Spoiled Rotten

June 19, 2010

Six years ago, right around this time of year, Randy and I were living in London.  One day I sat in a wonderful cooking class at Leith’s – a day-long class on vegetarian food.  The teacher was swift and engaging and while I didn’t learn much in particular, it was a joy to watch such a professional work.  My eyes kept drifting up to the stacks upon stacks of copper pots on the shelves behind her.  She mentioned that the school had bought the pots and pans back in the 1950′s and they were the ones still used in the kitchens.  Dreamily I thought, “I want copper pots from Paris”.  Practically I thought, “I just got brand new stainless steel All Clad pots – there is no way I could justify buying copper”.  Dreamily I thought, “For my 40th birthday, I want to go to Paris and buy copper pots”.  The class wrapped up, I went home and told Randy about my 40th birthday plan – six years in the future – to which he said, “Got it”.

“Got it” in Randy language means many things.  Sometimes it means “please stop talking, I understand you” and other times it means “I am taking your criticism and I am moving on”.  In this instance it meant “you are making a special request of me and regardless of how frivolous it may sound, I will see that I fulfill it”.  If you know my husband, he is a get-shit-done kind of guy.  He is a tremendous problem solver, an incredibly hard worker, and he really likes to plan.  What you may not know is that he is a pretty romantic guy and he really likes to make me happy.

So, my 40th birthday is this summer (July 26th to be exact) and on Tuesday, I am flying to France.  Randy has business in Cannes so I will meet up with him there, then fly to Paris for a few days, then take the Eurostar to London for one day, and then back home.  It will be whirlwind.  I feel very lucky.  My in-laws are flying in from Atlanta to stay with my kids and I will get my husband all to myself for a whole week.  A week in Europe where I have not been in six years.

Will I buy pots?  I don’t know.  It is highly impractical.  I can’t carry them on the plane and to ship them would be ridiculously expensive.  I hope to maybe find a brand that does business online and buy them that way.  I have a list of shops to visit but our time is limited, especially since one of our two full days in Paris will be a Sunday.  Maybe I will just buy a symbolic pot (like a ½ quart butter-melter) and spend the rest of my money on chocolate.  I know that it doesn’t matter.  I will lay on the beach in Cannes.  I will have an early birthday dinner with Randy and my parents (who are joining us) in Paris.  I will get to have lunch with Ele and Hilary in London.  I get to fly on an airplane armed with stacks of books and magazines and not one single Sesame Street DVD, garbage truck, or Leap Frog game.  Parents of small children, you know what I am talking about.

Whenever I feel extra spoiled, I feel like I want to give back.  Here is where the chocolate cookies come in.  I got the recipe for these treats from David Lebovitz’s new book Ready for Dessert.  David Lebovitz, if you don’t know, is an American pastry chef and ice cream guru living in Paris.  He has written a number of cookbooks (including the only ice cream book you will ever need – The Perfect Scoop) and also a memoir about living in the city of lights called The Sweet Life in Paris.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a contest, pick a winner, and send that person to Paris?  Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.  So, I’m going to have a contest, pick a winner, and send that person a copy of The Sweet Life in Paris and winner’s choice of one his other books.  Just tell me what your favorite spot is in Paris and if you haven’t been, tell me what would be your first stop in that beautiful city.

I will pick a winner when I return from my journey.  I will have a few posts go up while I am gone.  Until then, à bientôt!

One Year Ago: Strawberry and Sour Cream Ice Cream (from The Perfect Scoop!)
Two Years Ago: Spicy Lime and Herbed Tofu in Lettuce Cups (pardon the photo)

Flo’s Chocolate Snaps
Adapted from Ready for Dessert
Makes about 50 cookies

I took the liberty of adding ½ a cup of mini chocolate chips to my batter which you could, of course, leave out.  I cut my cookies a bit thicker than he recommends and next time I will just listen to him so they are thinner and snappier.

