Saturday Afternoon Sweets

Two weeks ago a massive Thunderstorm of Doomly Doom rolled through my neighborhood and lightning struck about three inches from my bedroom window. (OK, a slight exaggeration, as I’ve found no evidence of lightning strike on our property, but I was awakened from a dead sleep thinking a bomb had gone off because the thunder was so loud and sharp, and my housemate who’d been looking out the window at the time was temporarily blinded. So it was very nearby.) This knocked out our internet completely for over a week, and after that access was still spotty as our ISP had to diagnose and fix what were apparently many and diverse problems caused by the storm. So that is why I have not been posting! Is my excuse sufficient? Do you all forgive me? What about if I give you cookies?

Chocolate Chip Cookies CockaigneChocolate Chip Cookies Cockaigne, from The Joy of Cooking
Recipe recreated here.

Those of you who can remember aaallll the way back to the previous two Saturday Morning Sweets may be surprised to see a baked good that most decidedly does not involve strawberries, as there were still two more weeks in June for me to make strawberry-based confections. Sadly, the near-constant rain all month kept most of our berries from ever ripening, and the few season-bearing plants we have don’t produce enough for recipes like strawberry bread. (NB: Use very juicy, very fresh berries. Also, swap out cinnamon for the nutmeg, add a splash of OJ, and bake in a loaf pan. This is gone before it cools at my house.)

These cookies include some finely ground rolled oats—added with the chocolate chips, not whisked into the dry ingredients—for extra chewiness. They were definitely chewy, but the chewiness was, unsurprisingly, more reminiscent of that of oatmeal cookies than that soft-in-the-middle,-crisp-on-the-edges texture of ideal chocolate chip cookies. Still, I may make this recipe again, because these had the delightful heft and thickness of oversized cookies while avoiding their dangers: underbaked centers, drop-of-a-hat crumbling, looking better than they taste. Plus, I bet these would travel better than regular chocolate chip cookies.

Bonus fun fact! As I was posting this I was wondering why certain recipes in the Joy have “cockaigne” in the title, since Cockaigne is a Medieval conception of the Land of Plenty—Utopia, Arcadia, Big Rock Candy Mountain, you get the idea. At first I thought it might just be a let’s-not-mention-calories code for “particularly decadent and/or chocolaty,” but eventually I accidentally saw a recipe that wasn’t in a dessert section and discovered that that’s not the case. But through Wikipedia, I learn:

In the popular cookbook The Joy of Cooking, the author’s favorite recipes include “Cockaigne” in the name, (e.g., “Fruit Cake Cockaigne”), explained in the foreword to the 1975 edition as after the name of the Becker country home in Anderson Township, near Cincinnati, Ohio.

So now I know! And you do, too.


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