I started a new job this week and it’s been all I can do just to get there, get back, and take care of all the moving and new house duties. One morning, I bundled myself in the warmest possible coat and headed out the door at 6:30 am, where the moon sat hovering over the Supreme Court like it was midnight not morning. The train was late, my new ID card didn’t work, and after work by the time I’d done everything in reverse and emerged out of the train station almost twelve hours later it was dark once again. I faltered: I’ll never go to the gym again. I’ll never cook again. I’ll never see the sun again. I wanted to curl up in a big arm chair and cover my head with a blanket.
But slowly, as the week went on, I realized that it’s going to be okay. I had to repeat it to myself a few times like a mantra, but it will be. I actually like my commute, the train is great, it’s just enough time to read a bit of a book, and it’s never crowded. I won’t have to get up that early forever. My job is really cool. There’s a gym in my building and I intend to make good use of it. I love my house and neighborhood. Eastern Market is only a short walk away. I also remembered when I was dancing and going to school in New York, keeping twelve hour days, and even then I always cooked for myself. Did I use canned beans instead of from scratch? Absolutely. Did I also find the time to make my own homemade bread and yogurt? You bet. And in a way, being busy makes cooking all that more special. The past few months I’ve had plenty of time to cook, read, and research to my heart’s desire, and I’ve taken full advantage of it. But now that my time is more limited, carving out that space to make something special, unusual, or just comfortingly homemade is all the more dear to me.
Everything in my life right now is new: new house, new job, new car. New to driving, new clothes, new bed, new bills. Which is why culinarily, I don’t need anything new, I need cookies. Not little dainty cookies either, big fat chock-full American style cookies. Chocolate Chunk Coconut Pecan Cookies. Don’t you feel better? I have to say, this is really one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes- it’s just got so many things going for it, big chocolate chunks, sweet bits of coconut, soft buttery insides. For you nut-haters out there, the nuts are finely chopped so you’ll barely notice them, but they really add something to the cookies, and with all the stuff in there to hold them together, you can make them super-huge size if you’re so inclined (I like mine a bit more modest). Just make sure to use good quality chocolate, last time I used chocolate that was on the bitter edge of bittersweet, and since it’s in big lovely chunks, you can really taste the difference.
I’ll be tucking a few cookies in my bag this week, and I’m sure my commute’s going to be a lot better.
Chocolate Chunk Coconut Pecan (ChoCoPe) Cookies
It's like the NoLiTa of cookies (or is it TriBeCa?)! Eitherway, this variation on chocolate chip cookies is delicious. If coconut isn’t to your taste I imagine you could try substituting oats for the coconut. Makes 16-20 cookies.
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
14 tablespoons (7 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 oz good quality chocolate, cut into chunks
3/4 cup flaked coconut, roughly chopped
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl), cream together the butter and sugars until the mixture is smooth, fluffy, and pale in color about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and mix to encorporate, then add the vanilla extract. Gently fold the flour mixture into the batter in two additions. Fold in the chocolate, coconut, and pecans. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 an hour and up to 4 days.
3. Scoop hunks of dough into fat, 2-inch balls. Place dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets. (Store any extra dough in the refrigerator while the first batch bakes) Bake cookies for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and slightly soft in the center. When done, slide the sheet of parchment paper and its cookies onto a countertop, cutting board, or cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining chilled dough.