I rarely talk directly about being gay on this blog. Sure, I talk about my partner AJ all the time, and if you happen to read this blog on a regular basis, you might remember me participating in the gay pride parade last year. But I almost never talk specifically about me being gay because I don’t feel like I need to, it’s should be obvious to anyone who visits. But with San Francisco Gay Pride coming up this weekend, I feel like I need to let you all know a few things about me that you may not know. One, I am gay. Two, I bake a lot. Three, I also like to write really verbose blog posts. And with that, I present to you the third and final Jumbo Cookie in my Jumbo Cookie Trio pack that included the Blueberry White Chocolate Jumbo Cookie and the Strawberry and Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie. The All American Classic Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Now you may be wondering what a chocolate chip cookie has to do with being gay. Shouldn’t I be baking up some ridiculously fabulous rainbow cake in a jar or some super crazy pink triangle cookies? But here’s the thing, these cookies are pretty fantastic. Like amazingly fantastic. Like FABULOUSLY fantastic. And who did I get my recipe from? Well the amazingly fabulous fantastic David Leite, a fellow homosexual like me.
This past weekend I went to a wedding for my dear friends Susie and Jai. Long time readers may remember Susie and Jai from their engagement cookies that I baked last year. Susie and I go way back to college, where we both studied graphic communications (her in advertising, me in design). We bonded after spending all our time in computer lab together, working on our projects and have stayed in touch ever since. Though I rarely see her (I need to work on being less busy so I can hang out with my friends), I was thrilled when she moved out here to San Francisco a couple of years ago and even more thrilled to be at her wedding, watching her marry the man of her dreams.
At the reception, AJ and I ended talking to one of Susie’s father’s friend Mark, who happens to be gay. He seemed pleased to see AJ and I (apparently we were the token homosexual couple at the wedding) and as we chatted away, he introduced us to another couple, whose son had come out to them. The mom, in typical mom fashion, was completely worried about her son being gay. Mark, I think, thought that AJ and I would be a reassurance to her that just because their son is gay, it doesn’t mean that he is destined to a horrible life alone. Apparently AJ and I have become the example of how being gay isn’t a bad thing. The mom proceeded to ask me about growing up gay, my family’s reaction to me being gay, how life was now that I was out as a gay man, how long AJ and I were together, and what plans we had for the future.
I didn’t have a problem answering all her questions, but what I just wanted to tell her, what I wish I had a chance to tell her, is this: “Your son will be fine. I mean, as fine as any other human being on this planet will be. He’ll live his life, fall in love, get his heart broken, fall in love again, go on bad dates, have bad hair days, get a job, have awful days, have heartwarming fantastic days, find friends, partners and coworkers that love him for who he is, and general go about his business like everyone else. In short, if you, as his mother, have done your job loving him as much as you can, instilling in him a sense of self worth and of who he is – which, by the way, coming out of the closet is just one of those steps of discovering who he is – then he’ll be just fine.”
So here’s the thing. Being gay can be hard. I won’t deny that there are difficulties and obstacles that straight people don’t have to deal with. But doesn’t everyone have difficulties and obstacles (if you don’t, I hate you – also you are probably very boring)? But it can be pretty awesome too. If I wasn’t gay, I wouldn’t be living in San Francisco, with my amazing supportive partner AJ, and doing the things that I am doing right now. If I wasn’t gay, I probably wouldn’t be living the life that I living right now. And you know what? I love my life. I really do.
But don’t just take my word on it. There are a number of other gay food bloggers out there that are living lives way more fabulous than me. Take, for instance, David Lebovitz whose an inspirations for all food bloggers – his life in Paris is pretty much the dream of nearly every food blogger out there. Sean Timberlake of Hedonia and Punk Domestics has always been there for me when I had a question about blogging, helping me to navigate newbie bloggerville. Garrett of Vanilla Garlic is one of my all time favorite people in the whole world, warm and willing to share so much. Broderick of Savory Exposure is probably the sweetest guy I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, while his photography always makes me drool with envy at all the food he partakes of. I absolutely adore Andrew of Eating Rules, who helping to change the way we all eat by challenging people to think about where the food comes from that we eat. Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites whose photography is utterly gorgeous and his casual humor just makes me smile every time I read his posts. Brian of My Thought for Food whose personal stories and thoughtful photography always makes me smile (and hungry) every time I visit his site. Jun of JunBlog whose photography and stories about his Filipino heritage makes me want to dive into some pork adobo immediately. Michael of Food for the Thoughtless who’s blog is probably the one blog I always recommend when people ask me what blog they should be reading; he’s the David Sedaris of food blogs. And Dan Lepard, who astonishes me every time I visit his site with his incredible bread and baked goods.
And, of course, David Leite. I have a special place in my heart for David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria who not only is ridiculously smart and witty, but also always willing to share his knowledge with everyone. David is the one responsible for the original chocolate chip cookie that I based my recipe on, and it’s a winner, through and through. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had friends tell me “I’ve tasted hundreds of chocolate chip cookies, and this one is the best I’ve ever had.” And I’ll be honest with you, they are totally correct.
