pie so sweet you’ll slap it right out of grandma’s fat mouth

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“Honey pie” is not just a grotesque term of endearment—it’s also an actual thing that you can bake. I found a recipe on Pinterest for salted honey pie with rosewater and was charmed. I mean, how poetic, right? Forager bees steal nectar from flowers and then vomit it into their hive, where it sits for a while and becomes honey. What better way to encapsulate this magical process than within a pie?

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via the blog Take a Megabite

Locating the rosewater was tricky. I did not find it at any grocery store or pharmacy. I contemplated making it myself (all you have to do is boil rose petals), but then I realized that would make me the biggest asshole ever. So I checked out the pretentious capital of the world, a.k.a. Whole Foods, and found some in the aromatherapy section.

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Hmm. I wasn’t sure if it was safe for consumption, so I scanned the ingredients list:

Ingredients: Vor-mag Water (water that has been vortexed and magnetized to raise the energy to a higher vibration that we believe to be more beneficial), and Rosa Damascena (Hydroessential Rose) Flower Oil.”

So, rose oil and water with magical powers. Sold. I told my brother about the magic vortex water in the pie crust, and he said, “Diarrhea isn’t a magical power.” Well, you can’t be too sure.

This recipe calls for every possible formation of sugar and fat, so it tastes kind of good in the same way sucking a sugar cube tastes kind of good, until your teeth start to hurt.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

Crust
• 2 1/4 c flour (I’m at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, and they only had whole wheat flour, so that’s what I used. Consider this the “healthy” version!)
• 2 tbsp. sugar
• 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (I might add a little more—I couldn’t taste it)
• 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
• 1 c butter, i.e. 2 sticks, cut into teeny tiny pieces “the size of a pea” (I warmed mine first so it would blend better. Don’t do this. Cutting warmed butter is the opposite of easy. It sticks to the knife blade and turns into giant blobs. Am I handicapped?)
• 1 tbsp. rosewater (I added about a tbsp. and a half, to amp up the magic)
• 7 tbsp. ice water
• egg wash for glaze (this is just an egg white whisked with water)

Filling
• 3 eggs
• 1/2 c heavy cream (ooh, it’s gettin’ nasty in here)
• 3/4 c sugar
• 3 tbsp. cornmeal (I had to ask what this was at the grocery store…)
• 1/2 c melted butter
• 2 tsp. white vinegar
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 3/4 c honey (I made sure to use local honey…does it seem like I’m becoming more and more of a douche bag?)
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• kosher salt for sprinkling on top of the pie (the source blog calls for “pink sea salt,” but obviously I’m not taking it that far)
Mix together all the dry ingredients for the crust, then add in the little pieces of butter—or, in my case, the giant melty blobs—and blend. Add in the ice water and rosewater gradually. At this point I used my hands to knead the dough into a homogenous lump.

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Roll the dough out onto a floured surface, like wax paper taped to a table. Roll until it’s about 1/4 inch thick, then sprinkle it with more flour and gently fold it in half (my brother taught me this trick). Carefully lift the dough onto your greased pie pan and lay it atop the rim, then unfold it. The flour should prevent it from sticking together. Pull off excess dough and save it to make “cute shapes” that are really just a waste of time, as you’ll see in a minute. Crimp the dough, or make little hearts or whatever the hell you want to do with it.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs and cream in one bowl, then add in all of the other ingredients in a separate bowl. We want to dirty as many dishes as possible during the holidays. Add the egg and cream mixture into the other ingredients slowly. Brush your egg wash over the crust (which you may want to chill for a few minutes. I don’t know why, just do it), pour the filling inside, and top it with fun shapes. Inspired by the “honey” label adorning the pie from the original recipe, I decided to make a tiny hive and two bees out of leftover dough. They looked OK pre-bake.

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Swiftly, they sank into the pie filling as if it were quicksand. Some of the hive stuck out, just enough to look really weird and like a mistake.

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Bake the pie at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. The middle of the pie will still jiggle when you pull it out of the oven, but once you allow it to cool for a couple of hours, it will set up nicely. Sprinkle generously with salt, and enjoy a future of diabetes!
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when life gives you lemons, pour wine in your ice cream

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Let me give you a little taste of what my life has been like lately. (Hint: not sweet and delicious, like the Riesling ice cream I made. That’s right, folks. I’m a fucking gourmet.)

