Keeping It Real: Chocolate Chip Cookies & Jill Zarin

Tired of antiseptic posts about tartan wallpapers and museum visits? I am, at least at this moment. So let’s get real. If the Housewives can do it, why can’t we?

Speaking of the Housewives, let’s start with Jill Zarin. It’s official: she’s a liar. I just watched the premier of the 4th season of the Real Housewives of New York where she lies to Alex about knowing Alex was going to be at the wedding just moments after whispering to Her Man Bobby that she didn’t know Alex was going to be at the wedding, et cetera, blah blah blah and so forth. When Jill took a turn for the worse last year I felt as if the Jewish advice columnist I never had (at least since Ann Landers made her graceful exit) had rejected me, thus rendering all the millenia of her accumulated wisdom worthless. Jill Zarin could no longer tell me what to do through the medium of Bravo TV and I missed all that unsolicited advice. I still clung to the idea that Jill Zarin had gone temporarily mad, blinded by the glare of TV lights and all those RHONY autograph hounds that follow her from book signing to book signing. (And if you don’t know what RHONY stands for, why don’t you google it instead of sitting there feeling superior to me and my pathetic TV-watching habits.)

Anyway, Jill’s nuttiness wasn’t an exception, it has turned out to be the rule. Kelly’s nuttiness (never in doubt as the rule) is more or less intact, along with her deep affection for showing off her tanned stems and face in contrast to her blindingly white teeth. Alex is still seesawing between delusional thinking (“I don’t want to sound arrogant,” she says, “But when I look in the mirror I like what I see.” No Alex, you don’t sound arrogant. Just deranged.) about herself and a deep zen-like clarity about everyone else. The Countess and Sonja are like two cheerleaders who married way way up, learned a little French along the way and then hit the massive brick wall of middle age, like Norma Jeans who never quite became Marilyns. And best of all is Ramona, who has become the glue that holds the whole mess together. She is a true Real Housewife, maintaining a semblance of humanity without losing her ability to be an entertaining wreck. At least this was the case as of 9 o’clock last night EST, when the show ended. And my workout. Because — as I don’t have Cable — I can only watch this junk at the YMCA during my workouts on the little TV attached to the elliptical machine.

The RHONY ladies were so crazy in the first episode, bickering at some girl’s wedding (which culminated in Ramona taking a finger swipe at the wedding cake to taste the icing) that I guffawed out loud a few times. I was a little embarrassed, but I figure a couple of such outbursts in the gym on my part have to be better, say, than that girl who was there the last time I worked out, hollering to an acquaintance across several machines about the voiceover work she did on that James Cameron movie, Avatar. She even re-created her lines, right there in the gym. I was pretty amazed and disappointed. I mean, I thought the Y was for the proletariat, not Hollywood types (and yes, I consider anyone who does voiceover work to be a Hollywood type). In fact, I think the Y should be off-limits to anyone earning a serious income, and further, that teachers, the disabled and people 85 and over should get first dibs on all the equipment, including weight machines. Just such a rule might already be in place, if the view at my local Y is any indication. I can safely say that it is not a meat market, unless it is the end of the world and the only chance for the continuation of the species is to grab the nearest body and hope for the best. And in that case my local Y will serve humankind just fine. And it is exactly why I love working out there: because I fit in so well.

I had gone to the Y not to watch TV (I just lucked into the premier of the Real Housewives) but to make up for the last week of alcohol-free carb-fueled partying that I just spent with my mother and sister. I didn’t go to the gym a single time they were here (yes, Amy, it is your fault), but I did go to Ikea, where I enjoyed the multi-thousand calorie cinnamon roll, among other less fattening offerings. Like the really nice beds my mom bought for us based on our general neediness. Yes, it’s a tactic I still use even at my advanced age. To be such a disaster when my family comes to visit that they spend the whole time buying us groceries and, in my mom’s case, furniture. The visit of ’06 is still legend among my people, the one where two of my sisters and my parents show up after a lengthy road trip to find…no couch. Yes, that’s right. There was no where to sit, as we had not quite got around to purchasing furniture for our place. My sisters confessed later that they nearly went into a panic, contemplating a monk-like existence during the length of the visit. To add to the general atmosphere of discomfort, we keep our hardwood floors bare and in need of refinishing (I try to convince myself that it looks faintly Belgian and Old World but it doesn’t. It just looks awful).

