Weeks leading to the dinner, I had read and re-read Better Homes and Garden's November 1989 issue and decided to create the same exact menu - spring salad with walnut and a lemon poppy-seed dressing, turkey stuffed with wild rice, mushroom and prosciutto ham (my first introduction to the Italian ham). For dessert, I decided to go with a Thai dessert - coconut custard baked in a pumpkin. The salad was a big hit, as was the stuffing. But the turkey and the dessert? A disaster with a capital D.
When our guests arrived mid-afternoon, the turkey was only halfway done, eventhough it was in the oven since early morning. We later learned that the oven was the culprit. We had recently moved to our apartment, and I think it was the first time I used the oven (BIG mistake). Chef Engin came to the rescue. We quickly removed the stuffing from the turkey and finished cooking it on the stovetop. Then, we went ahead and ate the salad, the stuffing, and whatever part of the turkey that was cooked. Good thing we all like dark meat. We didn't even bother with the dessert. Needless to say, the whole thing was an embarrassment. Fortunately, embarrassing moments like this tend to create endearing, unforgettable memories. To this day, we still laugh about my infamous Thanksgiving dinner whenever we see each other.
Fast forward 23 years. I am older (yikes!) and much wiser (I hope). I never try a new recipe when I have people over. Since I live on a boat, I abide by the KISS (Keep It Simple, S...) principle, cooking simple things. A big feast like Thanksgiving is totally out of question. Looking back, I realized we've almost always celebrated Thanksgiving at friends'. I've made Thanksgiving dinner only a handful of times. Thanks to David and Janice, we got invited, again, to their family gathering this year. All I need to bring is chocolate chocolate-chip cookies. Making 4 dozen of these delicious morsels is no easy task, given my small convection oven in a one butt U-shaped galley. I do this in 2 steps, first making the cookie dough and freezing it, then baking the cookies the day we're gonna eat them. Every time I've made these chocolate chocolate-chip cookies, people have asked for the recipe. Folks, here it is, as promised. More good news - now you can print it without all the extraneous images and stuff. I finally figure out how to do it:-)
Enjoy, and happy Thanksgiving!
Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies
Although these will keep well overnight, they are best eaten the day they are baked.
Makes about 6½ dozen¼ cup amber (gold) rum or brandy or hot water
1 cup raisins
1 cup raisins
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
½ teaspoon baking soda
2½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
1½ cups pecan pieces (about 6 ounces), toasted
Combine raisins and rum in small bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature at least 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter heavy large cookie sheets. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light. Gradually add both sugars and beat until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Add to butter mixture and stir just until blended. Drain raisins. Add to dough. Mix in semi-sweet chocolate chips and pecan pieces (dough will be very stiff).
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake until cookies appear dry, tops are lightly cracked and soft when pressed, about 10 minutes (do not overbake). Cook cookies 5 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer to racks and cool. (Store in airtight container).
Cook’s notes: The above is the exact recipe from Bon Appetit magazine, circa October 1990. They are so good I never did have to make any change.
'Tis the Season to be Jolly
Thought of the Day: Giving Thanks and Feeling Grateful
Christmas Lights at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee