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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

chocolate chip cookies

My family (and by family I mean about 12 people I am related to by blood and another 12 or so I'm related to by history) is going camping next week.

We return to the same campground every year (and more often than not, the same campsite every year). I've been going there since I was a bitty little kid. Things haven't changed much. There was the year that there was a nearby forest fire and we had to delay entering the campground for a night. And there was the year they updated the bathrooms. Other than that, though, the campground, the creek, the tiny little general store, and even the handlebar mustache on the ranger who checks us in, are deliciously familiar and unchanged, year after year after year. Don't ask me the name of this campground, though. My mother is convinced that if I tell anyone about this little corner of paradise, soon it will be overrun with people. People other than the 25 or so of us, that is.

One thing that did change, though, was that somehow, gradually, I went from being a child to being a parent. I went from hopping in the car on departure morning to packing the car. I went from showing up at mealtimes to planning, shopping for, preparing, cooking, and cleaning up mealtimes. I went from sleeping in and waking up to a hot breakfast to... okay, I still sleep in and wake up to a hot breakfast. I'm a lucky gal.

Which brings me to this week. T-minus 6 days 'til we head north into the Sierra National Forest. That puts me into full preparation mode. I am cooking and freezing and repackaging and condensing food this week.  I started yesterday with baking and freezing cookies. Just in case I don't get around to everything on my list, I want the important things done!

Of course, though, as you surely know by now, my first thought, with any kitchen endeavor, is How do I use up these vegetables?

No, you're thinking, (especially if you are one of the aforementioned relatives), she didn't put vegetables in the cookies?

Oh yes, my friend, I did.

In the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (which I am still reading, and still planning to review in its entirety but how can I get through it when I have to stop and try her recipes?), there is a segment that discusses how everyone who has ever grown zucchini ends up with more zucchini than he or she can possibly handle.  More vegetables than she can handle? I can relate to that!

One of her solutions is zucchini chocolate chip cookies. In the book she swears that her cookies were served at a child's birthday party, and that not a single guest had a clue that there was any plant matter baked in.

I followed the recipe exactly (almost!), except that I used yellow patty-pan squash instead of zucchini. They are just so cute that they seemed right for cookies. In as much as vegetables can be right for cookies. Plus, I thought that the yellow would blend in a bit better than green zucchini. I gave two cookies to two children, and they both loved their treat. The older, wiser child, though, asked "What's in them?" I replied, "Chocolate chips." She countered, "No, I mean like carrots? Or some other vegetable?"

This is a picture I stole from this website, because I forgot to take one before I shredded my squashes. Just in case you, like me, had never heard of patty pan squashes. 

Foiled again. However, I didn't see anyone refuse seconds. They really are delicious cookies ... light and fluffy and sweet and chocolatey.

ZUCCHINI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)
(Makes about two dozen)
1 egg, beaten 
1⁄2 cup butter, softened 
1⁄2 cup brown sugar 
1/3 cup honey 
1 tbsp. vanilla extract 

Combine in large bowl.

1 cup white flour 
1 cup whole wheat flour 
1⁄2 tsp baking soda 
1⁄4 tsp salt 
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon 
1⁄4 tsp nutmeg 

Combine in a separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture

1 cup finely shredded zucchini 
12 oz chocolate chips 

Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350°, 10 to 15 minutes.

This post is linked to Cast Party Wednesday.