Like Forrest said about those chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. This one size fits all bit of wisdom can stretch to fit anything, really. The sale rack at Urban Outfitters, that guy you started dating, the produce from your local grocery store. But when I feel this the most, when the bit of Gump philosophy rings so true that I find myself mumbling it audibly, is upon entering unfamiliar kitchens to cook.
You NEVER know what you are going to find, or not find.
I have been told by a well seasoned chef, that the kitchen I was to enter was, “totally hooked up.” only to walk in, a day early thank god, to a double hotplate and a plug in convection oven in what can only be described as a hallway. I have also walked into residential kitchens to find professional grade dishwashers, with 45 second wash cycles and an automatic soap feed. The rest are somewhere in-between, but take nothing for granted. A whisk seems like a kitchen essential, but my mother in law has never owned one. I have about 10 rubbers spatulas in my drawers, but have walked into kitchens that maybe have one. And small appliances are hit or miss, and I keep my fingers crossed for a food processor at the least.
Needless to say, you learn to be very flexible. One also begins to collect recipes that are fail safe, and those that can be made successfully with a minimal amount of equipment. I have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I feel confident making just about anywhere with a couple of bowls and a spoon, a baking sheet, and an oven that works reasonably well. Don’t have a baking sheet? This recipe can be adjusted with a simple doubling of the eggs and baked like a blondie (in a pan like a brownie).
Today our group of cyclists, ravenous from a 3 hour ride up a mountain, were welcomed home to the smell of these cookies, baked blondie style, fresh from the oven.
6 oz. melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg, 1 yolk
1 tsp salt
zest of one orange
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (not soda)
2 cups chocolate chunks
1. Mix the melted. butter, sugars, orange zest, and vanilla until even. Whisk in the egg and yolk until even.
2. Toss the flour, baking powder, and salt with your hands until you are confident the tiny amounts of baking powder and salt are evenly distributed.
3. Mix the flour mixture into the wet mix and fold with a large spoon. Heck, if that wasn’t around I’d probably use my hand.
4. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Shape into 2 inch balls and press slightly flat on a cookie sheet, spaced apart for a bit of growth. I usually put 6 on a pan. Bake at 325 for 10 to 12 minutes. These cookies do well to cool on the pan, as they are a bit chewy and soft.
If baking as a blondie, use two eggs and two yolks, and spread the batter in a 9 by 12 inch casserole dish. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 325. To should be golden and papery, and feel set to the touch.