3 cups flour
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
½ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Into a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the sugar on medium speed just until smooth.  Add the vanilla, then beat in the egg and egg yolk.

Gradually add the cocoa mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until completely incorporated and no streaks of butter remain.  If using, mix the chocolate chips in by hand using a spatula.

On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into quarters, and shape each quarter into a log about 7 inches long and 1½ inches in diameter.  Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until they’re firm enough to slice, about 1 hour.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  (DT: I skipped this step and had no trouble with the cookies sticking.)

Slice the logs into disks ½-inch thick and place the disks on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about ½-inch apart.  Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking, until the cookies are puffed and slightly firm, 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with a bit of sugar.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.  They will continue to firm up and get “snappy” as they cool.

(The dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.  The baked cookies can be kept in an airtight container for 2 days.)



61 Comments »

  1. Favorite place in Paris? A teeny, tiny crepe stand on the Rue Cler. And by tiny, I mean literally the guy can barely turn around in it. But oh, the crepes. And I’m not the only one who thinks so…the stand may be small, but stapled to the front are glowing reviews from a couple of big-time U.S. papers! Have a spectacular birthday, Dana! Bon Voyage!

    Comment by Vicki Wilson — June 19, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

  2. Dana, this is simply awesome! You know, my beloved surprised me with a trip to Paris on my Bday this year (I am 10 years ahead of you… what can I say? time flies, and I am still having a ton of fun!)

    I know you will have a wonderful time, copper pots or not… :-)

    Enjoy it all!

    Comment by SallyBR — June 19, 2010 @ 11:32 pm

  3. Lucky Lady! What a beautiful story, and wonderful husband. Hope Paris and a week away are a special treat for your 40th!

    Comment by Janna — June 19, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

  4. Happy almost birthday!

    I’m amazed that Randi remembered, but I’m pretty sure that means he’s a keeper. I approve :P

    I hope you will be sure to eat tons of bread while you’re there (I was going to say cheese but then remembered your aversion) and TONS of chocolate. And pastries. And croissants. Are you sure I can’t come to Paris and eat the city with you?

    I think my first stop in Paris would be to a bakery. Because I would want the eating of really good brie to commence asap.

    These cookies are lovely. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s to trust Lebovitz with dessert recipes.

    Comment by Joanne — June 20, 2010 @ 12:41 am

  5. Are you sure you can’t throw in a trip to Paris? I’m kind of looking for a free one.

    My last time in Paris was 32 years ago and I was kind of sick – cold or allergies. My brother just kept taking me places by Metro. We’d pop up and there would be one monument or another. I have no idea what the geography of the City is really like.

    I might have to claim the cafeteria in one of the residences at Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris as my favorite spot. I ended up sleeping on the floor of a dorm room the night before because there were no rooms available anywhere (we tried fleabags to 4 star!) My first French baguette and cafe au lait were more than welcome.

    Comment by Stephanie — June 20, 2010 @ 3:10 am

  6. Never been to Paris, but I’m sure any ol’ bakery would be my first stop. New to your blog and am enjoying it immensely.

    Comment by Tina — June 20, 2010 @ 3:29 am

  7. Easy – Pierre Herme. Life changing.

    Comment by Sylvie — June 20, 2010 @ 7:01 am

  8. Oh, I hope you get the pots somehow, some way! I love that you are fulfilling this birthday wish.

    Can’t wait to see you!

    Comment by Hilary — June 20, 2010 @ 9:54 am

  9. Hey Dana,

    How exciting and what a wonderful husband you have. You must be thrilled.

    I have been to Paris three times and love it there, although it is some time since my last trip.

    It is wonderful just wandering around with no plan, as the architecture is just stunning, but I usually pick up a what’s on guide from a newstand and buy a travel ticket that allows me to whizz about on the buses, metro or trains, it is very handy.