A couple of weekends ago, I had an atypical Saturday that has somehow set the tone for all the days that followed. I saw my ex in the morning for the first time since our breakup and decided to go out that night to try to cheer up.

Somehow, my friends and I ended up at a horror-themed pub aptly named “The Crypt,” because it is where all civility and fun goes to die. There are about five cops lined up at the entrance in case someone tries to shoot/rape someone else.

We grabbed drinks—something sticky-sweet, bright red and full of bubbling dry ice, called the “Franken-berry”—and hit the dance floor. I don’t think “hit” is the right verb here—maybe, “slid between gyrating drunks who were carelessly slinging beer all over the floor.” I started dancing among the mob, and it wasn’t long before a stout, middle-aged Asian man found me and grabbed me around the waist.

These days, this is how we are courted. Men grab at us and thrust in a pseudo-rape fashion. It’s like we’ve regressed back to the days of cave-people.

photo c/o wheretoeatsavannah.com

photo c/o wheretoeatsavannah.com

I looked over at my friend and made my eyes as wide and panicked as possible. No—they were already like that. She, bless her heart, asked her dance partner if he had any friends who needed a girl to dance with.

“Yeah!” he replied, grabbing a pasty-white, lanky guy with a fuzzy, albino-translucent mustache and black clothing.

Oh, surely. Surely this man has a dance partner. Surely.

He quickly moved behind me and began thrusting against me like a dog stupidly mounting a pillow: all inane animal desire. I looked around in a panic. Any lesbians? Friends? Hello?

Anyone?

And then it happened. Mega-boner, I kid you not. He was literally raping me with clothes on. I could feel it poking me over and over again, expectantly.

OK, I thought. Drawing the line. Here’s the line. My anemic dance partner has totally surpassed it.

I pushed my way through the crowd, tears running down my cheeks. I was a little drunk, and a lot emotional. I glanced over at an androgynous midget, who casually cupped my ass before passing. (WHAT? WHAT.) I thought, This is actually a nightmare, and I’m never going to wake up.

Once I made it home around 3AM, I passed out and woke up two hours later to the sound of a female screaming. I wondered if it was my subconscious, but then I realized it was coming from next door. It was my neighbor getting laid.

The next morning, someone canceled plans with me for the second time, and I spent the day writing papers I had put off until the last minute.

So, what’s the point of all this? Well, if you’ve ever had a day like mine, there are two things you absolutely need: ice cream and alcohol. I decided to kill two birds with one stone by combining the two. Yes, fuck yes. Now let’s get down to business.

I screwed up the first batch because my ingredients curdled. I think it happened because I added whole eggs and not just egg yolks. So, if it looks like this, i.e. like baby vomit, toss it out.
Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1 3/4 c heavy cream
• 1 1/4 c whole milk
• 1 bottle Riesling (or any other sweet wine)
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 6 egg yolks
• 1/2 c sugar
• A friend or family member with a Kitchen Aid and ice cream attachment

Put some pans/dishes/whatever in the freezer. You’ll pour the ice cream mixture into these to cool it down quickly and freeze it before mixing it. Blend your cream, milk, and half of the sugar in a pot over medium heat. In another pot over high heat, reduce a cup of wine down to about a fourth of its size. Reducing it will capture the flavor of the wine.

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Whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar in another bowl. Add in some of the hot milk mixture, to temper the eggs and prevent them from doing freaky things like scrambling. Then, add the egg mixture into the milk. Once it all registers at 180 degrees (my brother had a thermometer he used to test this for me, but, Christ, most people aren’t going to go to the trouble, so just guess), pour some of it into a small bowl in the fridge, and the rest into your containers that you’ve had in the freezer. Make sure to cover with plastic wrap.

I don’t know why it’s this complicated, but…just let it freeze for several hours.

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Once the stuff in the freezer is frozen solid, take each container out and mix them all together until smooth. This is somewhat more painstaking than you’d think. Then, put it into your ice cream attachment, which has been freezing, too, and mix it for like 20 minutes, until enough air is incorporated into the ice cream so that it doubles/triples in size.

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Like the BLOBBBB.

Freeze it some more. Eventually, you’ll be able to eat it. Fuck—I just remembered that we added in more wine at some point. Maybe before you pour the mixture into the containers, add another 1/4 c. Then drink the rest.

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why buy caramel when you can be pretentious?

