Tag Archives: Hugs

A Cure for Ebola: Chocolate Chip Cookies

They say 10,000 hours is how many hours you need to do something to master it. 10,000 hours of harmonica? Master of harmonica.

This is why I’m so EFFING GOOD at sleeping.

I’m 29 years old and assuming I’ve slept around 8 hours a night, I’ve slept nearly 85,000 hours. NAILED IT.

In the culinary world, with the exception of eating (roughly 32,000 hours), I’ve only ever done one thing even remotely close to 10,000 hours. That is bake chocolate chip cookies.

I can’t approximate how many times I’ve made them in my life. I just remember that I started making them when I was in elementary school (Beaches Episcopal School, where you at!?!) and I really never stopped making them.

There is nothing more soul satisfying than a chocolate chip cookie. It’s comforting. It’s reminiscent of childhood and lunch boxes and Christmas and hugs and everything good in the world. A chocolate chip cookie is the antidote to every bad thing in the world. Chocolate chip cookies have healing powers. Chocolate chip cookies can cure ebola.*

*Cookies probably can’t cure ebola, but it certainly couldn’t make ebola worse. Please note, I am not a doctor.

I don’t do anything fancy with my chocolate chip cookies, but I swear to you they’re practically perfect every time. They’re puffy and chewy, yet super light.

I do have 2 things I do every single time that give me success.

  1. I use an ice cream scoop to form the dough. Every time you get big, beautiful cookies.
  2. I don’t overcrowd the pan. A standard sized sheet pan holds 5 cookies, staggered to give them room to spread. (This was very difficult when I only had a convection oven that fit a half sheet pan and only had one rack in it. Baking took HOURS.)
The Scoop Method

The Scoop Method

So if you want chocolate chip cookies that cure ebola**, try this recipe from my grandmother, Nestlay Tollouse.

**These cookies have not been scientifically proven to cure ebola.

Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies from the back of the bag, adapted from VeryBestBaking.com


  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened | I almost always microwave it. Good for you!
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (one 12-oz. pkg.)  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts | Listen, this is a personal choice here, but I think nuts in chocolate chip cookies are disgusting. Their texture gets weird. Eliminate them and focus on the perfection.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Whisk ingredients together. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts (yuck). Drop by ice cream scoop onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet):Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.

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The Grossest Food Typo: Mom’s Meatload, err, Meatloaf

I’m going to say something that is going to make me WILDLY unpopular, but, I’m a huge racist…

…wait for it…

…against the autumn.

(Ew. Not a REAL racist, you jerks.)

I hate fall. I don’t swoon over pumpkin spice. I like when the leaves change because it’s pretty, but then the trees are naked. For like, a really long time. And don’t even get me started on the cold.

Ok, fuck it. I got started on the cold. I’m from Florida. I went to an outdoor high school. And during the fall and winter, I wore a heavy down coat to get from class to class. And I’m pretty sure it got to 50 at the lowest. Is it ridiculous? Yeah. And do I hate it? YES.

I hate sweaters. Because sweaters make you sweat. (It’s IN the NAME.) And because I’m basically Madame Maxine, sleeves don’t fit me. Every sweater is basically 2-8 inches too short.

So, yeah. I prefer the summer.

One of my besties, Alison, is the official ambassador for autumn. She’s trying to convince me to love it. She’s doing a pretty good job so far because she dropped off a lovely jar of hot cocoa on my porch on Thursday morning JUST BECAUSE. That made me like fall (and her) just a little bit more.

If truth be told, the one thing I’m excited about from an autumnal perspective is the food. Cause, duh. Fall is is the time for soup and comfort food. Which is why I made decided to make Alex Guarnaschelli’s Mom’s Meatloaf.

My mom has always made good meatloaf. For me, meatloaf always comes with velvety, buttery mashed potatoes and crisp, salty green beans. That’s how I always had it growing up. It’s like a hug from the past.

….Which is why it was a huge disappointment when I made soupy mashed potatoes and corn. THAT is like someone reminding you that your favorite dog died on your 8th birthday. (Oh, Chi Chi!)

But hey, at least the meatloaf was good. Actually, it was great. A comforting reminder of home and family and warmth and….the seasons…and oh shit….maybe I do like fall after all.


Mom’s Meatloaf from Old School Comfort Food


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil, plus more if needed
  • 2 small yellow onions, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher sald
  • 1 pound ground beef, preferably 8 ounces ground sirloin and 8 ounces ground chuck
  • ¾ pound ground pork, preferably shoulder
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons plain dried bread crumbs, plus more if needed
  • 2/3 cup ketchup, plus more for brushing, preferably Heinz
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 medium bunch curly parsley, leaves chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium bunch fresh tarragon, leaves chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus another as needed

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you are like me, you will use aluminum foil and you will have your meatloaf stick. If you use aluminum foil, spray your foil with cooking spray, people.

Make the meatloaf mix. In a medium skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, season with salt, and cook, stirring from time to time, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and set aside to cool. Reserve the pan; do not wipe it out.

Put the beef and pork in a large bowl and gently knead them together with your hands. Spread the meat out on the bottom and the sides of the bowl and season with 2 teaspoons salt. Add the paprika, the pepper, bread crumbs, ketchup, sour cream, parsley, tarragon, the onion mixture, and 3 of the eggs. Mix to blend.

Taste test. Heat the skillet over medium heat; if there isn’t a sufficient layer of fat left in the pan, add a little more oil. When the pan is hot, lower the heat and add a small piece of the meatloaf mixture. Cook until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and taste. If too moist, add more bread crumbs. If too dry, add another egg.

Mold the meat mixture [ew] into the shape of a rectangular loaf pan, roughly 9 x 5 inches, and place it on the parchment-lined baking sheet. The meat will feel slightly wet. It should form into a ball but still stick to your hands slightly. Bake for 15 minutes.



Brush the meatloaf with additional ketchup and lower the oven temperature to 350. Bake until meat is firm when touched or when it has an internal temperature of 150, 30 to 35 minutes more. Remove from oven, pour off any excess grease, and allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Brush again with ketchup, if desired.

Great Meatloaf, Mediocre Everything Else

Great Meatloaf, Mediocre Everything Else

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