    I love visiting the flea markets, eating a crepe or fresh baguette whist wandering around and sitting outside a cafe sipping on a citron presse. And the patisseries are to die for.

    Make sure to take lots of photos for us to enjoy :)

    Comment by Jacqueline — June 20, 2010 @ 10:14 am

  10. Have a wonderful time! I’ve never been to Paris but have been to France many times, which when I think about it is absolutely ridiculous…..(explained by the fact that most of my trips to France were when I was little and my parents avoided taking us anywhere we couldn’t camp). If I were to go to Paris I would head to a market (as I love french markets) and likely a bakery and cheese shop would soon follow! And a cafe to have a glass of wine and people watch. Maybe with a baguette and butter….yum. Then all the landmarks…

    Comment by Charlotte — June 20, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  11. Happy birthday and happy travels!
    I have never been to Paris so how about a stop at Notre Dame Cathedral before finding a boulangerie?!

    Comment by Kathleen P — June 20, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

  12. Any of their outside markets –they are wonderful–you just want to buy it all!

    Comment by June Oxner — June 20, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

  13. i’ve never been to paris, but i think my first stop wold have to be a cafe for an espresso and a pastry, or maybe a croque madame. i can’t wait to go to paris!

    Comment by Ellen — June 20, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

  14. Oh, just one spot??? There is so much to love. I think my favourite place is Paris at night…it’s broad, I know, but there were the creperies and bakeries, too, no I just can’t pick one. My first, and only, visit to Paris was on my honeymoon nearly 8 years ago. Since then I have learned so much more about baking and developed an obsession with bread making so one day I dream of visiting every bakery I can and eating, eating, eating…

    Comment by Rachel — June 20, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

  15. Oh, my favorite spot in Paris – in front of Sacre Coeur at night when you can see the lights on the Eiffel Tower. But there are so many more – it’s my favorite city!

    Comment by Nancy — June 20, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

  16. Ah, I’ve never been to Paris but for my dreams. My dream spot would be a busy street corner, one with an outdoor cafe, of course. I dream of sitting and breathing in the city of love, the city of chocolate and pastry and coffee and butter and cream. I would absolutely inhale Paris!

    Comment by Jackie — June 20, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

  17. We were just in Paris this April- first time in 15 years! We were fortunate enough to leave our 18 month old in Wales with my Mother-in-Law. Just 4 days but what days they were! Fave place now is Mariage Freres in le Marais – a fantasy world of tea and the best lunch I’ve ever had.

    If I was to go back I’d go there first. I’ve been jonesing for the Rouge Kimberly tea like you can’t believe! A delicate balance of red tea, flowers and spices. Drinking tea there is like sampling wine when there are hundreds of varieties to choose from. The tea, the waiters in white linen suits, the 1920′s decor… It’s a sensual experience to rival any in Paris!

    Have a wonderful trip Dana! Still loving your blog!!!

    Xo

    Comment by Kelly — June 20, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

  18. My first stop would be a wonderful outdoor market…sunshine, fresh produce and goods, and of course, people watching! Have a great time!

    Comment by Kristen — June 20, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

  19. Paris is beautiful. I loved the flickering lights of the Eiffel tower – totally stunning to watch. I went there last year for my belated honeymoon, so have no doubt you will enjoy it.

    Such a wonderful present. Guess you can’t wait for your Brithday now, so much to look forward to.

    These biscuits look fantastic too. You’ll be spoiled rotten for choice in Paris cakeshops.

    Comment by mangocheeks — June 20, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

  20. Have never been to Europe much less Paris. But I read David Lebovitz’s blog and long to visit the outdoor markets and bakeries.

    Comment by Carmen C — June 20, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

  21. yum… can’t wait to try these cookies! have a great time in Paris… first stop would have to be Berthillon for ice cream.

    Comment by stephanie — June 20, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

  22. what a sweet way to treat yourself, dana. happy birthday.

    i’d live the sweet life in paris and go immediately to a creperie to get a nutella or marmalade. to go. bc i’m going to louvre next.

