By KATE KRADER
WHAT’S happened to the chocolate chip cookie? As every conceivable comfort food has risen to the top of the home-cooking food chain, the most iconic of desserts has been left behind.
In March and April, the world’s top 10 most-searched-for recipes included pizza dough, pancakes and — unsurprisingly — banana bread at No 1, according to Google Trends. Even brownies, the arch-enemy of Toll House, made the cut at No 5.
The reasons for the lapse aren’t clear. Every other carb-laden recipe is in demand, and who doesn’t have a bag of chocolate chips around the kitchen?
A new cookbook is here to make sure that this just isn’t how the cookie crumbles. “Tasty Pride: 75 Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Community” (Penguin Random House; US$25 or RM107) by Jesse Szewczyk and Tasty, the Buzzfeed food network, features captivating recipes from notable cooks and activists.
It’s a fun, celebratory, inspiring read at a moment when most LGBTQ Pride events must be held remotely. Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski offers chickpea and zucchini fritters, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson shows off a favourite ginger-turkey rice bowl and America’s Test Kitchen star Elle Simone Scott delivers Mississippi corn pudding.
Also in the book, Natasha Case and Freya Estreller, founders of Coolhaus, the irreverent, Los Angeles-based ice cream company, supply a favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe.
The couple is more famous for ice cream sandwiches then for ice cream, and the two go big with this one: It’s mixed and baked in a cast-iron skillet to produce a gooey, chip- studded extravaganza that demands being served warm, with scoops of ice cream melting on top. It’s a cookie presented as a party.
“This recipe starts with our ice cream cake and dresses it down. The skillet element and going à la mode makes it more fun,” says Case.
Along with recipes, Tasty Pride’s contributors share stories about the role food has played for them as they’ve come out and moved through the culinary world. Case writes that she and Estreller started dating at the same time they were perfecting their ice cream and cookie recipes and starting to bring them out to the world.
“It has been an incredibly romantic way to get to know each other. I mean, driving an old beat-up ice cream truck into the sunset, headed to a wedding in Malibu,” she writes.
Pastry chef Zac Young talks about how underwhelming it can be to come out in a progressive household.
“If you are going to ask me if I’m gay, the answer is yes,” Young says he told his vegan, therapist mom. “Any disappointment my mother might have felt that evening was about the nutritional value of the General Tso’s chicken.”
To celebrate their book and the Pride movement, Tasty is donating US$50,000 to GLAAD, an organisation that champions LGBTQ issues. Having GLAAD benefit from a project that brings together so many talented people is, Chase says, the icing on the cake (or on the giant cookie).
The following recipe is adapted from Tasty Pride. — Bloomberg
Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie a la Mode
- 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 11⁄4 cups all-purpose flour 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
- 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
- 1⁄4 tsp baking soda
- 2 3 cup semisweet chocolate chips Vanilla ice cream
- Rainbow sprinkles (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Heat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Melt the butter in the skillet, swirling to coat the bottom and low sides.
Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool until the butter is barely warm, about 5 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, vanilla and egg to the skillet and stir until the mixture is smooth.
Add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and stir just until combined; do not overmix.
Stir in half the chocolate chips. Spread the dough in the skillet; wipe off any dough stuck to the sides. Top with the remaining chocolate chips.
Bake until set around the sides, but still gooey in the middle, 20-25 minutes.
Let cool slightly, then top with scoops of ice cream and sprinkles, and serve immediately.