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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Get Baked - AGAIN!

"I don't like gourmet cooking or "this" cooking or "that" cooking.

I like good cooking."

James Beard

Four years ago, I met a psychic. Her name is Joyce Killer.

You can find Joyce here:

She was the first person who told me I needed to keep cooking. She said it would lead to great things. I believed her to such an extend, I've been cooking nearly every night for the past four years. I think the term 'susceptible schmuck' might apply here.

She said one of my champions in life was James Beard. She said his ghost was watching over me. I'm not sure if this is entirely the truth (yet I feel it is), but since then I've read quite a bit on him and have fallen head over heals in love with who he was and his work.

He was clearly a very generous man who was also privately tortured. He tried his hand at acting, it fell apart, so he stumbled upon food, but always regretted never 'making it' on the stage.

Life never goes the way we want it to go. All we can do is work hard and accept where were are. A bit depressing (yet freeing).

I dedicate this second part of my blogging on BAKED to James Beard. He would have LOVED it.

And if you have not yet gone, you MUST go to the bakery itself. If I could, I'd rent a cot and sleep on the floor, just so I could wake to the smell of flour and sugar and cinnamon.

Go. Now. Right now. Here is where they are:

I made their Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chunk cookie. Renato told me it's one of his favorites. I see why.

My husband is OBSESSED with peanut butter. He puts a dollop in his morning coffee, slathers it on his iPod in the gym so he can nibble when he gets hungry and strongly feels a well-made Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich trumps any 5-hour chili.

My husband is also fanatical about being in shape and skinny. He forces me to take all baked goods out of the house after I make them (suffice to say our neighbors love me but so does the nearby Jenny Craig where membership has increased 30%).

But try as he might, once he took a bite of these cookies, he could not stop eating them. I have to say, these are unlawful. Really, the boys at Baked must be made to serve time for these.

They are gooey, ooey, full of sugar and truly blissful. I can find no way to improve on them (except to double the chocolate, which I'm sure they won't hold against me.)

Since these cookies are so decedent and unreal, I am going to dub them:

Renato and Matt's Sinfully Good Jailbreak Ooey, Gooey Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie

I didn't get the 24 they said I would, but somewhere around 18 (what? sue me, I ate some of the batter).

What you'll need:

It's annoying, but you need to make the dough at least 3 hours in advance of baking them. I made it on a Saturday night (yea, my social life is fucking thrilling) and baked on Sunday. The dough needs time to sit to become truly flavorful.

The dough:
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose, unbleached King Arthur flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (try European brand Plura), room temperature, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus two tablespoons for sprinkling
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure or artificial vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Jiff creamy peanut butter (choosy queens choose Jiff!)
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped into large chunks*
*Take their advise, use milk chocolate, not bittersweet or semisweet...I doubled the amount they used as it just wasn't enough for my many tasters. Also, I used Godiva milk chocolate and it was divine...

Take your butter and eggs out of the fridge. And the peanut butter (if refrigerated - did you know you don't have to refrigerate peanut butter? Only people with OCD think you do.)

Go do something for an hour. Laundry, write, sing, dance, write a musical, spy on your neighbor who wears the funny boxer shorts...then come back to the kitchen.

Mix your flour and baking soda and salt in a blow, put aside.

Do a little dance.

Chop up the chocolate. Put aside. Stop eating it. This is how fat celebrities keep getting an ass, and then losing it, and then getting it again.

At this point in the recipe, everyone writes " a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment..." to mix the butter sugar and vanilla so they get all light and fluffy. The light and fluffy part, I've learned, are vital but the paddle attachment part...not so much.

Most home cooks I know don't have this equipment so I advise this: use an electric mixer if you wish BUT the butter must be soft or it will go flying across the room. I've had this happen more times than I can say (and it makes me happy, a room full of newly flung butter) but it's not the best way to mix.

I use my standing mixer. I don't have a paddle attachment, only a mixing hook thing which does the trick very nicely. I'm a big fan of my KitchenAid standing mixer. Andrew hates it. It's like a big orange Buick parked in the middle of the kitchen.

Beat the butter and sugars until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides so all the goo on the side goes into the center of the bowl. Add your eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. It will be very light and fluffy. You can beat for up to 3 minutes at this point. Add the vanilla and peanut butter, but only just mixing.

Now comes the cool part - GENTLY fold in the chopped chocolate with a spatula, not a wooden spoon. Just get it all incorporated. Look at the chocolate inside of the peanut butter. It's so pretty. It puts the lotion in the basket!...see the pretty put it your finger and scoop it out and put it in your mouth. carried away.

Cover it in Tupperware and put in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Take it out when ready to bake. Pre-heat your oven to 375 and get out two jelly-roll baking trays. Line with parchment paper (don't use parchment paper? You is a link:

Let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes while the oven heats. Now comes the kinda tricky part.

You want to scoop out HEAPING tablespoons of the dough onto the paper. I could only get 6 of them on one sheet for this recipe. I tried to make them sorta heaping tablespoons and did exactly as they said in the book, but the cookies came out flat, uninspired and depressed (how ironic - I feel that way many days of the month).

You must put HEAPING (I need to stop the caps) on the parchment paper (which is on the cookie sheet, right?) and then shape them into tiny little Lord of the Ringsish towers. They need to be kinda ridiculously high. Here is a picture I took with my iPhone:

See how tall they are? The trick is to very, very gently press on to the of the tower a tiny bit so you compact all the tasty goo in the tower. Why? This is how the boys made this so good, this is the trick - when they go through the last 5 minutes of baking, the tower suddenly falls and the goo melts and just piles into the center, making them extra chewy and tasty when eaten by appreciative sugar gluttons.

So do this for the cookies, and before you cook, sprinkle with a tiny bit of sugar.

Bake for 5 minutes, one tray on the top run, one tray on the bottom, then TURN them so front is back and back is now front and bake 5 minutes more but watch so they don't burn.

Take them out, let them rest on the baking sheet 5 minutes, gently take them off with a spatula and rest on a cooling rack or plate for up to 15 minutes.

Then chow down!


Mikey Bryan
Your Food Therapist


  1. Michael...we've GOT to get people to read this. You are getting better and better at the writing for this. It is so funny to read...I see the real, the funny Michael I know in reading this. I couldn't stop reading. This is soooo good! Love and support you always :)


  2. You are so sweet and my biggest (and only) fan...thanks for being the voice out there who likes my work!


    Your bro