Monday, September 26, 2011

Gigi's giant cookie

We have a bit of a birthday tradition in my family, and of course, it involves chocolate.  Growing up, I always had a giant chocolate chip cookie for my birthdays and now my nieces do, too!  I made this cookie for Gianna's 2nd birthday and she was pretty excited about it (though she's equally excited by wearing shoes to bed and wearing necklaces like every day is Mardi Gras).  I thought I'd share the recipe we always use, partly so you can be a part of this family tradition of mine, and partly so I'll have it here to find anytime I have a hankering for a Texas-sized cookie.  It's wonderfully simple to make.

You'll need some of these little drops of joy (about a third of a package).  Notice my dog's longing "give me chocolate" look.  Fear not, as amazing as chocolate is, I won't poison my dog with it.  And a bit like Gigi, he's excited easily, and makes this same face while I'm trimming brussels sprouts.  No, he doesn't get a nibble of those either.

Here's the recipe.  You can see how well-loved it is.  It continues onto the back of the card as well, but I'll explain it all step-by-step-like here. I think our old neighbor Mrs. Whetten is responsible for this divine dessert.

You'll need about 1/2 cup of pecans.  Chop em up and toast them in a 300ºF/149ºC oven for ten minutes.  It's always a good idea to toast any nuts you're putting in something.  It brings out the natural oils and flavor and makes them nice and crunchy.  After you're done toasting the pecans, go ahead and preheat the oven to 375ºF/185ºC.

Take one stick of softened butter and put in your mixing bowl.

Add 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar (I used light, but I'm not sure it matters a great deal).  The only sugar in this cookie is brown sugar and it gives it a heavenly rich flavor and deep color.  Beat sugar and butter together for a few minutes until light and fluffy.

Then, add one room temperature egg...

...and one teaspoon of vanilla.  If I were Ina Garten I'd say "good" vanilla, but I don't live in the Hamptons, have an all-white kitchen or wear only black button up shirts. So I say use any old vanilla you have (and I'll let you know that I prefer Mexican vanilla).

In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons...

with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda...

and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Salt's essential to baking.  You know, like chocolate.

Stir flour mixture into wet mixture in two batches.

Add in those fabulous chocolate chips and pecans.

Now it gets serious, y'all.  Is anyone else amused that the Crisco container is emblazoned with "No Trans Fat"?  I'm pretty sure no one is under the illusion that this tub of who-knows-what is healthy.  But sometimes, it is necessary.  You need to lightly coat your round cookie sheet/pizza pan with it.  Otherwise, that heavenly cookie will cling on for dear life and will only become cookie crumbles.

Put a little flour in the middle of your crisco-coated pan and (over the sink) gently knock the edges of the pan to get it evenly coated with flour.  Once coated, turn it over in the sink (floured side down) and give it a little tap to get rid of excess flour.

(It'll look like this.)

Put dough in the center of the pan and gently spread it almost to the edges of the pan.  This takes a little time (perhaps because I used the back of a spoon).  If you have one of those fancy skinny spatula dealies, that would probably make quicker work of it.

Bake for 15 minutes.  It will be golden brown when it's done (thank you, brown sugar!)

And here's mine all decorated for Gigi.  I ran out of icing, so it just says "Gigi 2."  I joked with my brother-in-law that I should've made it say "Gigi 2.0."

I think she liked it.  You can see more pictures of the festivities here.

Bon appetit!


  1. Hey Whit - I mentioned you on my blog yesterday and Mama Zen came over. I second that yum. :)