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I like baking things to give away. The reasons? One, receiving something delicious and homemade thrills even the grumpiest people (unless they’re anorexic), and two, I won’t eat all of it in one sitting.

So, I decided to bake brownies for a friend. But not just any brownies—smitten kitchen’s salted caramel brownies. I wanted something a little unique, and I’m discovering more and more that sea salt is the perfect addition to any otherwise-too-sweet dessert.

The source blog includes tasteful photographs of perfectly sliced caramels and comments about the caramel being “really easy to make.” For an experienced food blogger, yes. For someone with spastic hands and zero patience? Not quite.

I kind of fucked a few things up. Like, the process of cooking and slicing the caramel was a total bitch. I didn’t think I’d make it through—kind of like when I’m in hot yoga trying to bend my torso backwards and feel like I might vomit. But, just like in yoga, I persisted and finished the job without throwing up. Or farting in front of a bunch of people.

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Here’s how to make the caramel:

Prepare a medium-sized plate for the caramel with a square of parchment (I used wax) paper sprayed in cooking oil. Melt 1/2 c sugar in a dry pan until it’s liquid and caramel-colored. This could take a few minutes. Then, stir in 4 tbsp. unsalted butter.

And so begins the endurance test. You’ll immediately think to yourself, Why, I can’t stir in this butter! The sugar has solidified into immovable clumps! Ignore the protesting thoughts of your rational mind, and add in 1/4 tsp. sea salt and 3 tbsp. heavy cream (I used whipping cream…I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume they’re pretty much the same thing).

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This will all melt together, eventually, but the process blows major dick. I started trying to un-stick the sugar from the bottom of the pan and ended up flinging droplets of boiling-hot butter all over myself (I wasn’t wearing an apron—I don’t own one). The sugar became one with my plastic spoon, so I switched to metal, which attracted the remaining clumps of sugar like a magnet and quickly became too hot to hold.

Sometimes I wonder about my brain.

My tip is to use a rubber spatula, if you have one. Once this bullshit finally liquifies, and it will, pour it onto your parchment paper and freeze it for about 20-30 minutes. Don’t freeze it too long, or it will shatter (I’m speaking from experience, which I’ll expound upon later).

While your caramel’s hardening, you can gather the stuff for the brownie mix:

• 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I used bittersweet and cut down on the amount of sugar I used by about a third)
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1/4 tsp. sea salt
• 2/3 c all-purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper, or, if you don’t have any (I’ve learned my lesson about putting wax paper in the oven…), just grease the shit out of it. That worked fine for me.

Melt the chocolate and butter together. I simply stuck them in the microwave for two 30-second sessions, stirring in-between. You can also heat them in a heat-proof bowl over hot water, but I think that sounds too labor intensive.

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I snickered to myself when I looked in this bowl. It’s like Paula Deen’s version of cereal (JK Paula—I ❤ U!)

Once the chocolate is melted and fully incorporated with the butter, add in your sugar, then each egg one at a time (why? I don’t know. Just do it), then the vanilla and finally, salt. Stir in the flour slowly until it’s all nice and smooth, like poop the morning of a wine hangover.

Uh…

Chop the caramel into 1-inch squares when it’s firm enough. The squares on smitten kitchen’s blog are, of course, perfect. But as soon as I pushed my knife into the sheet of sugar, it cracked like glass.

See if you can guess which one is hers and which one is mine:

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Well, fuck it! That’s my motto. Just break it up into little pieces and stir these into the batter. Save some to place on top. Pour the batter into your greasy pan, top it with the remaining caramel chunks and maybe a few pinches of sea salt for good measure, and bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Not surprisingly, my god-forsaken EZ-Bake burned the edges for no reason.

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You’ll want to refrigerate the brownies before trying to cut them. Even though these are a gift, I tried a bite…which turned into a corner…despite the burned bits, these brownies are a major winner. Salted caramel should be on everything—that’s my takeaway.

all hail the cookie queen

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…er, not really. But these did turn out pretty f*cking boss, if I do say so myself. Despite a few minor mishaps.

I found the recipe on this blog and followed it almost exactly. I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies that had a little something extra, like the sea salt and toffee found in this recipe.

I got the chocolate chips and Heath bar bits down, but I have no clue what the difference is between sea salt and Kosher salt, except that one comes from the ocean and the other sounds Jewish. So I ended up using Kosher, since that’s all my parents have at their house (I’m home for a few days).