So when I came home from the YMCA last night, I found Mr. Roving Home, not making chocolate chip cookies like I imagined he was doing the whole time I was at the gym. (He has resorted to becoming the baker in the family as my cookies are nearly always terrible to look at and worse to consume.) Mr. RH had casually mentioned that he might make cookies while I was gone — big mistake on his part: there is nothing casual about such a statement — and I already had an elaborate game plan for not eating too many of them, so imagine my disappointment to come home to a clean kitchen, no cookies in sight. I tried to find an non-humiliating way to ask him to make them, but finally just came out with it. I needed something chocolate-related and delicious to wash the taste of Real Housewives out of my mouth and, at the same time, rid my body of all the positive effects of working out. Cookies! I thought to myself. The perfect solution.

And people, what cookies they were. My man has found the ultimate cookie recipe, thanks to blogger and all-around shockingly amazing person Alice over at Savory Sweet Life. And this, I declared upon eating it, shall be the last cookie I have until Blogfest 2011 (see sidebar) which is looming in just a few weeks in New York, attended by all sorts of bloggers who look way too glamorous to be bloggers. And this includes you, Abby, even if you are my friend IRL.

I really think blogging should be the Radio of the 21st century, reserved for people whose visages are better left unseen. Instead, design blogs are written by all sorts of extremely attractive types, who at this moment are probably engaged in pilates or yoga in between client meetings. While I’m eating an awesome, awesome cookie (two awesomes aren’t even enough). The LAST cookie I’ll eat until…did I already promise that I wouldn’t have any more sugar until Blogfest? Oh well, whatever. I bet Jill Zarin eats lots of sugary junk and just look at her! Shouting at parties and random betrayal aside, she is on a TV show with a line of bedding for sale and a book to boot! So bring on the cookies, husband. I’m just keepin’ it real.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER

Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 22 mins
Serves: 48 Cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour *If at all possible, please weigh the flour
  • 3/4 tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until it is nice and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes on medium-high speed on a K-5). Add both eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour until cookie batter is fully incorporated. Finally add chocolate chips until well distributed. The cookie batter should be somewhat thick. Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough or use a medium cookie scoop and plop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown. Remove from heat and allow the cookies to stay on the cookie sheet for an additional 2 minutes. Pick up the parchment paper with the cookies still on top and transfer to a cool non-porous surface. Allow the cookies to cool on the paper for at least 3 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Click HERE for more detailed instructions, great photos, troubleshooting tips, et cetera from Alice’s great site.

7 thoughts on “Keeping It Real: Chocolate Chip Cookies & Jill Zarin

  1. I love this post for soooooo many reasons. First, RHONY is my guilty pleasure (tho now no longer a secret guilty pleasure), and I made the WORST batch of CC Cookies last week using a fancy schmancy cookbook that I immediately returned to the library. Thank you for the BEST one. Can’t wait to try it!

  2. All right, all right, I’ll admit it – I skipped right down to the part where you linked to me. Not (solely) because of egotistical blogger tendencies, but because I haven’t yet watched the first episode of RHONY! And I love that brand of crazy, almost as much as I love pointing at the TV and screaming about how un-New-York they are. (Note to you and Jane: I know a lot of terrific writers, yourselves included, who are RHONY addicts. Hmmm.) Now I have to go get glam for lunch with you today. Dang, it’s raining. Dang, I’m actually cooking four kinds of beans. Shinier moments have been had.

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