Last week, I dedicated my blog to chocolate in anticipation of the Chocolate Festival. But then life took over. On Wednesday, the first day of the Chocolate Festival, I went to Bardo with my girlfriend for dinner, but alas, no chocolate menu yet. No matter; Bardo is good, no matter what you order. The Chef is seriously a genius.
And then I went to the Chocolate Festival on Saturday. I was there when the doors opened at 10am, and true to form, I ate truffles and chocolate-drizzled popcorn and sampled chocolate wine and chocolate liqueur and chocolate spice rub and fudge, and then I looked at the clock and it was… 10:40? That was it? I had covered the entire floor, sampled cupcakes and some sort of whipped lemon sugar blend that I’m still thinking about and bon-bons, and it had only taken 40 minutes?
I won’t say I was disappointed, because this was the first year of the Chocolate Festival and these things take time to perfect. Do I think I got my money’s worth? Not necessarily. Did I have a great time? Oh yes. I was feeling that great time for the whole rest of the day.
And so that night, after taking Tums, Pepto, refusing food, and drinking both ginger ale and water, I lay curled up on the couch and watched the Cooking Channel. Perhaps that’s masochistic. There were only a few moments when I felt true nausea. But the Cooking Channel is my new favorite thing to watch.
It is partly because of the excellent programming. It feels a bit less static and hierarchical than Food Network: there are a lot of established chefs, but there are just as many emerging chefs and food personalities. I feel like I’m learning new, better ways to describe foods by watching shows like “Unique Eats” (yum) and “Unique Desserts” (yummer). I’m indulging my nostalgic side by watching “Two Fat Ladies” and “Good Eats.” And I’m finding new favorites like “Kelsey’s Essentials,” “The Big Cheese,” and (I know, I’m so late to this party) “Everyday Italian.”
But the other reason I love the Cooking Channel is because of their marketing. It’s very community-focused, very entrepreneurially-centered. They celebrate people learning to cook, opening new businesses, celebrating their traditions, creating new ones, etc. I always feel like I can do anything after watching it for a few hours.
Last night, I decided to try out one of the recipes I saw on Saturday on “Kelsey’s Essentials”: banana chocolate chip cookies. And oh my, they’re seriously good. With a soft, cakey texture, these little cookie mountains are full of oats, chocolate chips, ripe banana, and a hint of spice.
Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup shortening
2 overripe bananas, mashed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup milk chocolate chips (I used semisweet, but that’s because I love them so much)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. It will be a wet cookie dough. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a 2 spoons or an ice cream scoop is a great way to portion cookies with wetter doughs like this one. Portion cookies out using overflowing tablespoonfuls on 2 ungreased cookie sheets, 12 cookies per sheet. Bake just until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn and swap the cookie sheets on each rack for even cooking. Cool on a wire rack.