White Chocolate Pistachio Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies and day two of my trip to Columbus, Ohio

by Irvin on February 23, 2012 · 16 comments

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White Chocolate Pistachio Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Last year I had a wonderful opportunity to travel to Columbus, Ohio to experience the best culinary delights that the city had to offer. Though I was dubious about the trip (which I talked about in an earlier post) I found myself consistently surprised at all the city to have to offer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to overlook the Midwest, as I grew up in St. Louis, a city that actually has a lot to offer itself in terms of food. But having living in the food mecca of San Francisco, I find that my jaded palate sometimes gets in the way of my open mind. I shake my fist at you jaded palate because Columbus had some inspiring food, enough to inspire me to make these white chocolate pistachio dark chocolate chunk cookies. (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Of course I had already written about the first day I had in Columbus, where I met up with awesome bloggers, ate fantastic Italian food and licked my weight in ice cream. However, day two had me waking up bright and heading over to Skillet, where my pal Brian of A Thought for Food and I decided we needed to sit at the window table. You know photographer types, always chasing the light. Of course, as photographers we needed a good subject matter, and Skillet provided with abundance. Farm fresh eggs are freely available all over the Midwest, but Skillet went beyond that with omelettes, biscuits and gravy, griddle cakes and sausages that made my stomach bulge. Brian looked at me in amazement as the food came out and later confided in me that the meal there changed his outlook on how good breakfast could be. True story.

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Skillet "Rustic Urban Food" rocked the breakfast hardcore.

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Brian and I couldn't decide what to order, so we told them to bring us a sampling...

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Behind the scenes at Skillet, making the hungry bloggers breakfast.

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Skillet's Ohio Corn "Hoecake" with Berkshire pulled pork. Yeah, it's as good as it sounds.

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So when we ordered a sampling, we thought they would bring sample sized plates. We were wrong...

Completely stuffed, we jumped on the bus to the Franklin Park Conservatory where they were having an exhibition called Hungry Planet: Local Food, Global View. Large scale photographs showed local food trends around the world, from Asia to Africa to our own backyard here in America. As enlightening as the exhibit was, the rest of the Franklin Park Conservatory was even more eye opening, with Dale Chihuly glasswork permanently installed all over the park, as well as their community garden called Growing to Green which has memorial gardens, community gardens and school gardens all growing produce and other vegetation. Apparently it’s become so nationally acclaimed that Franklin Park Conservatory has become the national headquarters for the American Community Gardening Assocation. So cool!

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Dale Chihuly glass sculptures on the wall at the Franklin Park Conservatory

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Hungry Planet exhibit, with large scale photographs showing how cultures eat across the world.

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A site specific Dale Chihuly artwork in it's environment.

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An example of the community gardens, growing vegetables.

From the Conservatory, we went to Thurn’s Specialty Meat, where they make smoked and cured meat of all sorts. A family business for over 120 years, we poked around in the back, looked at the smoker, and the refrigerated room. I felt slightly creeped out by the dark smoky room after room of hanging meat, but I can’t deny that the smell was amazing and the sausage and cured meat we sampled were top notch. Walking into Thurn’s reminded me of walking into the past, where family craft was passed down from generation to generation and if you didn’t have enough cash on you, you could put it “on your bill” to pay the next time you visit.

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Behind the counter at Thurn Specialty Meats

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Some of the specialty meats they make in-house at Thurn.

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The meats hanging and curing in the back at Thurn.

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Showing off Thurn's meat (that sounded way dirtier than it was).

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Thurn also takes custom orders, curing or smoking whatever the customer wants.

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The smoker in back.

Lunch had us feasting at Katzinger Delicatessen, where I gorged myself on old school deli sandwiches and dill pickles. This is one thing that San Francisco sadly lacks, a decent deli, and Katzinger is the sort of place that I sore miss from my Midwest days. Stacks of meat, fresh baked bread, big barrels of pickles and a menu that is nearly overwhelming, I couldn’t but help sigh with defeat as I barely finished half my exceedingly large sandwich. Thankfully some of my fellow food bloggers were there to help me finish it off.

