Memorial Dayweekend is upon us and with it the start of summer holidays, gatherings and picnics. While most of the country celebrates this day to honor the men and women who died serving in the United States Armed Forces, here in New Hampshire, Memorial Day is combined with Muster Day. Civilian military duty was required in New Hampshire until the mid-1800’s and, once a year, men in service presented for inspection. After the official ceremonies, the gatherings became festivals with music, food and drink.
The tradition continues here in Hanover, where the high school band performs at the town celebration on the green near our home. Local officials speak, the fallen are remembered, ceremonial muskets are shot in the air. Every year I go to the event with mixed emotions. I love gathering with my neighbors, enjoy the music and appreciate the effort of the participants. But, I am a pacifist. I believe in strong gun control laws. I abhor any idealization of violence and guns. Still, every year any cynicism I feel is completely washed away when the ceremony moves from the green to the graveyard where a lone trumpeter plays taps as Girl and Boy Scouts place fresh American flags on veterans’ graves, to honor the sacrifices they made for our country, for each of us. I cry every year, grieving for the senseless loss of life that is a part of war. While I deeply appreciate the service of every man and woman in our armed forces, I hold on to the hope that someday we’ll learn war is not the answer. Someday, we’ll celebrate peaceful, nonviolent methods to resolve the world’s many problems. Instead of shooting guns in the air, we’ll release butterflies to recognise that the peaceful nature of humanity is as strong or stronger than the violence within us. This is what I hope for―peace.
Summer holiday gatherings always require delicious food. These Dark Chocolate Chip Cookiesare nice to have on hand for your guests or to bring to a party. Reminiscent of peanut-butter-cup candies, these cookies can be enjoyed by young and old alike. They are extremely light and crispy, a perfect accompaniment to fresh fruit for dessert. You might want to crumble them on ice cream, or fill two to make a homemade ice cream sandwich. For the chocolate purists among you, use white or dark chocolate chips in place of peanut butter chips. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!
Have a wonderful holiday weekend.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
P.S. As promised, here are 4 more summer dessert suggestions from Gathering Flavors:
- Deep Dish Blueberry Pie(If blueberries are not available yet, substitute any fresh berry in season.)
- Chocolate Chip Macaroons(Delicious any season!)
- Red Velvet Cake(No food dye included. The red is from delicious, nutritious beets.)
- Cranberry Apple Cake(Substitute fresh chunks of rhubarb for the cranberries.)
P.P.SComing soon: a series of 2 cooking classes on Eating Well for Summer, June 30 and July 14.Susan Reade, a Certified Health and Nutrition Counselor, and I will join forces to help you make the most of the bounty available during this season. More information shortly!
DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Yield: 36 Cookies
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat or traditional whole wheat flour*
- ¾ cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup real maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups peanut butter chips
- Sea salt
- In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, vegetable shortening, granulated sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract. Beat again.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Gently beat together just enough to combine. Add the peanut butter chips. Mix in completely.
- Using your hands, shape the dough into 36 small balls. (This is a sticky cookie dough, don’t worry if it is stickier than cookie doughs you normally make.)
- Place the balls on a plate and cover tightly with Saran wrap. Refrigerate the balls for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours before baking. (Refrigerating the dough ahead of baking helps the cookies to maintain their shape. Do not skip this step.)
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (If you have a convection oven, set it to 325 degrees convection.) Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the chilled balls of cookie dough on the cookies sheets, spacing them evenly on the prepared pans. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake until the cookies are puffed and baked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- Serve and enjoy.
- White wheat flour can be found at King Arthur Flour store or catalogue. Traditional wheat flour works fine, too. The cookie will be a little heavier than those made with white wheat flour.
- White chocolate, bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips can be substituted for the peanut butter chips to make a double chocolate cookie.
- If you do not gobble these cookies down as soon as they are ready, store in an airtight container. They also freeze well.
One Year Ago:A Muffin Named Pleasure