Sunday, December 24, 2006


Compliments of Kotis, Kotis, Kotis & Halliday

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ring of Fire Dirty Chocolate Chipotle Cookies

Thanks to all who attended last week’s Dirty Sugar Cookie Swap at Vox Pop! One of the best things to come out of it, besides the formation of a brand new bookstore / coffeehouse band and a heightened resolve to get my recently completed, but as yet unpublished children’s book Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo into the hands of discerning tots, was the recipe for these Chocolate Chiptole Cookies. It's true that the slow-blooming, fiery flavor took a couple of unsuspecting, young sweet tooths by surprise. I do hope, for their mother’s sake that the discomfort was confined to one orifice. Let that be a lesson to those who can’t stand the heat to keep their hands out of my cookie jar.

Ring of Fire Dirty Chocolate Chipotle Cookies

Throw a couple of sticks of butter on the counter when you wake up to pee in the middle of the night, otherwise you’ll forget to factor in the time it needs to soften up.

Whenever you’re ready to take it up a notch, melt a cup and a half of bittersweet chocolate chips in a double boiler, or whatever jive-ass rig you can think to improvise after selling your grandmother’s double boiler for like, a dollar, when you were leaving Chicago. It’s okay. I’m sure that dollar is continuing to give you endless amounts of pleasure! Well done! You can proceed with the recipe while the chips melt and cool, unless you’re in one of those maudlin moods where you’re actively seeking spilled milk to cry over.

Remove the butterwrappers, toss the butter in the bowl, and give it the old in-and-out with your electric mixer. Add two cups of packed brown sugar and one and a half cups of white sugar. Whip that up.

You really need go no further if low-maintenance dessert is what you seek, but those who’ve signed up for the full course should add two teaspoons of chipotle powder and then sift in a cup of chocolate drink mix. When I got the idea to replicate the spicy Mexican hot chocolate I so love in cookie form, I was thinking I’d grind me up a canned chipotle in the blender, but everything I dredged up on the Internet supported the use of powdered chilis. Odds remained good that I’d be the maverick who ruined a half-pound of butter and two packages of chocolate chips with her pig-headedness and a canned chiptole, but then lo and behold, Met Foods has started stocking the powdered stuff. Management no doubt fears that they’ll be shut down and replaced by a combination Starbucks-American Apparel if they fail to keep up with the tsunami of trendiness that has engulfed Smith Street. (Speaking of powder, I’d forgotten to check if I had any cocoa powder before hitting the grocery, which is how I wound up using the store brand Quik I unearthed at the back of the cabinet, behind a jar of ghee I bought in the East Village (before Milo was born, from a store that no longer exists). Now I’m out of store brand Quik, which probably means next time I’ll use cocoa powder. I leave it to your discretion. Just don’t buy Nestles.

Okay, crack in four eggs! How’s that for holiday excess, Senor Fezziwig?

Add a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of vanilla.

Here’s the part where the cheapo electric mixer you publicly claimed would never break breaks. Good thing you didn’t toss all your wooden spoons on the bonfire when you brought that thing home.

Add the melted chocolate and stir, even if you have to use one of those cardboard things from the bottom of a wire hanger. (So crafty!)

Ciombine (that’s a typo, but it looks kind of Italian and foodie-ish, so I’m leaving it as is)
4 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking soda
and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Then dump it into the sweet chocolate mixture and honey, don’t go blaming me if your bowl’s not big enough. Use your wok. Use that chamber pot you picked up at the swap meet. (Hey, has anyone tried that litterbox cake from Dirty Sugar Cookies, yet?)

Once you’ve married the moist to the dry, you can throw 2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips at the happy couple and stir briefly to ciombine. If like me, you’ve got the hots for the hot stuff, sprinkle another 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder over the dough before giving it an hour’s respite in the refrigerator.

Is this really necessary? (The chilling, not the chipotle.) I don’t know. I dutifully chilled my dough and then, the second I pull it out, I get a phone call and before I knew it, forty-five minutes had been been sacrificed to my big yapper. Never much of a one for delayed gratification, I decided to forge ahead. It’s not like I was intending to cut them into festive shapes. Just bloop ‘em out at regularly spaced intervals on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Look at them! You know what they remind me of? A zine I saw reviewed in my first ever issue of Fact Sheet Five, called We Like Poo. Just because I never ordered it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten it. The reviewer classified it as “fringe interest” and noted that it had smelled awful.

Yum yum! Hope you remembered to preheat the oven to 350˚.

Bake them for eight minutes, which is four minutes shorter than anything I found in my online research. They should be crusted on the outside, but kind of goopy with all those melted chips oozing through the fissures. Slide them onto the baking racks you purchased the day after a trenchant and public observation that you would do no such thing and then spring them on Hansel, Gretel, Little Red, and others of their trusting, chocolate-crazed ilk.