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The menu at Katzinger's was overwhelming, as a good deli should be.

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I refrained from getting anything from the cold case.

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Local Columbus blogger Rachel from Hounds in the Kitchen reaching in for a dill pickle.

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The BBQ brisket sandwich smothered in slaw.

Of course, the fact that I was full obviously wasn’t part of the schedule, as we immediately walked down the street to Pistacia Vera, one of the highlights of my trip. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of desserts (hello, just browse this blog) and this classical dessert boutique bakery had the goods. Shiny cases of French macarons, croissants, cookies, cakes and tarts all tempted a sweet tooth like myself. I watched as the lovely bakers in back rolled out beautiful sheets of laminated dough to make croissants (oh how silky smooth the dough looked). I watched as they handed out macarons to us all. Then I gorged myself on the sampling of desserts, as they fed us items that seemed tailored to make us swoon.

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Pain au Raisins at Pistacia Vera.

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Chambord Passion Fruit Truffle Torte

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Making shortbread cookies in back.

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Making croissants with laminated dough.

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Cutting the laminated dough for the croissants.

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Croissants ready to be baked.

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Croissants so flaky they shatter as you touch them.

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The dessert case at Pistacia Vera. I'll take one of everything please.

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No, wait, I wasn't serious about one of everything...oh well. I guess I'll have to suffer and try it all.

Thankfully there was a little bit of a bus ride over to the next stop, which meant a break from eating (and I could slip into my food coma nap). Arriving at Rockmill Brewery, I secretly thanked the itinerary gods that we were drinking and not eating more. Located on a pastoral horse farm, the Belgian ale that they brewed there benefits from the fact that the water they use at Rockmill comes from an exclusive well that has the same mineral content as Walonia Belgium. As we got a tour of the brewery and saw how they made their beer, we sampled their beer, along with bread, cheese and chocolate which magically changed the way the beer tastes. I’m not a huge beer drinker but I came away with a new appreciation of beer all the same.

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The owner of Rockmill Brewery showing us how to drink beer.

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Dubbel is a fairly strong brown ale while Saison is a lower alcohol brew with lots of hop.

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The bloggers sampled chocolate, bread and cheese along with the excellent beer.

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Brian celebrated his birthday that day...

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By popping his cork!

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Jane from The Heritage Cook enjoying herself as we get a tour of the brewing facilities.

We headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up/pass out before dinner time. I was originally slated to go to another restaurant, but was able to weasel my way into Kihachi, which I had been wanting to go to, ever since I heard Michael Ruhlman and Anthony Bourdain rave about it how this Japanese strip mall restaurant blew them away. We put ourselves in the hands of the chef and the hosts who ordered for us and we weren’t disappointed. From the hard-to-find Japanese Matustake mushrooms to deep fried shrimp that pop in my mouth, I found myself drooling not only over the food but all the dishes that they were coming on. Once a food blogger, always a food blogger I guess.

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An unassuming strip mall hosted this Japanese restaurant.

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The expensive Matustake Japanese mushrooms found at the bottom of red pine trees.

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Deep fried fresh water shrimp that popped in my mouth.

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Sea bream compressed sushi with shiso leaf and yuzu shoyu.

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Braised sweet potato, pumpkin, eggplant, snow peas, shrimp & baby octopus.

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The cabinet of dishes that had my food blogger heart go pitterpatter.

Despite my jaded viewpoint, pretty much everything I saw and ate in Columbus surprised and excited me. Not only were the bloggers I was traveling with wonderful, but the food and sights we saw were utterly memorable. One of the treats at Pistacia Vera that I saw, but didn’t taste was a pistachio and chocolate chip cookie. Though I never had a chance to sample it, I thought it was only fitting that I did my own spin on what I’m sure was a fantastic cookie. I didn’t want to replicate it exactly, as I’ve had a couple of chocolate chip cookie recipes on this blog already, so I ground the pistachio into a paste with some sweet white chocolate, and made a white chocolate pistachio flavored cookie studded with dark chocolate chunks. Just try not to gorge yourself on them like my partner AJ did when I made them. You’ll stomach (and waistline) will appreciate it.