This chocolate chip cookie recipe is a classic. I’ve gone through numerous recipes of chocolate chip cookies, and in the end I always come back to this one as my base. I sometime change it up, adding spices, or using different flours (whole wheat, kamut, or spelt work really well, as does mesquite). Sometimes I chop up my bittersweet chocolate (I prefer that actually) sometimes I use chips (it’s easier and I’m lazy). There’s the addition of nuts (not a fan, but some of my friends love it), occasionally I add toffee bits to the cookie (friends seem to go crazy when I do that) and sometimes I change up the butter to brown butter or coconut butter. But it’s almost always ladders up to this classic recipe.
And in the end, it’s not the flashy rainbow colored cookies or hot pink triangle pastries that say gay pride to me. Gay pride, to me, is celebrating all things fabulous. And to me, there’s nothing more fabulous than a warm, right from the oven, chocolate chip cookie. Really.
Here’s a list of other fabulous gay and lesbian food bloggers that you all should check out. Did I miss one? Are you a gay or lesbian food blogger? Leave a comment below and I’ll add you to my list!
- Adam of The Amateur Gourmet
- Adam of BlogHungry
- Allen of Eating Out Loud
- Becky of Chef Reinvented
- Ed of Is it Edible?
- Edd of The Boy that Bakes
- Jim of Comfort in Crumbs
- Gail of One Tough Cookie
- Greg of Sippity Sup
- Kate of Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
- Ken of Hungry Rabbit
- Mark of Baketard
- Meg of Grow and Resist
- Nathan of The Chocolate of Meat
- Sara (aka Jerkey) of La Cuisine de le Jerque
- Scott of Eat with Me
- Scott of In Scott’s Kitchen
- Sean of Cooking with Sean (and Joey)
- Shuna of EggBeater
- Zach and Clay at The Bitten Word
The All American Classic Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie
By Irvin Lin
This recipe is adapted from David Leite’s award winning New York Times article about Perfection and Chocolate Chip Cookies. As usual, I tinkered with the recipe, and in a rare move, actually SIMPLIFIED it. I made it the way David wrote it and compared it with my simplified version and they were pretty identical, except mine has less ingredients. But if you want to try his original recipe to compare, by all means, check it out. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
That said, there are three basic things that you need to keep in mind that make this chocolate chip cookie above and beyond the regular chocolate chip cookie. One, use salt on top of the cookie (not too much, but just a touch) to help bring out the caramel and temper the sweetness. Two, make it jumbo sized, as the cookie crispy edges, gooey center and perfectly cooked center ring makes it a cookie eating experience, as opposed just a snack (if you loathe to eat such a large cookie, just split in half, but do bake them jumbo size to begin with). Three, Be sure to let the cookie dough sit in the fridge for at least 36 hours before baking. I like to actually let it sit in fridge for 3 or 4 days, but I think others might tell you that it’s a bit risky to let dough sit around that long (it does have raw egg in the dough). That said, some of the best cookies I’ve made have been from dough sitting in the fridge for 5 days (I also make sure to use very fresh free range farm eggs when I do make these cookies). I’m still alive. But do it at your own risk….
3 1/4 cups (480 g) all purpose unbleached flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup (285 g or 2 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cups (285 g) dark brown sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (227 g) white sugar
3 cups (455 g) chopped 1/4 inch chunk bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
sea salt for sprinkling on top
1. Place flour, baking soda and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Using a balloon whisk, vigorously stir the flour until all the dry ingredients are evenly distributed.
2. Place the eggs, vanilla and sea salt in a medium bowl and beat until the eggs are a uniform color and you can’t see any more egg whites in the mixture.
3. Place the cubes of butter, brown sugar and white sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the butter and sugar on medium until fluffy and light, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add half the egg mixture and beat to incorporate. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add the rest of the egg mixture.
4. Add half the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on low to incorporate. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add the rest of the flour, mixing to incorporate. Add the chopped chocolate and stir on low speed to distribute evenly throughout the dough.
5. Split the dough in half and wrap the dough in plastic wrap tightly. Repeat with the other half and store in the fridge for at least 36 hours or (if you are daredevil like me) 3 or 4 days or longer. The longer you store, the more time for the flour to hydrate and the cookies to develop a richer deeper caramel taste.
6. Once you’ve “cured” our cookie dough in the fridge for the required amount of time, preheat the oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
7. Measure out 100 g cookie dough and roll them into a ball (it’ll be between the size of a large golf ball or a small baseball). The longer you let the dough cure in the fridge, the drier the dough will be. You can warm it up in your hands by squeezing and massaging it to help it stick together if it’s too crumbly. Flatten the ball into about a 2 1/2″ disk and place on the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle a touch (just a touch, not too much) of sea salt on top and continue with the rest of the dough, spacing the dough about 2” apart. I fit six cookies onto a half sheet (17” x 12”) sized baking sheet.
8. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges of the cookie are dry and golden brown but the cookie is still soft. Do not overbake. Leave on the sheets for about 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool. Eat warm with a large glass of milk if you can.
Makes 18 cookies.