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Christmas was spent in Switzerland this year with my friend Rosa and her family. It’s been a lovely trip and everyone has made me feel so at home and welcome despite the fact that I tend on the side of awkward American from time to time. Mainly it’s just Rosa who gives me shit for those moments, which I expect, as it’s Rosa and she gives everyone shit, and I love her for it. Thanks for a lovely Christmas Holiday my love!

So, being here in Switzerland in this lovely house overlooking the lake, I had no idea how to thank the family for letting me come stay, so I have spent much of my visit helping in the kitchen. Rosa and May have been the principle cooks here, but I was given Christmas Eve dinner and made Cilantro Chicken and Pickled Tomato Avocado Salsa from Mattbites.com. Yum Yum. Worked out lovely.

And yesterday for Christmas dinner, Rosa and I went all out and made lots and lots of desserts. But alas, I must remind you of the title at this point because smart as I am, you will not believe what I managed to do yesterday. No, it’s worse than burning something, undercooking, or forgetting an ingredient. I mistook something. Both white. Both granulated. Both crytals. Ah, but 1 3/4 Cups of SALT makes a cake very different from a cake with 1 3/4 Cups SUGAR. Dump that one out and start over, eh?

Which I did. Thank god I eat cake batter like candy. But then another thing we must take from this cake following my sugar/salt debacle…brown sugar and white sugar are relatively interchangeable in cookies, but not in cakes. What a fail. What a chewy, sad, hard, ugly fail.

So I drown my sorrows in the chocolate cake I posted about last time, made with love by Rosa with my dark chili chocolate and a homemade Raspberry Sorbet. On the list for making next is Fillet Wellington, which we had for dinner last night and with which I happened to fall madly into lust. Tonight is Swiss Fondue. Looks as though it’s time to trek up the Swiss Alps for such a meal. I think that’s fair, don’t you?

Happy New Year friends! I love you all.

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Remember how I said once I liked cookies more than anything else? Well, the reason why is this: since I was barely old enough to “help” in the kitchen, my mom bought me my very own apron and hot mit, baking set, and a stool so that I could stand at the counter and bake with her. We always made Chocolate Chip Drops from Joy of Cooking, but no matter how many times my mom and I have made them over the years, each batch turns out different. Proof that a plain old cookie can always surprise you.

But here’s the thing. Sure, we use a recipe from a cook book. Sure, the recipe itself is from the 1940s and obviously a tried and true cookie. But in my house, we break the rules. Bad. Sure, you could use crisco to make the cookies fluffy. Or butter to make them crunchy. But in my house, we break the rules. And I know once you read the ingredients you are going to wrinkle your nose and think I’m an awful excuse for a baker, but it’s kindof like eating fries with a Wendy’s frosty or eating peanut butter and butter together, hell, it’s like putting cheddar cheese in bread pudding (yum, btw), the tastes just blend, so trust me, okay?

And for the love of god, don’t think about how many calories you consume in piping hot cookies straight out of the oven…

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Joy of Cooking ft. Old School Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 375. Use 2 cookie sheets.

Whisk together:
1 cup plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

Beat in a large bowl until well-blended:

2/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup bacon fat. Yeah. You heard me.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Add and beat until well combined:
1 large egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir in the flour mixture until well-blended and smooth. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.

Drop the dough in spoonfuls on the cookie sheets. (These cookies spread out, so don’t put too many on a sheet or you’ll get one big cookie. Much harder to share. Wait, why haven’t I done that yet?!) Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are just slightly colored on top and the edges are brown, about 8 minutes. Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool (or burn your fingers eating them, like I do).