Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Alton Brown cookies

I don't know anything about Alton Brown, except that his English muffins let me down and his granola is the most stupidly delicious I've ever tasted. My sister calls once a month to curse me for telling her about it. 

Isabel gave Brown's chocolate chip cookies a high ranking -- too high, imho. But I'm just the secretary. I thought they were lumpish and undistinguished and would rather eat a pound of granola. I just tested two more cookies to confirm my judgment. Yes, very, very bad.

Anyway, here's Isabel's revised ranking:

1. Cakewalk by Kate Moses (Robust cookies flavored with espresso powder, irresistible and possibly unbeatable.)
2. Baking by Dorie Greenspan (The classic -- but better.) 
3. Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce (Crisp, butterscotchy)
4. Alton's Brown "The Chewy" (Thick, soft.) 
5.  New York Times (Fussy to make; thick; salted on top)
6. All Recipes (Stout, chewy, more-ish)
7. Silver Palate (Chewy, butterscotchy)
8. Ready to Bake by David Lebovitz. (Very good -- plus, they contain nuts, which we like.)
9.  Toll House (The classic.)
10. Ad Hoc at Home (Too much severe chocolate, too little cookie)
11. Joy of Cooking, 1975 (Thin, pale, unimpressive.)

In other news, I made a green bean and seared shrimp salad from Stir the other night. You can extrapolate a lot from the name alone, but not the toasted hazelnuts, big handfuls of cilantro, sliced radishes and dressing made with Thai red curry paste and creme fraiche. One day I'm going to quit trying to peel toasted hazelnuts by rubbing them in a towel because it doesn't work. Do hazelnut skins even taste bad? I like this book a lot. I like that Barbara Lynch tells me how to do crazy stuff I've never done before, like wrap a chicken in bread dough, which I did tonight. Haven't eaten yet, or I'd tell you how it turned out.

Speaking of chicken, this story about pollutants and free-range eggs is a real bummer. It doesn't change my feelings about keeping hens or letting them run around in the yard or eating their eggs. I didn't believe that "pastured" eggs were much healthier to begin with, and now I don't believe the opposite. Still, depressing.


  1. The Alton Brown granola recipe makes me kinda sad, because I just threw away a quarter cup of dark brown sugar yesterday. Not joking. I was like, "Other than fruitcake, there can be no application for dark brown sugar." Toss. And now you give us a recipe that calls for a quarter cup. Dang.

  2. i wish i could eat one of those cookies right off the screen.

  3. Alton Brown has several different chocolate chip cookie recipes...there was a whole episode of "Good Eats" devoted to them, "puffy", "thin" and "chewy". So maybe if "chewy" doesn't blow your whistle, Isabel could do a bit of research at and try the variations. I do like his "chewy", but I didn't make them with bread flour. It's amazing what changing one ingredient will do to a cookie. My mom, grandma and I use essentially the same recipe, but grandma uses crisco, mom uses margarine and I use butter. Three very different cookies.

  4. I concur re: the granola. The best I've ever had.

  5. The shrimp-curry salad was one of the best Tipsy dishes in recent memory.

  6. Attention Lindsay: There is always a fall-back application for dark brown sugar: eating it out of the box.

  7. I second an earlier suggestion that Isabel try the Cooks Illustrated chocolate chip cookies. Best. Cookies. Ever.

    Love the blog - always amusing and enlightening!

  8. hi jennifer: try the cc cookies from my friend phyllis' blog
    ps. you rock

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