Angels love chocolate chip cookies (even gluten-free ones!)

I initially met Holcombe Waller in passing – he was hanging out at our mutual friend Alicia’s new office digs and I came by to see ’em. I believe there was some tasty rose wine consumed, and our acquaintanceship was forged.

Flash forward to late last year, when Alicia sent me a download link to Holcombe’s album. She has exquisite taste, so I know better than to ignore something with her stamp of approval on it.

HOLY HANDGRENADE.  I was expecting to be impressed, not to have my world rocked.  Gorgeous, smart, conflicted, messy beauty.  WHOA – and WOW.  Holcombes’s angelic voice and all-to-earthly confusion.  The kind of music that scores an emotional bulls-eye and haunts you for months with its exquisite pain and soaring triumph. My computer says I’ve been living with this album since last November, but I feel like I’ve known it my whole life. It’s going to be in my top two albums for this year — something I’ve known since the calendar kicked over to 2011. I will knife fight you if you don’t love this record.  Or maybe I don’t need to — if you don’t love it, you probably don’t have a heart, much less a soul.

I’ve been obsessed with “Into the Dark Unknown” since I first heard it.  I’ve written about it in the Oregonian, done a “Song of the Day” for NPR and a live show preview for the Stranger.  If I had the funds, I might pay for skywriting to tell the masses that they’re missing out.  Their loss.  But it doesn’t have to be yours.  You should buy it IMMEDIATELY — or risk my wrath!!

As I’ve gotten to know Holcombe through email exchanges, the inkling that he’s a kindred spirit has grown into known fact.  Wickedly smart, hilarious and a huge fan of butter, I look forward to our exchanges — not to mention the day when I can smugly glare at anyone who ignored my advocacy of his genius and roll my eyes while muttering “I told you so.”

Not only does the man create gorgeous music, he also loves chocolate chip cookies.  As someone who baked her way through stress (Academic Decathlon state finals on top of mid-term finals = my legendary/epic Christmas baking spree) I heartily recommend this life-affirming (and belt-loosening) recipe – and I demand that you buy Holcombe’s album!

For those of you in Seattle, you should come see him at Chop Suey on Monday, May 30.  He’s also performing at On The Boards on June and back here at the Sunset in August. He’s got plenty of tour dates for the rest of you posted here.

Here’s Holcombe:

I’ve baked a lot of chocolate chip cookies in my life, and I’ve often said that the quality of the results is inversely related to how happy I am.  In other words, if I’m feeling frumpy, I bake really delicious cookies.  The activity just promotes more frumpiness, but if it involves lots of raw butter, sugar and a warm oven, at least it becomes cozy frumpy, and if you’re going to feel fat, you may as well be eating cookies.

I started making cookies in high school.  The recipe began with the standard Toll House formula, and once it was committed to memory, measuring cups gave way to “fist fulls” and other such amounts, and I started throwing in other ingredients.   Walnuts, oatmeal, and a mix of carob, grain-sweetened and dark chocolate chips (go to the bulk section, yo!). I generally put in wayyyy more vanilla, in part because I actually believe that adding expensive elements makes things better.  I unfortunately feel this way about records, videos and everything else, which is why I’m broke, but let’s move on.

Just five weeks ago I discovered I’m gluten-intolerant.  OH MY GOD!!!  That’s why I’ve been feeling so frumpy.  So I’ve substituted gluten-free flour mix and coconut flour for the regular wheat kind.  Surprisingly, it tastes awesome.  Here we go.

 

HOLCOMBE’S GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP WALNUT COOKIES

Take out two sticks of butter and put them on the counter.  Go about your day.

Come home, and with a fork, mash up the two sticks with 1 cup of packed brown sugar and half a cup of Sucanat which, according to Wikipedia, is a brand name for a variety of whole cane sugar that retains its molasses content – it’s key to have both mol and asses in your cookies, lest they be G rated.

Now, find some really expensive vanilla.  Put, like, more than a tablespoon into the butter/sugar blend and swirl it in.  Throw in two organic eggs, and quietly tell yourself that the fact these chickens grazed without cages will somehow protect you from salmonella poisoning later on when you scarf down half the dough raw.  Did I mention you’re feeling frumpy?  Just wait ‘til later, girl!

OK, put a pinch of salt in.  Blend the egg/butter stuff up, but not too smooth – lumpiness is godliness.  Now add about 1 and a quarter cup gluten free flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and ½ cup coconut flour.  Mix it all up til the flour is all absorbed in the dough.  Add about 2 cups of various chocolate chips, and a few fistfuls of walnuts, blending until evenly distributed.

Oh yeah, now go back in time, and preheat the oven to 360, cuz I forgot to tell you that.  While you’re waiting, watch my video for “Hardliners” three times.  I need the view counts.

Squash big spoonfuls of dough flat on a cookie sheet – sprinkle some coarsely ground Hawaiian sea salt on those suckers, and press it in with your palm.  Salt granules will both slowly kill you and please your taste buds with surprising “mouth feel.”  I learned this in home ec.  Bake ‘em for, like, 9 to 11 minutes, or until they’re nicely browned and not burnt on the bottom.

That’s it!!!  There you go!!!  You’ve made my cookies!!!  It’s better than smoking or drinking. Maybe…

Xo

HOLCOMBE

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