sized goody. For the dough, sour cream or cream cheese is added to the flour which makes for flavorful dough that’s extremely easy to work with. These morsels are generally filled with ingredients like sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, raisins, chocolate, or preserves with a little cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. Again, there are a number of ways to roll and cut Rugelach, but the classic shapes are crescents or slightly flattened squares. I know that Rugelach was baked up en masse for the Hanukkah celebration which ended last Thursday, but there are plenty of chances in the days ahead to make, bake, and deliver these delicious and delicate gifts from the kitchen for the holidays ahead!