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The recipe also recommends using a standing mixer, which my parents do own, thankfully, except I literally had to retrieve it from, like, a 17th century trunk in the adjoining den. Carrying it to the kitchen was a feat, as the machine weighs about 94 lbs.

Here’s what you’ll need for salted toffee choc chip cookies:

• 1 c unsalted butter (that’s two sticks), room temp.
• 1 1/3 c light brown sugar
• 1/2 c white sugar
• 2 eggs
• 2 tsp. vanilla
• 3 c whole wheat flour (I used my parents’ “Enriched Whole Wheat White Flour Product,” which sounds like a load of bullshit, but it seemed to work OK)
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 12 oz. choc chips
• 8 oz. toffee bits

Attach a paddle…attachment…to the standing mixer and blend the sugar and butter together until fluffy. Then beat in the eggs and vanilla (I always pronounce it “vanira” in my head, like an Asian stereotype…I promise I’m not racist, my brain just works in a way that might seem racist…I’m stopping now).

Add in the flour and baking soda, slow as fuck. Like, maybe a spoonful at a time. I poured all of the dry stuff in and watched, mesmerized, as white clouds poured out of the mixer and drifted around the kitchen, coating every surface in a fine film of flour. Mix in the toffee bits and chocolate, not by hand. Unless you’re super strong, which I am not.

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Scoop 1 tbsp.-sized pieces onto a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a shitload of oil. I am hesitant to use parchment paper ever since I confused it with wax paper and filled my kitchen with stinky smoke. Top each cookie with a healthy pinch of salt and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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Boom! I nailed this one. Except for one tiny, inconsequential thing…some of the wrapper from the sticks of butter ended up in the dough. I pulled out a few scraps before baking, but there might be more lurking. I’ll just tell people it’s good luck if they find a piece of paper in their bite, kind of like a fortune cookie.

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If fortune cookies had blank, waxy fortunes.

the internet is full of lies

This is what I had intended to bake last night, via the blog Pastry Affair:

click the image for source blog

And here’s what I actually pulled out of my piece-of-shit oven:

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What the fuck.

Why, God? Why?

I even refrigerated the dough for a good twenty minutes to avoid those spread-out, crispy edges—to no avail, of course.

I used pre-made chocolate chunks instead of crumbling up my own chocolate, like the pretentious recipe recommends. I also don’t have one of those fancy honey serving sticks because I’m not an asshat, so I had to resort to spooning out honey like a pauper and clumsily dripping it all over my counter top.

But really, I did everything else exactly as it appeared in the recipe. Except I had to hand mix the dough, which was a bitch because it’s super thick, but I don’t think that an electric mixer would have made that much of a difference. Right? Right.

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So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Internet is simply another space that fosters either

A) an elevated sense of self (i.e. when 14-year-olds take selfies and discern a false correlation between their self-worth and the amount of “likes” they receive), or
B) feelings of hopeless, I’ll-never-be-as-perfect-as-these-other-people self-pity.

I reluctantly belong to camp B.

Those of us who tend towards this frame of mind need to remind ourselves, daily, that the world of digital media is an illusory, amorphous, mirage-like place where the only thing worth doing is watching cat videos. Or, you know, reading this blog.

Furthermore, like Anna Quindlen (I recently saw her present at the Landings Club in town—I was one of four 20-somethings in a sea of 60-year-old white ladies) writes in “Being Perfect,” it is absolutely exhausting to try to be “perfect,” or seem perfect, and it is a hopeless endeavor that only leads you farther away from your true self.

To return to the recipe, if you have an oven that isn’t make-believe, I think these cookies are worth giving a shot. Though they are rather sweet, and sticky.

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I began by preheating my imaginary oven to 350 degrees, but who the fuck knows what the actual temperature was.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1 stick butter
• 1 c packed dark brown sugar
• 1 “large” egg (so, I just had, like, a regular egg)
• 3 tbsp. honey (I used organic acacia honey from Savannah Bee Co.)
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 c all-purpose flour
• 3/4 c, um, whole wheat flour, which I didn’t feel like purchasing, so I just added more all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. salt (maybe a bit more)
• 6 oz. chocolate, “roughly chopped,” if you’re a goddamn pastry chef and are too good to buy packaged chocolate chips

Beat together the butter and brown sugar. I had to mix these like a motherfucker to get them semi-fluffy. Then add in the egg, honey, and vanilla. Stir in all the dry ingredients, and then fold in your chocolate.

