For All the Moms

So I am definitely behind on this post, but I place the blame on my incessant touring as an excuse for not having the chance to devote a post to moms for Mother’s Day. Many of us cherish those memories (complete with blurry edges a la Hollywood) where we ran inside from a day of play or school to the smell of freshly baked cookies. They say smell is the strongest catalyst of memory, with the majority of those connections being formed in our childhood. This is due to the connection of the olfactory bulb (the part of our brain that processes odor) to the ever-powerful amygdala…I should probably stop while I’m ahead and talk about this irresistible pair of cookie recipes: Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Chocolate Mocha Cookies with Nutella.
I’m often asked why I don’t eat all the desserts I make. For starters, I would basically be eating cookies and cakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I actually ate everything I made. But my secret indulgence? Once whatever it is I’m making is done and in the oven, guess who gets to clean the beaters 😉 And cookie dough is probably one of the most addictive things on the planet…and this dough was uhhhhhh-mazing! If you are one of the proclaimed few who can’t resist eating cookie dough, enlist help from a friend to make sure these cookies actually make it to the oven.
That being said, the finished cookies were fabulous! Loaded with melty chunks and chips of dark chocolate, they are pure heaven. The cookie itself has a buttery crunch, with a tender crumb that makes your heart melt. It goes without saying, but chocolate chunk cookies are best straight out of the oven (as they always have been) – click HERE to see the recipe for these golden, chewy delights!
So now that I have you thinking about chocolate, how about taking it a step further with melted chocolate, cocoa powder, AND nutella…how can anyone resist? These cookies are more brownie than cookie, with a rich center and a crumbly edge. They also have a touch of espresso, which is only “topped” by the the nutella swirl to finish – the ultimate cookie. It may not be quite like the cookies (or brownies) we enjoyed as kids, but a cookie always has a way to make us reminisce over our childhood days – click HERE to see the recipe for this glorious sweet.
I looked at my own childhood as inspiration for this musical pairing. Growing up, I was extremely fortunate to have not one, but two moms – one was a pro with baking amazing chocolate chip cookies (the foolproof Toll House version!) and the other a master of baking brownies (Betty Crocker double fudge…). Seeing how both of my cookies took inspiration from those two classics, I wanted to honor that legacy with Dvorák’s “Songs My Mother Taught Me.” Part of his cycle Gypsy Songs, the truly nostalgic work has notes of grief and hopefulness. The lyrics, by German poet Adolf Heyduk, translate as follows:

Songs my mother taught me,
In the days long vanished;
Seldom from her eyelids
Were the teardrops banished.
Now I teach my children,
Each melodious measure.
Oft the tears are flowing,
Oft they flow from my memory’s treasure.

Though short, the music is filled with color and life that other songs don’t quite achieve – a perfect way to describe two cookies whose size don’t quite speak to their ultimate potential. I’ve included a recording with soprano Anna Netrebko – enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAOy1waBdpI&feature=related

Sources Cited:
“Songs My Mother Taught Me Lyrics and Text Translation,” About.com

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