Sunday, January 10, 2010
Luckily for me, bartering is alive and well. Friends of mine, Seth and Jessica, are selling their house now that they have two children and need a bigger place. The BFF is their realtor. Since Jessica has her hands full with the two children, both under the age of 3, and Seth has his hands full co-owning and running a very successful wine store (yes, the Wine Authorities Seth), I volunteered to help with cleaning. Actually, the way it all came to pass was me talking about how much I'd love to have a Kitchen-Aid mixer, but that they are way out of my budget range. Seth said that he and Jessica have two of them since they both owned one when they married and combined households. One was just sitting in a box he said. Oh mon dieu. A Kitchen-Aid collecting dust. My grandmother had one. Unfortunately, I did not inherit it. Who did? Who knows. Anyway, Seth discussed the idea of bartering with Jessica. The K-A for a day of my house cleaning services. A very fair trade, in my opinion. I am a professional, after all, since my B&B days in Arles. A date was settled upon and the cleaning took place. I must admit that never in my life have I been served a glass of wine while scrubbing a bath tub. I could get used to that.
I was told that the mixer needed a name. I quickly settled on Mildred, my mother's name. Growing up, we all assured her that she would not have a granddaughter named for her. I have two boys anyway so it was a moot point for me.
Mildred was inaugurated tonight. Chocolate chips, butter and brown sugar went into her stainless steel bowl and were mixed by her beautiful attachment. My kitchen smells divine. Mildred is now all clean again and safely nestled in the cabinet next to her new friend, the Cuisinart bread maker. I think it is the beginning of a lovely friendship!
Chocolate Chip Cookies or Cookie Bars
(makes about 60 cookies or 48 bars)
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 12-oz. package (2 c.) semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini-chips)
1/2 c. wheatgerm, optional
In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar and baking soda. Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in chocolate chips and, if desired, wheatgerm. (You can also add 1 1/2 c. pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts, if you wish.)
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or sheet lined with parchment paper). Bake in 375 F oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
For cookie bars- Prepare as above, except press dough into an ungreased 15x10x1 inch baking pan (or line it with parchment paper first). Bake in 375 F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
Bon appétit, Mildred, Seth and Jessica!