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New Press: Washington Post Food Section and KYW

cookiewashpostcroppedAn adaptation of Metropolitan Bakery‘s Salted Chocolate Chip and Sour Cherry Cookie recipe that appears in the book was one of 25 recipes featured in the Washington Post Food pages’ annual holiday cookie issue this week. That section also contains a story (supplemented online by this video) by Post columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick suggesting ways to make your chocolate chip cookies stand out on a holiday buffet table. Since she likes the basic Nestle Toll House recipe, her ideas mostly focused on  varying the size of both the cookies and the chocolate chips you use.

My wide-ranging chat with Hadas Kuznits about the book and the chocolate chip cookie’s invention aired on Philadelphia news radio KYW-AM’s “What’s Cooking” show this weekend.

 

Rocky Mountain Sugar High

Winner Johnson and friends

Winner Johnson (center)

I’m not a downhill skier but if I were, there’s no question where I would do my skiing: At the Beaver Creek Resort in the Rocky Mountains, where they serve free cookies every day at 3 p.m.  The 2013 edition of their annual Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition, discussed in Chapter 6, which celebrates Beaver Creek’s cookie-serving tradition, was held the day before Thanksgiving. This year’s winning recipe from Coloradan Nancy Johnson features milk chocolate chips and — no doubt to make up for their extra sweetness — a little bit less white sugar.

A Young Fan in Chi-town

Wendy and Bill

Wendy and Bill

“Cookie porn” is how WGN-Chicago radio host Wendy Snyder described TGACCCB during our chat on her morning show with Bill Leff Friday morning. Snyder also said the book has rivaled only the Toys R Us catalog for capturing her 10-year-old son’s pre-holiday attention and that he has been busy circling recipes from it he wants her to make. Check out our wide-ranging discussion (Snyder and Leff are also rightly obsessed with the late, great Jell-O 1, 2,3) here.

Ink From the Inky

Me and David A. with his cookies

David A., me and Famous cookies

My visit with Philly.com food guy Michael Klein and David Auspitz at Auspitz’s Famous 4th Street Cookies last week resulted in this great post that also appeared in the print edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s (aka Inky’s) Food section today under the headline “The Book on a Favorite Food” (ironically placed beside a story titled “Why Can’t We Make What We Like?). Hope to see you Saturday at Reading Terminal Market!

Two Signings in my City of Cookie (and OK, also Cheesesteak) Love

Two Philadelphia book signings coming right up! The first is at Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch streets), where I do my bi-weekly Taste of Philly Food Tours and also act as the Market’s eblast/website news correspondent. I’ll be signing copies of the book in the Market’s Center Court from noon to 3 p.m., Sat., Nov. 16. Signed books there will come with one free cookie from the Market’s Famous 4th Street Cookie stand, a multiple Best of Philly magazine award-winning business featured in the Chocolate Chips To Go chapter of the book and pictured on that chapter’s introductory page. chippixfour31

Why is it called Famous 4th Street when it’s located on 12th Street? Because these cookies were originally only sold at the Famous 4th Street Deli on 4th and Bainbridge streets. The Auspitz family sold the deli in 2005 but kept the side cookie stand located in Reading Terminal.

Their “Famous” chocolate chip cookie is from an old family recipe of David Auspitz’s wife, Janie. The deli originally had a grocery area, including an ice cream freezer supplied by the local Jack & Jill distributor. But when Haagen-Dazs ice cream was first introduced and became all the rage, David put some Haagen-Dazs pints in the freezer, to the extreme displeasure of the Jack & Jill distributor, who promptly took his freezer back. This also being around the time of Famous Amos’ greatest success, Janie suggested David trying selling her cookies in the newly empty space.

Thus did one Auspitz sweets sideline melt away and another rise (both literally and figuratively).

I’ll also be signing books at the Barnes & Noble in Rittenhouse Square from noon-2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5. Chocolate chunk cookies from the Barnes & Noble Cafe will be served at that event.

Come on down, say hi and enjoy some cookies while knocking off some of the most difficult folks on your holiday gift list. (Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies and, by extension, chocolate chip cookie books?)

Famous 4th St. Cookies: You know you want one

Famous 4th St. Cookies: You know you want one

Whitman Library Tolled for Me This Weekend

Welcoming library sign

Welcoming library sign

Tons of fun in Toll House-land this weekend. Learned a number of new things about the Toll House during my panel discussion with former Toll House employees I interviewed, and others who turned out for the event. Like what else besides the beloved pecan rolls came standard in the Toll House bread basket (cornbread, gingerbread, even rum bread). Former Toll House waitress/panelist Carol Cavanagh amused the SRO crowd with a story about the customer who tried to test her ability to memorize their orders (a requirement for waitresses at the Toll House) by playing musical chairs when she went into the kitchen to place them. But Carol was too good for them and after she matched up every dish with the right person, one of the mischief-makers sighed and said, “Young lady, you just cost me $5.”

Saturday's panel (L to R): Me and ex-Toll House waitresses Marguerite Gaquin, June O'Leary and Carol Cavanagh

Saturday’s panel (L to R): Me and ex-Toll House waitresses Marguerite Gaquin, June O’Leary and Carol Cavanagh

Entries in the event’s chocolate chip cookie contest were almost all flat and soft and nutless (despite published judging criteria that called for fidelity to the classic Toll House taste, which includes walnuts).

1st place winner gets his prizes: my book, cookies and Nestle morsels to practice his craft

1st place winner gets his prizes: my book, cookies and Nestle morsels to practice his craft

Could excessive sensitivity to people with nut allergies be driving the chocolate chip cookie with nuts from our land? (Say it’s not so!) No surprise — me being one of the judges and all — that the top-scoring cookie contained walnuts and all the other ingredients and amounts Toll House cookie inventor Ruth Wakefield called for. But big surprise that their baker was 14-year-old Matthew Kelcourse, who beat out all the adults with his complex-tasting, pleasantly textured beauties, this contest having no separate youth category. His recipe is here.