We all have our favorite relatives, and one of mine is my ubber cool, rocking anthropologist cousin who lives in Los Angeles. Growing up in East LA she's left university teaching and is an academic and researcher now living in West LA. One of the reasons that she is a favored cousin is that we have so much in common -- from our interest in cultures, US subcultures, and of course, FOOD!! She just send me an article from the LA Times by Wedgeworth and Deane about the joys of finding cookie dough in your refrigerator. This has reminded me of a darling specialty cooking shop that I wanted to talk about.
I live in the Lincoln Square area in Chicago's North Side. Originally I fled here to escape the gentrification in Andersonville, after fleeing the same in Lake View, where I grew up. (I have friends who asked where I will move to next so they can buy low and live in a nice area, since I perpetually manage to escape into the next upscaled neighborhood). One of the things I very much love about Lincoln Square is that we have an alderman who handles the difficult task of encouraging growth and gentrification, which seems determined to happen anyway, but balancing it with keeping a neighborhood feel. The latter is kept intact by encouraging smaller independent retailers and discouraging the big box retailers, who inevitably lead to parking and irritating traffic congestion. But I digress. One of the charming little shops in my area is a place called the Chopping Block.
A few months ago I discovered that they started carrying premade cookie dough. I normally am a whole grain type of gal, and I certainly never buy premade store bought cookie dough because of the preservatives and other additives that are in them. Well, I thought I'd experiment and try one of their doughs. Lacking the preservatives that usually make me ill, I enthusiastically decided to dive into testing them. I started with Peanut Butter Oatmeal, which turns out to also have coconut in it and is amazingly scrumptious. I bought a friend Chocolate Chip Krispy, but I've never received any samples so there probably just aren't any left. Then I tried the holiday cookies. The sugar cookie is good, almost as good as my own without the work!! I've improvised and sliced them much thinner, then spreading some melted chocolate inside to bind them, and dipping part in chocolate and then finely ground pistachios. Improvising is so much more fun without all the other cleanup! Last but not least, I've tried the Chocolate Peppermint, which I highly recommend right out of the oven. However, don't hang out by the cooling rack too long or those sweeties will never make it to the cookie jar. My next venture, when they ever have it in stock again, will be White Chocolate Cherry. Check them out yourself if you will, but save me one of each! Chopping Block Cookies