    Comment by sweetie — June 20, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

  23. The Ile St Louis!

    Sounds dreamy! Have a fantastic trip!

    karenreichmann@hotmail.com

    Comment by Karen — June 20, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

  24. There’s a hospital, or what I think is a hospital, near Notre Dame. I peeked in their courtyard, and saw a statue dressed in bright gold pajamas. I neither speak nor read French, and my traveling companion was off photographing the cathedral. Too see that bit of whimsy made my day. The fact that I was in Paris! didn’t hurt, either.

    Comment by Cynthia — June 21, 2010 @ 1:52 am

  25. Sounds like you received the best birthday gift ever, thumbs up to Randy!

    I really need to go to France some time in my life, although I have no idea what I would do first! I’d definitely want to find a cute little cafe or bakery after the plane ride to fill me up, then I’d want to hit the flea markets!

    And two cookie posts in a row, sheesh, I need to make both, but I also need to fit into my wedding dress in 6 weeks!

    Comment by Jacqui — June 21, 2010 @ 2:25 am

  26. Happy birthday, and bon voyage — it sounds like a great trip.

    I haven’t been to Paris, but by coincidence I was recently looking at a list of “10 most delicious things in Paris” on Mr. Leibovitz’s blog, and I have to say that my first stop would either be a chocolate shop or a bakery. Yum.

    Comment by Beatrice — June 21, 2010 @ 3:06 am

  27. I would investigate Astier de Villatte
    173, rue saint honoré 75001 Paris
    I hear that they carry some pieces done by the fabulous artist: Nathalie Lété!
    Her plates are sold at ANTHROPOLOGIE, but the unusual pieces are trickier to find.

    I LIVE for your amazing selection of recipes. I thank you and my friends thank you.

    Comment by Lisa Hoffman — June 21, 2010 @ 3:57 am

  28. I went to Paris about 7 years ago with a few friends. We stayed and ate on the cheap, as we were all in college, but it was one of the best trips I ever took. I think my favorite place may have been sitting on the steps leading up to the Basilica in Montmartre, eating a picnic lunch of baguettes and goat cheese and watching boys on unicycles. Amazing.

    Comment by Pam — June 21, 2010 @ 5:44 am

  29. I’d have to say espresso and a baguette in the morning at any cafe and the eiffel tower lights at night – enjoy your trip!

    Comment by Julie — June 21, 2010 @ 6:32 am

  30. Well, I’ve never been to Paris, but I think my first stop would be any street side cafe where I can sit outside, watch the people, and eat good bread with brie and other cheeses.

    Second stop, the Louvre.

    Comment by Joni — June 21, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

  31. Lucky lady! I’ve never been to Paris…my first stop would be somewhere for a glass of wine!

    Comment by Rachel — June 21, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  32. How incredibly fun! Have a fantastic time, and I hope you end up bringing home a whole set of copper pots and pans. I’ve never been to Paris, but my first stop would be Poilane.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — June 21, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  33. Sounds like an amazing trip & soon to be birthday! Buy pots, even if it is not practical!

    Comment by Eva — June 21, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

  34. How super exciting! Buy the pots. Definitely. And these snaps look beautiful.

    Comment by kickpleat — June 21, 2010 @ 11:51 pm

  35. Favorite is hard to say, but probably Poilane or the Grand Epicurie at the Bon Marche. So excited for your trip! You are wonderful and deserve every bit of the spoiled rotten you get to enjoy!

    Comment by Julie — June 22, 2010 @ 12:28 am

  36. there’s a long story about me being “supposed to go” to Paris when I was 12… and I never made it.. been regretting it ever since.. when I finally get there- I want a picnic of decidedly french cheese, wine, bread.. with the Eiffel tower in the background (kinda cliche, but it’s a starting point) – hope your trip there was amazing!

