Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last weekend Jhan made cookies. Though she's right (see below) that we didn't have anything sweet in the house at the time, I'd ignore her lies about the mail table - she leaves stuff on the mail table for weeks on end; things that are never destined to go anywhere, much less to work or to a friend. If cookies were left there and got eaten, it no one's fault but hers.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Food (Jhan)

I went to Costco the other day to buy a couple things and while I was there I picked-up one of those big boxes of Oreos for a friend's children. When I got home, I put the Oreos on the mail table by the front door. It's a place I frequently leave things to remind me to take them to with me, but I never leave pantry items there.

The next day I come out to go to work and grab the Oreos so that I can take hem with me to give to my friend, and guess what - the box is open. An entire sleeve of cookies is missing. The culprit is obvious.

"Honey," I say, "Did you open this box?" holding the ripped up package. "What box?" he says, not even looking up from the computer. "This box!" I' m now shaking the box about to get his attention. Finally, I get some eye contact, "Oh, that box. Yeah, I was looking for something sweet, we don't have anything sweet in the house, so I was really hungry and..."

Okay, I know men and women think differently but the box was on the mail table - that's a clear sign in my book that the cookies or any other food there is off limits. I can't give someone an open box of cookies with half of it missing! At this point two things become clear to me; first, that I need to make yet another trip to Costco for more cookies and second that I'd better bake something pronto so that we have something sweet in the house.

Since my "crunchy granola days" I've always loved my chocolate chip cookies with lots of stuff in them, especially oatmeal. With oatmeal in the cookies I can then rationalize that they are healthy and maybe even good for lowering my cholesterol. (delusion can be sweet at times). I decided to try a new recipe that was this month's Gourmet magazine - a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie with tart dried cherries.

I didn't fool around with the recipe too much, the only changes I made were to add a teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of water. The recipe is fairly straight forward but does call for a lot more sugar and oatmeal than I usually use in my own recipe. The tart cherries really are great in these cookies, they offset the sweetness of the chocolate chips and balance out the sugar. The cookies come out crunchy and are great dipped in coffee.

And healthy or not I've already eaten way too many of them, but then again, we now have "something sweet" in the house (although not for long I suspect).

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Plating

I tried a couple of different things plating-wise. First I tried white plate on white background with a white glass of milk (see photo above). However, I'm beginning to learn that I haven't figured out lighting for white on white settings, so though the photos were OK, I decided to switch to blue plates to offset the brown of the cookies, and to switch the lighting.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I thought the blue plates were incredibly fun and brought some good color to an otherwise rather dull (but tasty) subject.

The Lighting and Photography

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Lighting 1
The first lighting setup I used (for the white on white set) involved three flashes, positioned left, right and rear. This resulted in a rather flat and featureless light that did nothing to accentuate a rather dull and inert (if tasty) subject.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Lighting 2
The second lighting setup I used was a bit different. I moved the left flash to the rear to add to the flash that was already there, in an attempt to create my own faux window light. I placed one flash to the right behind two reflectors to provide a soft fill.

The strength of the strong rear light give some nice highlights to the cookies and does give at least some impression that they are being lit by natural light.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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