Living in Portland gets more dangerous every day — for my waistline. Every errand I run inevitably crosses paths with something delicious, and soon I find myself wandering off my to-do list and right into my favorite ice cream joint, bakery, or sandwich shop.
I guess that’s the blessing and the curse of living in such a fabulous food town. If I crave it, I can get it right here in Portland; and I’m always craving something.
You should have seen me about a year ago, when I was in the throes of writing Portland Cooks. When you’re editing recipes for juicy, porky meatball banh mi sandwiches; crispy-outside, creamy-inside salt cod croquetas; and lumpy-bumpy, brown-sugary chocolate chip cookies, you tend to get a little hungry (actually, monstrously so). My cravings were as intense as my manuscript deadline.
But I persevered and got it done with only a few spur-of-the-moment cookie runs, and now Portland Cooks is out in the world, ready to satisfy our cravings for 80 of Portland’s best dishes and drinks, right in our own kitchens. Now I can drop everything and bake those Little T American Baker chocolate chip cookies that haunt my daydreams. I can stay in my pajamas and make Broder’s aebleskiver at home. And I can unwind with Rookery Bar’s Sim’s Old Fashioned, right on my own couch.
Does that mean my days of lining up for brunch or sidling up to the bar are over? Not in the least. It just means I have more chances to satisfy my desires. These recipes are a gift from some of Portland’s very best chefs and bartenders, just as the food and drinks they serve are a gift to all of us who live to eat.
Chocolate Chunk and Roasted Hazelnut Cookies
Makes about 30
At Little T American Baker, owner Tim Healea makes a point of using all Oregon ingredients for these super chunky, crazy delicious cookies, from the Camas Country whole wheat flour and Crémerie Classique butter to the bean-to-bar Woodblock Chocolate and roasted Freddy Guys Hazelnuts — both of which he adds with abandon. He keeps the nuts whole, allowing some to get broken up during the mixing, but you can give them a rough chop if you wish.
1 cup (2 sticks) European-style butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups pastry flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
11 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 cups roasted hazelnuts (see Note)
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy and lightens in color. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. On medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, sift together the pastry flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and baking soda. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in two additions. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix for another 30 seconds. Add the chocolate and hazelnuts and mix on low just until evenly distributed. Refrigerate the dough for several hours or up to 5 days. (For longer storage, portion the dough into balls and freeze on baking sheets until hard. Pack into ziptop freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to several months.)
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Allow the dough to come to room temperature. Using a 2-ounce (#16) ice cream scoop, portion the dough into balls and set on the baking sheets, arranging them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, just until the edges are browned and cookies are barely set in the middle. Check the cookies halfway through. If they’re baking unevenly, rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days.
You can often find roasted hazelnuts in the bulk bin at well-stocked supermarkets. To roast your own, spread raw hazelnuts in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast at 350° F for 8 to 12 minutes, until beginning to darken and smell nutty. Transfer to a clean dish towel, gather the ends, and massage to remove most of the skins. Open carefully and separate the whole nuts from the dry skins.
÷ ÷ ÷
is a James Beard Award-winning food writer, recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is a former food editor for The Oakland Tribune
, The Oregonian
, Imbibe Magazine
, MIX Magazine
, and Eater Portland
. Her work has been featured in regional and national publications, including EatingWell
, Fine Cooking
, Better Homes and Gardens
, Modern Farmer
, and Seattle Magazine
, among others. She has also co-authored three cookbooks and contributed editorial work and recipes to many others. She regularly blogs about home cooking in the Pacific Northwest at Roux44.com. Most recently, she edited Portland Cooks