The inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book came from observing his toddler son nonchalantly and comfortably pedaling his bicycle around a graveyard. He began exploring how a live boy would fare in the land of the dead, an outsider that balances on the line between worlds. He structured a story thematically similar to The Jungle Book: Baby Bod (short for Nobody) comes into the care of the ghostly Mr. and Mrs. Owens after his entire family is murdered, and spends his childhood years in the graveyard with ghosts and other spookies, learning the tricks of the otherworldly but able to pass where they are not. It’s a dark story, sometimes scary, but often whimsical and very sweet.
Baby Bod is described as smelling of milk and chocolate chip cookies, which is the most lovely, innocent smell I can imagine. Watching my kids eat them with cups of milk at the table warmed my little black heart; chocolate chip cookies really are the essence of childhood.
For these, I used the 2009 New York Times recipe that I’ve seen so much buzz about, and they were indeed excellently textured and tasty.
If you don’t want to purchase cake flour, or have a small kitchen and limit yourself to no more than 5 flours at a time (it was getting out of control), you can make cake flour by removing two tablespoons of flour from every cup of all purpose flour and adding in two tablespoons of cornstarch.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is the New York Times recipe with zero adjustments
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
- 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (uh, my grocery store is fancy but not that fancy, I used 10 ounces Ghiradelli premium semisweet chocolate chips)
- sea salt
Sift together cake flour, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla, then add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
When ready to bake, let dough come close to room temperature. Heat oven to 350° and prepare a baking sheet (I used parchment paper). Scoop 6 3 1/2 ounce mounds (the size of large golfballs) onto the sheet, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 18-20 minutes until browned but still soft.
Cool for 10 minutes with the baking sheet on a rack, then move to the rack to cool the rest of the way.
This dish was first posted for Fiction Kitchen Episode 24: THE GRAVEYARD BOOK in which Carrie and Diana discuss Neil Gaiman’s macabre tale of the little boy raised by ghosts, plus ladies on grey horses, baby smells, and what ghouls consider gourmet delights.