A few months ago, a representative from Chobani contacted My Life Runs On Food about the amount of yogurt in my recipes. She enjoyed reading about the Orange Cornbread with Greek Yogurt and Blackberry Sauce and offered to ship a large box of any of their 11 flavors. Until her email was read, I was unaware of the amount of yogurt in my recipes. It’s not an ingredient associated with childhood memories. Today, a large container of 2% or whole milk, unsweetened yogurt is in my refrigerator. The unsweetened and plain flavor provides versatility for spontaneous cooking. It’s used in salad dressings, as a simple topping for Mexican-inspired dishes, and biscuits. In my favorite breakfast cereal of late, unsweetened yogurt is mixed with cream honey, chopped pears, granola, and toast pecans. Greek yogurt has unknowingly become a pantry staple. It was missed, especially after the first big and surprise blizzard of the season. Afterwards, I learned to maintain a full pantry of the basics: Flour, butter, dark maple syrup, eggs, both cow and almond milk, vanilla, and bittersweet chocolate. It’s not fun to wake up after a snowstorm to an empty refrigerator. It’s realized, most stores in New York open regardless of the weather, but who wants to walk through snow in the mornings? It’s best to hide under the covers for a few extra hours.
One morning, Brooklyn woke up after a beautiful night of hail, thunder, chilly winds, ice, rain, and snow. Most of us have never experienced “snowthunder,” for the storm left a few feet of snow. I woke up a couple hours after sunrise to walk around the neighborhood and to experiment with a new camera received as a holiday gift from my parents (Thanks, Mom and Dad for your support… I love you). It’s mostly used for food pictures. The beauty of this recent snowstorm is the perfect time to start learning about taking pictures outdoors. That morning, I struggled with the manual and cheated with the automatic settings. Before returning indoors to enjoy the warmth, a neighbor and I exchanged a quick conversation. He mentioned this snow is the pretty type, for it has a faint aqua blue tint. His delightful discovery encouraged his appreciation of a crazy storm dropping piles of snow to shovel. He didn’t think I would grasp the underlying meaning of the conversation. “It’s similar to the expression, ‘stop to smell the roses’ on a Spring day,” I replied. He smiled and laughed at my analogy.
Later, I would discover he’s right about the color of the snow, because a calming blue tint is seen in the photographs. The color is ironic, especially after an intense nightly storm. Unfortunately, many of the photographs didn’t capture my attention. Perhaps, photography classes are in my near future.
Towards the middle of the day, I was craving a chocolate dessert to soothe my disappointment of taking poor photographs. Plus, my neighbor was still shoveling the snow since our conversation. Using the essential pantry items, Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cookies were baked into an existence. The yogurt adds a soft and cake-like texture to a comfort treat. A few cookies were shared with the neighbor and extras were placed in the freezer to mail around Valentine’s Day to my boyfriend.
There’s an inspirational quote by the People’s Republic of China’s President Hu Jintao: “Challenge and opportunity always come together… under certain conditions, one could be transformed into the other.” That’s what life is right now. The snow pictures are my first attempt (in quite a while) at outdoors photography. It’s a new challenge to rethink, discover, and try again. In the short-term, at least the photographs of the cookies had a beautiful, warm tint. Life is ironic that way.
Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cookies
1+3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter; room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp. dark maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (whole milk or 2%)
1 cup pecans; roughly chopped
12 oz. Bittersweet chocolate (no less than 60% chocolate)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets with either butter or olive oil.
2. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together.
3. In a large mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light in fluffy (about less than 5 minutes).
4. Add the egg, vanilla, and maple syrup to the butter. Mix until just fully incorporated.
5. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter-egg mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Mix in the yogurt. Add the last half of the flour mixture to form the cookie batter. Mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix. The batter might be a little tough.
6. Fold in the pecans and the chocolate chips into the batter.
7. Drop cookie batter by the teaspoons onto the greased baking sheets, at least one inch apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are just beginning to turn golden brown.
8. Remove the cookies onto a wire rack to cool.
Recipe adapted by Gwen Steege’s The Search for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie, submitted by Lisa DeMauro of Yonkers, New York.
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