Refrigerate the dough for at least twenty minutes, not that that made any difference for me. Bake tablespoon-sized dough balls for 8-10 minutes, or you can do what I did and take them out when the middles are raw but the edges are burned.

Allow them to cool, and enjoy!

cookies that under normal circumstances would be delicious

I’ve made these cookies twice before. They’re my girlfriend’s favorite and are generally quite the crowd-pleaser (why is my computer underlining that word? It’s totally a word!). We found the recipe on a former classmate’s adorable blog, which is basically the antithesis of my own and quite lovely.

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The key is adding browned butter and toasted coconut. The butter adds a nice, rich flavor, while the coconut adds flavor and texture.

I made a full batch today that I plan to share, even though they turned out a little…questionable.

The reason for this might be the fact that I was missing one of the key ingredients: butter.

But I did have some butter substitute. So I scooped it out of its jar and into a heated pan to “brown.” It turned bright yellow and almost immediately started to boil, splattering big, oily drops of faux-butter all over the stove top.

I, uh, took it off the heat. But ideally, if you have butter, you want to brown a cup of it for a while, until it turns caramel-colored (but not until it separates and looks all weird).

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Here’s what you’ll need:

• An oven preheated at 350 degrees
• I c butter (not butter substitute………)
• 3/4 c brown sugar
• 1 c white sugar
• 1/4 c milk
• 1 egg
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 tbsp. vanilla
• 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 3/4 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 c toasted, unsweetened coconut (mine was sweetened…oops)
• 1 c dark chocolate chips (I like the Ghirardelli semisweet chips, but this time I used some generic ones I found at CVS…I might be in money-saving mode)

Mix the sugars in with the browned butter, or, in my case, with the weird melted fake butter. Toast the coconut, gently and without burning. Set it aside. Add the milk and vanilla in with the butter and sugar, along with the egg and egg yolk.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Or, you can do what I did and mix everything together at once, because sometimes giving a fuck just takes too much effort.

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Chill the dough, basically forever. Because it is the stickiest dough your hands will ever come in contact with. I don’t remember it being this sticky before. Again, I blame margarine. After you chill the shit out of the dough, form it into balls on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Mine actually came out looking decent, but they’re so…light. And cakey. And they fall apart in my hand. They’re much more bland than I remember.

So, when in doubt, use butter!

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sea salt + nutella cookies

My parents came to visit me this weekend. We did a campy ghost tour on Friday night aboard the “Trolley of the Doomed,” and I convinced them to take me out to local fancy restaurants that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. I ate lots of seafood and drank many a mojito (and the occasional mint julep—it just seemed too apropos to resist).

They stayed at an inn near the river, so we spent more time on River St. than I would have liked. The cobblestone strip is always full of drunk tourists moseying along wearing clothes that are two sizes too small. The weather was lovely, though, so any excuse to be outside was just fine.

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Today it’s dreary. Here’s a list of things to do on a dreary Sunday such as this:

1.) Drink lots of wine alone

1.) Drink some cocktails with friends (or your cat)

2.) Clean! Or, do what I do and half-assedly run some Clorox wipes over 1/3 of the surfaces in your home, then push some stuff under the bed

3.) Get some homework done

3.) Get some work Make a to-do list

4.) Bake cookies!

I found the recipe for these nutella and sea salt cookies on this adorable blog. It’s fantastically easy and requires only five ingredients.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1 c nutella (or, like, basically one of those normal-sized containers)
• 2 tbsp. brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/2 c flour
• coarse sea salt to top
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of these ingredients together, minus the sea salt. An electric mixer works best, but since I don’t have one, I mixed the batter by hand. This is totally possible, but requires a little more (wo)manpower. After the ingredients are combined, stick the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes (or maybe longer, actually, like 15. I didn’t feel like 10 was quite enough). When I pulled out the batter, it was kind of wet and crumbly. I really don’t know why. But, it’s cool.
Roll the stuff into balls and bake for about 10 more minutes (size-wise, I aimed for a little smaller than a golf ball). Pull ’em out, sprinkle liberally with salt (this is key—it gives the cookie its appeal by adding a nice contrast to the rich, chocolate flavor), and let them cool a bit.
The cookies weren’t as aesthetically pleasing as I’d hoped, but they still tasted like sweet little fairy turds. Bon appetit!
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