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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Frank's Favorite Cookies

My daughter Kate is a tennis player, and I often say that her coach Frank is the most important person in her life. This is no joke. My husband and I realized long ago that Kate is far more concerned with pleasing Frank than she is with pleasing us. It took me a while to accept this, but now that I have, we are all much happier.

Frank is a saint. The fact that he coaches tempermental junior tennis players all day long without killing them is a true testament to his skill not only as a coach but as a human being. This is not to say that Frank never loses his cool. In fact, around our house we call him the Vince Lombardi of tennis. He is tough and demanding and doesn't accept excuses, but the kids respond by rising to the challenge of being the best tennis players they can be.

Despite the fact that Frank demands top fitness and commitment from the high level junior tennis players he coaches, his own fitness standards are a little more relaxed. He is, shall we say, a snacker. He prefers Coke with "real sugar" and never met a cookie he didn't like. The kids all know this, and, throughout the day, everyone arrives with a little something for Frank. One kid brings Frank his favorite bagel sandwich, another will bring a six pack of soda, and it goes like this all day long. Needless to say, Frank is never hungry. Sometimes it looks like a courtside buffet.

Kate likes to bring Frank brownies and cookies. We're not talking just a couple of cookies or a brownie or two. No... she likes to bring him the whole batch. Now you must be thinking how nice it is that she bakes cookies for Frank but you would be wrong. Yes, it is true. I am a huge pushover, and it is I who bakes the cookies for Frank. I like to think that Kate would if she had the time, but given school and her hours on the tennis court, well, I'm the cookie baker. I have to admit, I don't mind. As I said, the man is a saint.

Frank's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Cooks Illustrated)


2 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
12 tbl. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus one egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups chips (chocolate, Mini M & M's -- whatever you like)
3/4 cup toasted walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

Mix the melted butter and the sugars until blended. (I do this by hand.) Mix in the egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the chips and nuts, if using.

Using a small scoop, (about 1 1/2 inches) scoop the dough on to the prepared cookie sheets. I usually put 9 cookies on each sheet.

Bake, reversing the cookie sheets' positions halfway through the baking, until the cookies are golden brown around the edges, about 15-18 minutes. Cook on the cookie sheets for a few minutes and then transfer to wire racks.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

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