San Francisco is for Chocolate Lovers

Our assignment for Green Media this week was to check out a recipe/cookbook from Gleeson Library and make one of the dishes. While standing by the stacks on the third floor, one giant book with the word “CHOCOLATE” on the spine caught my attention right away and I made a beeline for it. Although I eventually put that one back, the books next to it piqued my interest. I eventually chose the Ghirardelli Original Second Edition Chocolate Cookbook.

The Ghirardelli book, published in 1983 (and autographed by the author!) was interesting in that it had recipes for a variety of sweet and savory dishes, including entrees. All of them included some amount of a Ghirardelli chocolate ingredient in it, whether it was chocolate chips or ground cocoa. One thing that struck me in the book’s introduction was a sentence about how an “unfettered” imagination” can inspire people to cook and experiment with unimaginable flavor combinations to create delicious dishes. This cookbook combined science and art and I thought that was fascinating. Nearly all of the recipes were named after a part of San Francisco. It was fun turning the pages and being able to recognize the neighborhoods and points and the recipes associated to them. From North Beach Spaghetti Sauce to Haight-Ashbury Granola Cookies, this book looked like it covered it all.

As I said, it’s fun being able to recognize the places these recipes mentioned. This was one of the main reasons for why I chose the recipe I did. The recipe I chose was…*drumroll*… Lone Mt. Chocolate Peanut Treasures.

Let’s deconstruct that for a minute.

  • Lone Mountain: That iconic monstrosity we hike up every morning to get to Green Media.
  • Chocolate Peanut: Only my favorite flavor combination ever. Seriously. Ever.
  • Treasures: Ahh!! Who doesn’t love treasures and their association to pirates?!

There it was on page 111. It was like fate. Here’s the recipe below:

Lone Mt. Chocolate Peanut Treasures

  • ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • ½ cup chunky peanut butter (Note: I only had smooth peanut butter, so I bought a bag of peanuts, crushed them up, and mixed them in)
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups unsifted flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 box (5 oz.) Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Wafers*/Milk Chocolate Chips

*I stopped by the Ghirardelli store near Union Square last Friday to see what chocolate wafers were (and to get my hands on a free sample), and they just looked like really big versions of chocolate chips, except they went for $17. My reaction: What the heck?!?! Since that’s an absurd amount of money to pay for giant chocolate chips, I decided to forgo the chocolate wafers. I looked into the price of the chocolate chips there too, but they were even higher than what I had seen them for at a local grocery store. Normally I just ignore it when recipes call for a specific brand of chocolate and just use whatever I have on hand, but this time I decided to at least stay true to Ghirardelli. I got a bag of regular chocolate chips at Luckys and figured 3 or 4 chocolate chips would be about the same amount as one chocolate wafer. Problem solved.

The main ingredient

Page 111

The first few instructions were pretty straightforward: Combine the wet ingredients (butter, peanut butter, egg) with the sugar; stir in the flour and baking soda; chill for one hour. Afterwards, I enclosed 3 to 4 chocolate chips in a teaspoon of dough and rolled it in a ball. I crossed the top with a fork because according to the recipe, “Crisscross marks the spot for the hidden chocolate wafer…” and baked at 350°F for about 10 minutes. One thing I realized after the first batch was that I shouldn’t have waited for the cookies to turn golden brown around the edges like I normally would. Instead, I should have taken them out at 10 minutes while they were still soft, but set. However, one trick I’ve learned over the years is that if you place a slice of white bread in a container with slightly hard or dry cookies, the cookies will soften. It’s called cookie osmosis! Yay, science!!

Baking in the oven

All in all, I was happy with the results. I plan on copying a few of the other recipes to try them later. It’s hard for me not to be interested in a book when it contains two things I love dearly: chocolate and San Francisco.

Ready to eat!!

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Bonus feature! You don’t need to read this if you don’t want to, but you can if you’re interested. I had cut this from my post, but I still liked it and thought I’d share it:

I had also picked up Hershey’s 1934 Cookbook because I loved the old, vintage cover with two small children digging into a delicious-looking three-layer cake. Although Hershey isn’t my favorite chocolate, I picked it up out of loyalty for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, which are a Hershey brand. The pictures of the dishes inside feel old: the colors are super-saturated and the image quality teeters on the edge of looking like a drawing or painting. The recipes were for classic chocolaty desserts—cakes, pies, cookies, icings, and beverages. One recipe that caught my eye while I was flipping through the pages was called “Icing for Chocolate Midgets.” (Now take a second. Did you just reread that sentence? Are you giggling slightly uncomfortably? I was.) I definitely paused when I saw it on the page. Then I thought if this was the recipe for icing, then what in the world were Chocolate Midgets? Sure enough, a few pages later was the recipe located in the cookie section. Included in the ingredients list was “1 cupful chopped nutmeats.” I put the book down, laughed because sometimes I have the sense of humor of a 12-year old boy, and then took a picture to show my friends. (I later Googled that term. In a nutshell [see what I did there? Har har] it’s just an old word to mean the insides of the shells). I’m almost positive that we would never see something called that in a more modern cookbook, what with us trying to be more P.C. these days, but it’s awesome that our library would have this great find that can give us a glimpse into what was socially acceptable decades ago. Ultimately, I decided not to use a Hershey recipe, but I’m glad I got to look through the book because parts of it made me laugh out loud.

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