A frozen little bird told me that these cookies have become a great favorite of the slow loading, corporate sponsored, but absolutely-adorable-in-a-disturbing-sort-of-way elves

Thanks to Lynn, the Wicked Witch of Publishing for turning me on to the possibilities of this corporate-sponsored, slow-loading, but oh so gratifying elfin transformation.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dirty Sugar Cookies - the recipe!

To-ni-ight's the night......izzzzzgonna bee-ee alllllllright......

Keep it in your tartan, Rod, I meant the final Dirty Sugar Cookie Swap and Reading of the 2006 Holiday Season. With special (and shy!) musical guest, Reticent Devils, and a possibly ill-advised unveiling of my just completed, available to be published children's book, Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo.

WHAT: Author Reading, Signing and Dirty Sugar Cookie Swap

WHEN: Saturday, December 16, 2006, 7pm

WHERE: Vox Pop
1022 Cortelyou Rd.
Brooklyn, NY
718 940 2084

Each Dirty Sugar Cookie purchase will earn you a free Six Points Craft ale, courtesy of Vox Pop! Sweet! Score a six-pack's worth, why don't you?

And don't forget to bring cookies! It really is a cookie swap...

When I get home from aikido (don't ask) I'm going to rustle up some bittersweet chocolate chipotle something or others, and if they work out I'll post the recipe here tomorrow, but just in case you're at a loss as to what to bring, here's my grandmother's Dirty Sugar Cookie recipe, straight from the pages of book of the same name.

Dirty Sugar Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350˚ except not yet, because the dough's going to have to chill for at least an hour.

Put your Bromwell's Measuring-Sifter (Pat. No 1,753,995) onto a salad plate then pour in:
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup sugar

Position the sifter over a big mixing bowl, lose the salad plate and crank away.

Alternatively you may chuck your dry ingredients directly into the mixing bowl and give them a couple of twirls with a meat fork.

Add 1 cup of shortening (or 2 sticks of butter if you're some sort of health nut)

Next, crack 3 eggs directly into the bowl. Do not beat them first. This is how my grandmother did it and quite possibly how they did it in Colonial Williamsburg, as well.

Then add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Knock yourself out with the aforementioned meat fork.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. If you want to pretend it's Pillsbury Slice and Bake, you can roll it into a cylinder before you wrap it up.

At some point, cover your work surface with wax paper. Sprinkle some flour on both the wax paper and your rolling pin. Roll out the dough. Dip the cookie cutters in some flour. Line the unbaked cookies up on a metal baking sheet. Preheat the oven you forgot to preheat earlier. If you want to go for the minimalist raisin eye look, now's the time to press them into the dough. You can also festoon them with colored sugars.

Bake each batch for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool. Transfer carefully so as to avoid limb loss.

Ice as you dare.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Nothing's Cooking but the BUST Craftacular!

My stapling hand... she is very sore. Tell your friends to hither their heiners unto Warsaw (no, not Poland, you sassypants!) so that I will not have to haul 3 suitcases of books, zines, t-shirts, onesies, magnets and mini-notebooks home on the subway tomorrow night. And don't forget to swing by yourself! I'm going to need beer and bathroom breaks.

I'm too busy rigging a teddy in a Dare to Be Heinie onesie to think about cooking tonight. We'll be having banh mi courtesy of Little Nicky on Atlantic Ave.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thank you and spank you!

I honestly thought that I was going to be the only person to show up at Bluestockings bearing baked goods for last night's Dirty Sugar Cookie Swap. I thought I was going to look like the biggest jackass on the planet. Instead, I'm just going to have the biggest ass on the planet because who could resist this spread!?

Here we go, five minutes before the starting gun sounded.Lots of cookies, a pumpkin pie, some Cool Whip and some Diva Menstrual Cups in the background...

Anna Lappé tested our eating IQ with a test that proved both sobering and hilarious. And she didn't even have to beg too hard for audience partipation before attendee Nina bravely took the bait!

Goddamn! I just realized that Anna's mother wrote Diet for a Small Planet! She didn't brag about it or nothing! And she was unduly critical of her scones, which were delicious and still warm from the oven! Dang! She doesn't know what nasty is! (Hint: try the bluefish with apples and potatoes I served last Tuesday night, which caused my friend, Delta, to remark, "Well, Ayun, not one of your best...")

Look at that bounty!!! Look, that's Rachel Kramer Bussel in the cupcake pink sweater! Shoot, from now on, I don't do a reading unless everyone gets cookies!!! Don't believe me? See you at Vox Pop on the 16th! I'm hoping Anna and her quiz will be able to join us too, and a very special, but as-yet-unnamed musical guest has just intimated that he will be lending his stylings to the festivities too. Hot damn.

I'm too stuffed to think about recipes, so I will direct you to A Good American Wife who laid some hot Chocolate Toffee action on us last night that nearly blew my mind! oh HELL yeah!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cookies With Benefits

Calling all cookie lovers! Bake or buy a plateful to bring to the First Ever Dirty Sugar Cookie Swap, to be held this Monday, December 4 at Bluestockings Books.

