A few months ago, Vijnan showed me a picture of a brown haired puppy, a tiny mite pictured on the deck in a basket, that had shown up somewhat unexpectedly in our search for a dog. We were longing for one, both of us secretly hoping for a dachshund, similar to the dogs we grew up with – Tasha, Digby and Tootsie. We were soon driving home with an 8-week old puppy, who was surprisingly calm. He promptly fell asleep, nose deep into Vijnan’s arm, unlike our active human babies as I remembered them.
Bruno the brave, Bruno the strong and Bruno the silly, as I love to call him, is now all of ten months. He follows me around the house, sleeps curled up next to me or between my feet as I stand in the kitchen, snuggles up close for body warmth, greets me every hour with ferocious licks and furiously wagging tail. He has soft velvety red-brown fur, the nicest doggy smell and probably the sweetest disposition of any dog that I have ever met. Of course, I am not biased.
Yesterday, Bruno and I settled down on the deck. It was a perfect spring day – flowers everywhere, sunshine filtering through young green leaves. There was the occasional bird and inquisitive squirrel that popped in for a visit. As tea time drew closer, thoughts of warm home made cookies, melting with chocolate, appeared from nowhere. The boys would soon be home, I was pleasurably surfing the new NYTimes Cooking app and on there showed up a chocolate chip cookie from Amanda Hesser. I scanned the ingredients – could it be that I had everything in my pantry. It was a simple list – all purpose flour (no need for bread or cake flour), unsalted butter (always in my fridge), brown sugar (staple for daily tea), eggs (always in stock), vanilla extract, walnuts, bittersweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, good enough)….I was ready to go.
For room temperature butter and eggs, I sat hen-like with a stick of butter and an egg for several minutes under the hot afternoon sun. Next, a few minutes to whip the softened butter and sugar with an electric beater, add the egg and vanilla…then all the dry ingredients whisked separately together – flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Last, chocolate chips and walnuts folded in gently. Important step and one that asks for extra patience – cover and refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours before baking small balls of dough at 350F for fifteen minutes on a sheet tray lined with baking parchment. This was a pro-tip from my pastry chef sister.
Made 16-20 delicious and surprisingly excellent chocolate walnut cookies that held their chubby cookie shape.
Loosely adapted from Amanda Hesser
Makes 16-20 small cookies
4oz butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla essence
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- Using an electric beater on the lowest setting, beat the butter and and sugar in a large bowl for a few minutes. Add the egg, then vanilla and continue to beat until well incorporated. In another bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture – fold in gently. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.
- When ready to bake, turn oven to 350F. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a small ice cream scoop, create small balls of dough and place them 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 15 minutes or so, until cookies look golden.