When you live on Manhattan island, you pretty much have the world at your finger tips (or at least within 3 blocks). Local deli's carry anything you'd need, there's a Starbucks on every other corner, and dry cleaners seem to pop up faster than fleas on a puppy dog. When I first moved to the city I remember being completely disgusted by friends who wouldn't leave the island for months on end. Didn't they feel claustrophobic? How could they possibly stay in Manhattan without a weekend trip away to breathe fresh air and eye some greenery? It's such a phenomenon that Candace Bushnell addressed it on Sex & The City when Carrie met "Manhattan Guy"... a seemingly normal bloke who hadn't left the island in 10 years because there was nothing "out there" worth seeing.
I obviously don't subscribe to this methodology (if you don't believe me, get ready for dozens of out-of-town posts coming in the next couple months), but I do agree that you can stay Manhattan-bound without necessarily trying for weeks at a time if you don't pay attention. I found a really good reason to trek out to Park Slope, Brooklyn today (from the UWS it might as well be Siberia) and made an afternoon trip to Red Hook to check out Oprah's "favorite" brownies at Baked on Van Brunt Street. After a yummy brunch at Hope & Anchor, we opted for a giant chocolate chip cookie at Baked (we'll go back for the brownies, FOR SURE) and I snagged their famous Mountain Blend granola before heading down the street to walk the waterfront.
Turns out Brooklyn's pretty cool (MAL: don't start with me). I had a really fun day of exploring... and, with no expectations of what was there, Red Hook impressed me with its culture, diversity, and street vendors near the ball fields. I can't wait to go back for tacos and fried plantains!
Like Red Hook, this recipe is impressive. It seems so easy (maybe even uninteresting) but the crispy caramel cookies are addicting - beware! The ingredients are already in your pantry and the dough can be defrosted as-needed if you don't want to have a full batch too handy for snacking (but I bet you will).
P.S. The wine in the background of my fridge photo is TDF (to die for). The vineyard gives a description of "
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar, dark
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used all-purpose)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Add remaining ingredients and beat thoroughly.
Scape dough out of bowl and onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Roll dough into a log, about 2 1/2 inches wide; completely wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes or overnight (I put mine in the freezer for an hour).
Cut dough into 1/8-inch thick slices and arrange on several large ungreased cookie sheets about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned around edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for about 1 minute and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.