I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

The Cookie Monster

I've been so worried about my little blog sitting empty during what I thought would be a marathon of holiday cooking and baking entries from my fellow bloggers. I could just envision post after post about cookie swaps, office party potlucks, and swanky cocktail parties piling up around me while my blog collected dust because I've been bogged down with catering orders too numerous to mention. While Helene over at Tartelette has been busy preparing goodies for gift baskets and Lis of La Mia Cucina fame is on a quest to find the perfect chocolate cake, is seems that the blogosphere has been surprisingly quiet for the most part. Maybe my blog buddies are standing in an endless checkout line in the mall or maybe they're all busy scrubbing the toilet in anticipation of holiday visitors (I always know when we're expecting guests because Captain Sturm seems to be obsessive about putting blue stuff in the toilet when company is coming.) Maybe everyone is too busy actually attending swanky cocktail parties and office potlucks to even make a blog entry. Whatever the reason, I hope they're enjoying the holidays.

I'd love to post about the swanky cocktail parties and office potlucks that I've been attending, but we all know that I'm just "The Caterer". I have been lucky enough to attend a cookie swap as an actual guest. I wasn't sure until the very last minute whether or not I'd be able to attend so I didn't put much thought into what cookie I'd prepare. While I could have whipped up a batch of chocolate caramel delights or fudge ecstasies and really shown off to my fellow cookie swappers, I copped out. Both of those recipes would have required a trip to the grocery store and given my borderline agorophia, I decided to raid my pantry and settle for my most favorite cookie of all time... Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies.

These cookies are a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe - in fact, I think it's the same as the Tollhouse recipe - except the original version that was shared with me by a fellow APPCA member had the addition of espresso powder. But living in the a place where they pronounce it a small town where espresso powder isn't to be found, required me to use instant coffee granules. These cookies seem to taste better the next day, after the chocolate and the coffee have had a chance to meld. I made this batch with a small scoop so I could take the required 3 dozen to my cookie swap and eat the other 3 dozen all by myself. Okay, so I begrudgingly shared a couple of cookies with Captain Sturm.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies

Recipe By : Jim Davis
Serving Size : 36 Preparation Time :0:20
Categories : Cookies

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 cup unsalted Butter -- room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips
2 teaspoons espresso powder (or 4 teaspoons instant coffee granules)
1 cup pecans -- chopped

Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy, using mixer and paddle. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time and mix well. Scrape down bowl. Sift dry ingredients together and add slowly to the mixture. Add chips and nuts and mix by hand to combine.

Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for AT LEAST 1 hour, or longer if possible.

Preheat oven to 375 & bake for 8-10 minutes, or until light, golden brown. Cool slightly and remove from pan.

The cookie swap put me in the right frame of mind to go on a cookie baking spree and today I gave life to dozens of gingerbread people. It's funny how in the beginning I'm so meticulous with the icing, trying to make the perfect outline, exact facial expressions and by the time I've made it to my 3rd or 4th dozen, I'm squirting the icing everywhere just to get rid of it. These little darlings will find good homes on outbound cookies trays this week.

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