    Comment by catherine — June 22, 2010 @ 11:51 am

  37. No fav spot in Paris…yet! But, I will be picking your brain come this fall when I (hopefully) get there for my big bday as well. Have an AMAZING time! I love the idea of buying one symbolic pot and spending the rest of the money on chocolate. That is the way I’d go!

    Comment by fresh365 — June 22, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  38. I’ve never been to Paris, but I’d hit up the first bakery I found!

    Have a wonderful trip!

    Comment by Natalie (The Sweets Life) — June 22, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

  39. I think it’s impossible to choose just one favorite place in Paris — every bistro is a treasure, every crepe stand a miracle. I drank the best hot chocolate of my life at a sidewalk cafe next to the Pompidou Museum; 5 years later and the memory of the creamy rich chocolate still haunts me.

    One place you might like is a tiny hole-in-the-wall kitchen shop, crammed with piles and piles of beautiful/cute dishes and pots and pans, at incredibly low prices. The last time I was there I stocked up on individual-sized leaf-shaped sugar bowls and creamers for tea parties, and I love them dearly. I haven’t been to Paris in 5 years, but I bet the store is still there. I wish I knew the name, but I always have to rely on my instincts to find it. It’s on the right bank, directly across the street from the Seine, maybe 1/2 mile to 1 mile east of Notre Dame. If you are up for the adventure of trying to find it, I suspect you won’t regret it.

    Comment by statgirl — June 22, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

  40. Bonjour Mon Ami! We are in Paris for some of the exact reasons you are coming this way – not to buy pots, although, I am hoping to snag a few – Lenny turns 40 on July 26th as well!!! Here’s hoping you have an amazing time in France & maybe we will bump into each other wandering the sultry Parisian streets!!

    Comment by Chez Us — June 22, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

  41. We have so many favorite spots in Paris it’s hard to choose…walking on any street offers a number of exciting things from bakeries to boutiques to markets. Food would have to be high on the list. Just a beautiful city to visit.

    Comment by Darlene — June 22, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

  42. Happy birthday and bon voyage!

    Well I haven’t been to gay Paris for over 15 years… but the first thing I’d do is ask around to find the best chocolatiere. :)

    Comment by Patty — June 23, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

  43. favourite spot… hmm, one of two places: the resto we went to called i think “le trou normand” which was so packed by the time we finished our wonderful dinner that when we left we saw people sitting outside, on the hood of a car parked on the street, being served glasses of wine… or maybe “le connetable” the bar we went to one night after staying out too late on the left bank and drinking at a bus-stop with a skinhead on his way home from a ska concert. we thought we’d missed out on our last night be staying too long in the touristy area, but we found this bar by accident after 2 o’clock in the morning and it was still packed with live music playing when we left after 4…

    getting really nostalgic now!

    Comment by smartygirl — June 24, 2010 @ 1:49 am

  44. I have never been to Paris. *sads* If I ever get the chance, my first stop will be the flea market, if it’s the right day for it, or the Louvre if it’s not. After all the flea market is only open three days a week! ;)

    (Hi, I’m Elizabeth, and I’m new around here.)

    Comment by Elizabeth B — June 24, 2010 @ 3:43 am

  45. Those cookies look delish!

    My favorite spot in Paris is Montmatre. I love the Sacre Coeur, the view of the city is amazing, and my favorite part is walking around and seeing all the artists and their work.

    Comment by Brittany — June 24, 2010 @ 5:10 am

  46. Hope you’re having a great vacation! My husband and I spent a week in Spain in May for our anniversary. It was wonderful.

    I love Ile St. Louis. It has such an Old World neighborhoody feel and has a great view of Notre Dame, with the added bonus of being on the Seine.

    Comment by Florida — June 26, 2010 @ 1:51 am

  47. My favorite spot is around metro Station Etienne Marcel…
    That’s where you find Mora, G.Detou, E.Dehillerin, all the shops that sell everything to cook and bake like a professional.
    Love it!