I hereby pledge to contribute the following recipe (unless I run heinously and characteristically short of time, in which case, I’ll just pick me up a package of pfeffernusses at the bodega on the corner and pray some other attendee will disregard the peanut caveat with a plate of buckeyes. I love buckeyes. And I love these. There are days when they might be the most nutritious thing in the children’s lunchboxes.

Cookies With Benefits

Break down and buy some parchment paper. I never have but the last time I was about to throw a batch of these in the oven I realized, hey, maybe the reason the original recipe called for it is so their butts won’t burn, the way mine always do. (Please note that’s “do”, not “does”. There’s almost always a thin layer of black nylon shielding the majority of my butt from the burning it no doubt richly deserves. These cookies, however, are innocent. They’ve done nothing to merit scorched booties, unless one counts being a bit of a production to make. That’s not their fault though. The blame lays with the size of my kitchen and my refusal to buy wire racks because many years ago, I had a half moon shaped rack that came with a long-gone wok, and even though I haven’t seen it in years (probably put it in the recycling bin in one of those rare bursts of organizational frenzy), I’m loathe to shell out for a sure-to-be-seldom-used culinary device when there’s a chance I might still have a semi-practical substitute that’ll work 1/3 as well.)

see the chaos when you fly without parchment and racks!

and voila, the reverse angle...

Stop feeling like the little brown hen & preheat the oven to 350˚.

Break three eggs in a big bowl. Fetch the electric mixer you purchased on impulse from a drugstore where you’d gone to buy toothpaste. Isn’t it funny how you can live with a seriously f’ed up mixer for years, letting it take up valuable cabinet space even though it has a known history of grinding to a halt with a high pitched screaming noise halfway through any job? Piece uh crap wedding present. Then, one day, heading to the register, Colgate in hand, you spy a mixer and think, “You know what? Screw design! Screw brand name recognition! Screw the child-like hope that the wedding mixer is going to get better one of these days. I’m getting that for twelve bucks.” What took you so long!?

And what's a chain drugstore doing with electric mixers? I’ll bet in the five years since that Rite-Aid's been open for business, nobody's ever purchased one but me. Not that I'm complaining! It may be homely and damn near disposable, but that crummy Rite-Aid mixer gets the job done, unlike a certain high strung, stream-lined, pampered German I could mention.

a softened stick of butter
a cup of tahini (because what kid doesn’t love a beige paste that tastes kind of like clay?)
2 tablespoons of vanilla (good lord, that’s like a third of a bottle!)
a cup of brown sugar
and a cup of white sugar.
Marvel at the mixer’s willingness to take on this dense substance! What a good girl! Lick her beaters a little. She deserves to be treated like a princess. (As always, you might want to pull the plug before you start getting it on with something that has the potential rip your tongue out by the roots.)

Enough monkey business! Get out a new bowl. (Don’t get uptight. This one will barely get dirty. You can wipe it out with a dishtowel, slip it back in the cabinet, and none of your guests will know what a slob you are when you serve them salad out of it later tonight. Well, they might, but only if they find a long brown hair lurking amidst the avocado and sliced almonds. Nothing you can do about that, short of a pixie.)

In this "clean" bowl, combine
4 cups of oats
1 cup of white flour
1 cup of whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Dump the horse chow into the moist mash, give the second bowl a cursory wiping and tell the mixer to take the rest of the day off. A wooden spoon can take it from here on out. Stir the two substances up just enough to make a rough sort of dough. Throw in a handful or two of chocolate chips. Toss in some walnuts, if it pleases you, unless of course you’re planning on taking this batch to school, like I did. Nut allergies abound. Don’t give another parent grounds for a lawsuit! (For the record, this will make enough to serve 23 fourth graders, with a couple left over for whining family members.)

Remember that parchment paper you bought? You can use it to feel superior to me as you line your cookie tray. I had to make do with tracing paper . God, I hope no kid had an allergic reaction to whatever toxins might have been released at 350˚. I don’t think tracing paper cares much for heat, given the way it curled into a cylinder whenever it got came in contact with one of those tropical, oven-fresh breezes. (On the bright side, I did discover that unbaked cookie dough makes great paperweights.)

Moisten your paws (use the sink) to pinch up a soup-spoon’s worth of dough. Roll it into a ball, then flatten it on the paper-lined tray by pressing it with your palm. Once they hit the oven, these things’ll spread out like ladies in the locker room, so give them plenty of elbow room.

Bake for about 15 minutes – until they’re golden brown. Cool them on wire racks, the counter, a disused barbeque grill, a hastily yanked-down screen window – I’m sure you’ll figure something out.

Now, bake something else for the Dirty Sugar Cookie Swap. Buckeyes, maybe. See you Monday!

Dirty Sugar Cookie Swap
(Plus Reading and Signing)

Monday, December 4, 7pm
Bluestockings Books
172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington

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