If you were one of those enterprising folks that got caught up in the sourdough bread making frenzy during quarantine, you realize by now that the process isn’t exactly a piece of cake. (That requires another type of flour!) Sourdough bread making days, at least at my house, start early in the morning with hydrating the flour. That is followed by a technique called Autolyse which begins the gluten bonding process. Then, it’s the hours-long method of letting the dough rise, punching it down, letting it rise again, punching it down and letting it rise a third time. Finally its incorporating the add ins (like kalamata olives or rosemary) and shaping the bread for the oven. I haven’t even talked about the commitment of keeping, feeding and caring for the bread starter for years to come. (My Amish Friendship Bread starter, which I have kept alive for 14 years now, requires daily love and a babysitter when I’m on vacation!) So let’s talk about another type of bread that’s much easier to make; Focaccia. What started as a poor man’s bread in Italy has become a classic Italian sandwich or dipping bread and an American favorite! Focaccia is about as close to full-proof as any homemade bread can be, and it’s wonderful for a Panini sandwich as well as dunking it in good extra-virgin olive oil. This is the recipe for the homemade Focaccia bread we served at my restaurants for years. Enjoy!
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!