    Comment by annaLyon — June 26, 2010 @ 7:22 am

  48. Talk about a difficult question! ;) I’m not sure exactly where it is, but I remember a lawn where people could spread out and enjoy a picnic or read a book near the Eiffel Tower. Heaven!

    Comment by Ellen — June 26, 2010 @ 11:47 pm

  49. i have never been to paris. i have absolutly no idea where i would go first as i have never considered going. though i’m sure if i found myself there pastry and chocolate sampling would be very high on my list.

    Comment by jacquie — June 27, 2010 @ 12:06 am

  50. I adore Paris and had the good fortune to study there for 6 months in college. My favorite place isn’t a specific place – I love to walk the streets through neighborhoods, along the Seine and through parks.

    Comment by Katie — June 27, 2010 @ 12:40 am

  51. I so want to go to Paris one day soon! I would have to take a stroll on the Champs-Élysées in honor of a song we always sang in french class. Thanks for the chance to win!

    Comment by Stephanie F — June 27, 2010 @ 12:45 am

  52. Love Paris ! a cruise down the Seine & a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower so you can take in everything that Paris has to offer – who can choose – patisseries, crepes, bread, Montmartre, the Marais area …. so many places
    Have a wonderful time !

    Comment by Chris — June 27, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

  53. I suppose I would have to pick the Eiffel Tower because it would be my first trip there.

    Comment by Lesley C. — June 27, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

  54. My trip to Paris was about 10 years ago, so the exact location of my favorite spots is well, spotty. But I do have a very strong memory of walking up the many, many spiral steps of the Arc D’Triomphe and watching the sunset in August (so late!) with a dear friend. Afterwards we ate at a hole in the alley restaurant that was truly remarkable. I don’t remember the French name of my entree but in English it translated to, “the little fishes follows the leader of the fishes.” Love Paris!

    Comment by alicia — June 28, 2010 @ 12:40 am

  55. ooooh – i have always dreamed of going to paris. one day i will :o) until then, i dream in french sometimes. haha!

    my first stop for SURE would be a small coffee shop. cafe & pain au chocolat. so simple yet so dreamy! hope you’re having a fantastic time!!

    Comment by heather — June 28, 2010 @ 5:01 am

  56. I have never been, which is a shame as I pride myself as a world traveler. Of course, my first stop would be the Eiffel Tower…in the summer with the fountains…in all it’s glory.

    Comment by Jennifer M — June 28, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  57. Happy Birthday soon!
    I have never been, but I know my first stop would include a wonderful meal!

    Comment by Christy — June 28, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  58. My husband and I traveled to Paris just before we were married. We were on a strict budget, but still think we ate some of the best meals of our life there. Each day we would walk to Rue Cler, the wonderful shopping street, and choose our freshly baked bread, soft cheeses floating in fruity olive oils, tomatoes, and whatever caught our attention. We would take our picnic bounty to different parks each day. One had a fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower, another in the shadow of Notre Dame, another near the Louvre. But our favorite was the small neighborhood park where old men in berets gathered each day to play boules. Now we are looking forward to taking our daughter for her 16th birthday!

    Comment by Rie — July 1, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

  59. Just walking around on Île Saint-Louis especially in the evening. It is Amazing!

    Comment by Goutham — July 2, 2010 @ 12:59 am

  60. Aw wow I’m so happy for you that you’ll be having your birthday wish fulfilled! Buying a symbolic copper pot sounds like the perfect plan. I’ve never been to France and if I had to pick just one place to go it would be Paris.

    Comment by Ashley — July 2, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

  61. Hi!
    I feel super silly asking this since after 60 comments, no one else has, (I’m missing some sort of common baker sense?) but it’s ¾ Cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, right? Just wanted to make sure.

    Thank you so much for your recipes and time!!

    Comment by Natasha — April 6, 2012 @ 1:48 am



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