Now I know that this is not a food blog. I may mention food in passing and I am definitely obsessed with searching for the best places for cream tea around the United Kingdom (new, amazing place by the way: Granola on Queens Street). But at its core, I care more about the places I travel to and the life I live here in Oxford than what I put in my stomach.
All this belies my absolute love of cooking and baking, mostly baking, and with Trinity term not having begun yet, I’ve spent this week indulging in yet another baking kick with some new fangled recipes. Luckily for my waistline, a local coffee shop graciously took the Apple Bread off of my hands and sold it to their customers, and offered me the chance to sell some more of my wares whenever I feel like spending an hour or so baking behind their counter. The only problem with this arrangement is that British tastebuds are different than American tastebuds, so I’m a little apprehensive about what I am going to bake for them and its potential popularity. Luckily I have a valiant taste tester in my selfless dance partner who will give anything I bake the American seal of approval and some feedback before I send it off to the Others.
He went a little overboard this time with his comments on my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars. Hilariously overboard. I can’t even describe it well enough, so I am copying it here. Enjoy the dessert musings of my wonderful dance partner of Where’s Dan Now blog fame.
Partner’s Choc Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars:
A Critical – and Honest – Appraisal
When I first encountered this decadent treat, I was taken by its appearance. The cross-section of goodness was comprised of a hearty golden graham cracker core, a creamy and opaque white mystery mantle, all topped with a treacherous terrain of globular cookie dough and jagged chocolate chips. It was then that this earth-like dessert began to appeal not only to my eyes, but my nose as well. The distinct half-baked aroma filled my nostrils, preparing my mind for such a rich culinary adventure.
I delicately picked up the rectangular prism of goodness, initially unsure whether the terra firma would be able to withstand the shear stresses of its own self-weight. In the end, my precautions were justified: the resulting cookiequake forced me to alter my grip from a two-fingered to a palm-based approach.
At long last, the cheesecake bar made its lofty ascent mouthward. After a final visual and nasal ‘all clear,’ I sank my teeth through the dessert in a bold, guts-or-glory, all-or-nothing, hope-for-the-best mindset.
Typically, I find that the hierarchy of oral analysis proceeds from initial shock (i.e. too hot or cold?) to texture, to taste, to late flavours (e.g. spice), to after taste. In this case, no initial shock transpired (nor late flavours), and my mouth quickly set about analysing the texture. Initially, it was met with a good deal of graininess as the graham cracker crust broke and dispersed. Almost simultaneously, the smooth and creamy interior began to dissolve, causing the fragile structural matrix to collapse entirely. At last, I was left to actually chew the dense bits of cookie dough and chocolate which – while soft – still provided contrast to the grainy base and creamy midsection.
The flavours of this dessert were really sublime, not to be confused with subs and limes. It was when the matrix broke down that I tasted the combination of buttery graham crackers mixed with delicious cream cheese. Indeed, the textures provided contrast, but the flavours provided a sweet continuity throughout the experience. Based on my olfactory experience (I had to look up that word…), I was waiting for the dessert to become overpoweringly rich, but such a moment never came around. As my teeth shredded a giant blob of cookie dough, I could feel the sugar rushing into my veins, but the bar disappeared just a moment before I would have consumed too much.
Alas, the chocolate, cookie dough, cream cheese, and graham crackers swiftly became a distant memory to most of my senses (partly necessary due to the magnitude 7 cookiequake), yet my sense of taste still seems to be enjoying the revelry. Hopefully the party hosted by my taste buds will continue long into the night, else I may have to provoke them to life with another choc chip cheesecake bar later in the weekend.