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AJ couldn't stop eating these. Just one more, he said, as he reached for another...

Special thanks go to Experience Columbus for hosting me on this trip to Columbus, Ohio. All travel, accommodations, meals and tours were provided by Experience Columbus. That said I was not compensated otherwise for what I wrote above and everything I have written is my own opinion.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Belinda @zomppa February 23, 2012 at 8:23 am

That glasswork is super mad cool! Those cookies look like they were made for me….

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Jenn February 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Some of the best classics of Cbus! Man I miss that city….

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Brian @ A Thought For Food February 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm

HA! I hadn’t actually read the post before RTing it… so so so funny! I had a great time with you at Skillet! We may have gone a little overboard, but it was worth it. Can’t wait to eat our way through Ohio together in a few weeks!

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Kim February 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm

What’s not to love about this post? The sign about the pickles is enough to make me want to go there immediately. And the meats. And the dough. And the glass sculptures.

Love.

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Jeanne // Shop Sweet Things February 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm

What a great tri[! I wouldn’t think Ohio would have much to offer too, but you’re right, the food does look amazing. Thanks so much for sharing! Must try your cookie recipe soon, sounds uber delish!

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Candy @ Candy Girl February 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm

The cookies look great! Thanks for this write up. Colombus is only a few hours up the road from me and I’ve been dying to take a road trip to see and taste all it has to offer. Your posts will help me when I get around to planning it!

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Ryan February 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a Silpat, and now I have one. My partner has a weakness for pistachios – despite a slight allergy – so there’s no way these will last for more than a few minutes at our house.

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Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) February 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Ha! Me and a pickle!

Your pictures are incredible, especially at Thurns. Thanks for sharing about your experience in my fair city.

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Ryan February 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Thanks also for the Pin It button at the top of the post. I’ve been tempted to pin things, but also squeamish to do so. Proper credit on Pinterest seems scarce, so I wasn’t sure how bloggers felt about having things pinned. I feel much better about doing so now.

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anneliesz February 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

Remember my comment to you recently that sometimes you just want to nosh on a perfect cookie and began nudging you to think about selling yours? ;) *nudge, nudge* Well, I’m with AJ on this one- those cookies look ridiculously good. If you’ve got one taking up necessary counter space, maybe bring it to brunch tomorrow… I know a few people who would be happy to help alleviate you of that burden.

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Redd H from Salted Spoon February 25, 2012 at 10:53 am

These cookies look amazing, as does everything that you had on your trip. What an awesome culinary experience!

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Valerie February 25, 2012 at 7:29 pm

The beautiful process of croissant making always makes me think of that scene from “It’s Complicated.” :D
Great post, and delicious-looking cookies! I’m always on the look-out for new chocolate chip cookie recipes.

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Christa G March 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I sooo wanted my cookies to come out like yours. Mine fell apart, what did
I do wrong? I now have a giant bag of really tasty crumbs….Waiting to be turned into cookie ice cream or a crust of some sort I guess.

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Irvin March 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Ooh ouch! I don’t know. I tested the recipe a couple of times to make sure it worked. Not sure why they would fall apart.

Sorry about that! Did you change anything with the recipe? Maybe you needed grind the pistachios more? Either way, so sorry they didn’t work out for you!

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Christa G March 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Irvin, wow thanks for gettting back to me, personally. I guess I best be trying again. I do have a bad habit of “fudging” measurements on recipes.

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Erica October 23, 2012 at 5:18 am

Used coconut oil in the white chocolate melt, and the pistachio paste turned out heavenly. I would eat the paste by the spoonful on it’s own.
Great recipe – cookies turned out wonderfully. Taking them into the office in a glass canister, too cute!

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