AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Go on, make my day! (Recipe: Double Chocolate Cookies) DATE: 11/12/2009 01:54:00 PM ----- BODY:
Drop in & Decorate

(Don’t forget about the chocolate giveaway. Leave a comment before midnight, Tuesday, November 17th)

It’s so easy to brighten someone’s day. A friendly smile. Stopping to give tourists directions, or take their picture for them. Donating ‘gently worn’ clothes to the Salvation Army. Or baking cookies.

Lydia Walshin founded Drop In & Decorate in 2002 to bring people together to bake, decorate and donate cookies to shelters, food pantries, and nonprofit agencies meeting the basic human needs of people in their own communities. And so far, with this simple gesture, she has brightened the lives of close to 10,000 people with her cookies.

The number 10,000 is how many cookies she’s baked and donated. But truthfully, she’s made the day of many others – each of us who have participated in the venture of decorating the cookies. Each year around the holidays and again at Mother’s day, Lydia rallies dozens of friends and neighbors to decorate cookies in log-cabin house in the back woods of Rhode Island. I’ve joined her for the last three years. And though I’m artistically challenged when it comes to icing, I always have fun at her party.

The idea has spun off, and now folks all around the country are hosting their own Drop In & Decorate parties… and donating them to organizations in their own community.

If you’d like to host your own Drop In & Decorate® event, Pillsbury and Wilton would like to help. And maybe you’ll be the one to give away the 10,000th cookie.

Pillsbury has donated 50 VIP coupons, worth $3.00 each, off any Pillsbury product -- including sugar cookie mix, icing and flour -- to be distributed, first come, first served, while supply lasts, to anyone who plans to host a Drop In & Decorate event (max. 5 coupons per person). And we'll include a Comfort Grip cookie cutter, donated by Wilton, while our supply lasts.

Write to lydia AT ninecooks DOT com for more info on how to get your free coupons and cookie cutters.

And if you plan to go to Lydia’s event this year, I look forward to seeing you there!

All this talk of cookies and chocolate got me into a baking mood.

Though they may not be the best choice for Drop In and Decorate, these chocolate brownie cookies are great for sharing and will definitely brighten someone’s day.

No adaptation... I made this recipe to the letter.  I recommend you do the same.

From: The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon brewed espresso or dark coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, briefly whip the eggs to break them up. Add the sugar, espresso, and vanilla and beat on high speed for 15 minutes, until thick.

4. While the eggs are whipping, place the butter in the top of a double boiler, or in a small metal bowl suspended over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water, and scatter the extra-bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate on top. Heat until the butter and chocolate melt. Remove the boiler top from over the water and stir the chocolate and butter until smooth.

5. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until partially combined (there should still be some streaks). Add the flour mixture to the batter and carefully fold it in. Fold in the chocolate chips. If the batter is very runny, let it rest until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

6. Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets and bake until puffed and cracked, 8 to 9 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before removing from the baking sheets.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:11/12/2009 04:43:00 PM Thanks so much for helping to spread the word about Drop In & Decorate. I love that you live close enough to come and decorate in my kitchen every year. But, you know, you could sneak in a few of these gorgeous chocolate cookies, just enough for you and me, and maybe nobody would notice....! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lucia DATE:11/12/2009 08:12:00 PM I'm with Lydia: chocolate cookies would keep decorators "fueled". I always look forward to seeing you at Drop In!!!! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:11/13/2009 01:06:00 PM It's a great cause and cookies...yeah! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:11/14/2009 08:53:00 AM The only reason these wouldn't work for Drop in & Decorate is because they'd be eaten before anyone could think about decorating! ----- --------