Saturday, June 13, 2009

Forty Days and Forty Nights

I don't think it even rains this much in Seattle. We are stuck in some kind of funky weather front here that is making most of the general population in the mid-Atlantic states resemble small, yellow, web-footed creatures. This is getting ridiculous. Every time we think it will break, nope, here comes another band of green on that darn weather map.

But for one brief, shining moment, one 5-6 hour period without rain, the weather here last night actually resembled something close to summer. A beautiful, DRY, summer night descended upon northern New Jersey, and what did we do? We sat inside. But sometimes there is nothing so sweet as sitting at a bar, having a really well made margarita, a few nicely done appetizers, and just talking.

And where did we do this, you might ask? At Rosa Mexicano, an upscale semi-chain restaurant based in NY/NJ. It seems everyone else in our general vicinity had the same need to get out of the house and celebrate a night without dampness.

Rosa Mexicano on Urbanspoon
Rosa Mexicano has a wonderful list of tequilas (I am partial to Don Julio) and a very nice bar menu - the guacamole was full of large chunks of avocado - I happen to like my guacamole with a few less chunks - and although we requested the "spicy" guacamole, it was rather mild. But it did wash down very nicely with the margarita. We also enjoyed the crab empanadas which came with two interesting tasting sauces. That, a few chile peanuts, a cold cervezas or two, and you're good. Not a bad way to while away a few hours on a Friday night.

And guess what it did today? Right! More rain - downpours, buckets 'o rain. So after braving the flooded roadways and puddled sidewalks to do some errands, I returned to bake up a batch of glorious cookies! You need something to keep your spirits up in this weather, after all. I decided on a crispy oatmeal cookie with a flourish of sea salt and flavored with white chocolate chunks. If you recall my posting a few weeks ago, I debated the merits of crispy vs chewy oatmeal cookies - this is definitely in the thin, crispy camp. Personally, I like both variations (truth be told, I like oatmeal cookies in all their incarnations). These were very easy to whip up, with a minimum of fuss. One note, though. The recipe calls for taking two tablespoons of dough for each cookie -- I found that to be WAY too much. Luckily, I only made one batch using those proportions. The next batch was made with only a scootch less than a tablespoon and they were just the right size. These cookies spread during baking so follow the direction to place at least two inches apart on the baking sheet. These cookies have a delicate crisp to them, they are not too sweet and the sea salt adds a nice counterpoint to the white chocolate.

Sorry, no photo - my trusty Canon is in the shop. But they look pretty much like your basic oatmeal cookie - round, with a nice golden hue. Don't wait for a deluge to try them.

Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies (thanks to Smitten Kitchen)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

The original recipe didn’t have white chocolate in it, but it really works wonderfully in here. Even if you’re a dark chocolate fan. Watch out, use the good stuff and this may even convert you.

1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon table salt 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

6 ounces good-quality white chocolate bar, chopped (not “white chocolate” chips; they’re almost always artificial. I am adamant about this.)

1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (like Maldon or fleur de sel) (for sprinkling on top)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and table salt in a medium bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down bowl again. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add oats and white chocolate and mix until well incorporated.

3. Divide dough into 24 equal portions, each about 2 tablespoons. Roll between palms into balls, then place on lined baking sheets about 2 1/2 inches apart. Using fingertips, gently press down each ball to about ¾-inch thickness.

4. Sprinkle a flake or two of sea salt on each cookie

5. Bake until cookies are deep golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool.


  1. Chocolate cookies are my all time fav!

  2. I'm a huge fan of Rosa Mexicana AND Don Julio as well!
    And yes, this rain is AWFUL! MAKE IT STOP!!!

  3. Thanks, Kris, for the comment. More rain for the weekend - ugh!


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