For the first time in twelve years, and with our baby about to be born, we spent New Year’s Eve sober, sitting on the couch. Our first New Year’s Eve together was in the year 2000. Remember how we all almost died in Y2K, or were inconvenienced, or something? On break from college, Malcolm was staying with his parents at their swingin’ senior condo in the Florida Keys. But he missed me desperately, and told me so in no fewer than two print-packed postcards. I knew that it was love. We’d spent the last four months in constant contact, talking all the time, watching stuff like “The Practice” on TV in his first floor dorm room, listening to stuff like Jello Biafra and Charles Bukowski in my fourth floor room, running around and driving around and drinking around New Haven, and definitely not skipping our autobiography writing workshop. He decided to fly me down.
I wore my favorite Power Puff Girls t-shirt on the plane my mom didn’t want me to board. He met me at the gate and we walked arm and arm into the sultry tropical night, a harbinger of things to come, perhaps. After dinner with his parents, they took us out on their boat and spontaneously we jumped undressed in the water, hoping to impress one another. To make matters even more romantic, we found ourselves surrounded by bio-luminescent plankton, swimming under the stars in an ocean glowing with wonder and dinoflagellates. It may have been the fifth best night of my life thus far, and is an important piece of totally factual lore, as we tell and retell the story of our courtship.
Not every January 31st has been quite so dramatic, but we’ve been together to ring in the new and wring out the old, sipping champagne, wishing on twelve grapes, streaking the halls of fancy hotels, holed up at a cozy cottage in The Catskills, getting shoved and stupid at Brooklyn bars, playing “Rock Band” in a basement in the suburbs, dancing a sort-of-a-salsa with new friends in the middle of the Yucatan peninsula, and cooking a decadent feast with old friends at our apartment in Portland. 2011 was our last New Year as just us, a carefree couple. It was quieter, but lovely, and totally typified the tenor of our lives at the time, as all New Year’s Eves seem to do in retrospect. We cooked and ate and drank until we were totally in our cups. On the menu: bone marrow on toast, lobster bisque, rack of lamb and these: Brown Butter & Bacon Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Brown Butter and Bacon Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated
- 14 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons milk chocolate, grated
- 10 strips bacon, crumbled
Place oven rack in the middle of oven, and preheat to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet over low heat, cook bacon until crisp, but not burned, turning often. Drain on paper towels, roughly chop bacon to approximately 1/4 inch, and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat 10 tablespoons of butter over low heat, swirling and stirring often, until butter is a warm golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, add remaining butter, and allow to melt.
In a large mixing bowl or in bowl of standing mixer, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Slowly incorporated melted butter, and stir until all sugar crystals have melted. Batter should be smooth and shiny.
Add flour and baking soda, and stir until no pockets of flour remain. Add chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and crumbled bacon. Stir until combined, but don’t overwork the batter.
Working in batches, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and place heaping teaspoon-sized dollops of batter onto baking sheet.
Bake until edges are golden but middle is not quite set, about 11-14 minutes.
Transfer cookies to cooling rack, and allow to cool completely.