[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

House Zebra Cookie
24 May 2012
[Cooked Cookie]

Let me state at the outset that I don't watch House. Or, rather, at this point in time, I didn't watch House. This has nothing to do with the merits of the show; my wife loves it, and I quite like Hugh Laurie. It just didn't fit into my busy schedule of ... stuff.

As I say, though, my wife likes it. (Liked it. Whichever.) Early on in the run, she was talking about it with my brother, an M.D., and he mentioned that all the patients in House were "zebras." This is a medical term-of-art for a strange diagnosis. wikipedia traces this to the phrase, "When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don't expect to see a zebra." Or, put another way, more than 99% of the time, if the symptoms look like flu - it's flu. On House, it wouldn't ever be flu.

So, fast-forward to the end of the series, and my wife invited a couple of friends over to watch the finale. One of those friends is a cookie-requestor, who also wants a little kick in his cookie. To satisfy my wife's hostessly duties, a guest's craving for cookies, and my own aesthetic sensibility, the House Zebra Cookie was born.

House Zebra Cookie

[Just dough] Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together. Beat in the eggs, one at time. Add a cup of flour and mix. Add the baking soda, salt, the rest of the flour, the chili powder, and cayenne and mix thoroughly.

Separate the dough into two roughly equal parts. Into one half mix 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and into the other half mix 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips. Put the doughs side by side into a baking dish or a cast-iron skillet and smooth them down so you have one side "black" and one side "white." At this point, if you've got the time, pop the dough into the fridge or freezer for a bit to set up. If you don't have time, the next step will still work, but won't be as tidy. (Which doesn't matter a whole lot anyway.)

Take your pan and orient it with one color on top and the other on the bottom. Cut into slices from top to bottom. This should make each slice half of each color. The width of the slices is up to you, but don't make them too thin. I went for about an inch. Now scoop up or lift out every other slice, rotate it 180 degrees and drop it back in. Now you've got alternating black and white stripes across the top and opposed alternating stripes across the bottom.

Now rotate the dish 90 degrees and draw lines across the top of whatever width you wish with the remaining chips. That is, the chip-stripes on the top should be perpendicular to, rather than parallel to, the dough-strips underneath.

[Dough ready for oven] If you're using a cast-iron skillet, your cookie is pretty thick, and will take more cooking than you might expect. Preheat the oven to 375F and bake it for 25 minutes, then drop the temperature to 350F and give it another 10 or 15 minutes. If you're using a larger pan, and a correspondingly thinner cookie, reduce the time.

Now, you could let it cool before you eat it. But we didn't. We scooped hot and gooey cookie out and ate it with forks. The bits that didn't get eaten immediately got eaten later, after they had cooled, and were good that way, too.

Now, of course, all the fussing with strips and stripes and two kinds of chips is not really necessary, but it is fun and makes a nice presentation. Probably even nicer if you let it cool first and can see the stripes on the inside better.

As for the chile and cayenne ... the quantities given put just a faint hint of heat into the cookie. You could double them without making it too hot - assuming you like chocolate and chili.


© 2012 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite