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Lemon Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Granite Countertops

I was walking in to work the other day when I passed a large piece of gorgeous granite countertop leaning against the side of someone’s stoop. It had a sign taped to it that read, “Do Not Touch.” As I was staring longingly at it, a man came out of the building and told me that it was scrap, and the person who had asked for it had never shown up, and it was mine if I wanted it.

I was on my way to work, though, and couldn’t take it. I probably couldn’t even lift it. And of course, since I live in the city, I don’t have a car.

On the other hand, I’ve been dying for a nice piece of granite countertop. I miss my parents’ counters terribly. My apartment has wood and formica counters, and they are terrible for making pastry. You need a good, cold stone surface on which to roll out pastry. It keeps the butter cold and so the pastry turns out flakier, lighter, and much tastier.

I had no idea where we’d put it. But stone can be expensive, and this was a huge piece, and the man said it was scrap and would just get thrown away if I didn’t take it.

I said I’d come back to get it during lunch. He told me to just ring the bell and they’d come help me lift it into the car. I asked if I could pay him to cut it in half for me, but he said that sadly, they did not have the appropriate machine on site.

I went back during lunch, and called up car service as the guys started to lift the granite towards the gate. It took two of them to lift it; there was no way I would be able to get it out of the car and into my apartment on my own. Still, I had to try. I asked if they’d come with me, and promised them cookies if they did. They apologized, and said that they wished that they could, but they could not.

The car service guy refused to put the granite in his car, and drove away. $50 would have convinced him otherwise, actually, but that’s more than I wanted to pay for a street find.

The construction guys asked me to give them my phone number. They said they would try to get a guy over with a van to help me out, and they’d call if he showed up.

The next morning, Dave stopped by the Park Slope Food Co-op and somehow talked them into loaning him a dolly. He took it on the bus to the building with the granite, and rang the bell.

The guys hadn’t managed to get a van, but they had managed to get the machine they needed to cut the stone down for us. They cut it in half, and helped Dave load both halves onto the dolly. Each of them separately reminded him that I had promised them cookies.

Dave is the true hero of this story, because he actually carted these incredibly heavy pieces of granite countertop almost 2 miles and got them off the dolly and into our apartment. He returned the dolly to the Food Co-op, and called me up to let me know that I had to spend that evening making cookies.

I owed these men cookies, big-time. For that matter, if you need any apartment renovation done in NYC, let me know, and I will give you their contact information.

I made them two big batches of cookies, using up all the lemon zest that had been sitting in our fridge from the day before in the process. These are basically Mrs. Wakefield’s original recipe for Toll House Cookies, with a ton of lemon zest thrown in. They are lovely. Soft and chewy and very chocolatey with that floral citrus buzz bringing them to life.

I also made some salty oat cookies for the guys, and will post the recipe for those soon.

When I showed up the next morning with my big bag of cookies in hand and rang the bell, one of the guys bounded down the stairs at top speed, clapping his hands excitedly.

“Cookies!” he exclaimed as he opened the door. “We were really hoping you’d come!”

Lemon Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1/2 C unsalted butter
Zest of 4 lemons
3/8 C granulated sugar
3/8 C packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/8 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 C chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 375º.

You can use store-bought chocolate chips for this if you like, but I prefer to take a hunk of good chocolate and cut it into large chunks myself.

Cream the butter, lemon zest, and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. At low speed, beat in the flour, salt, and baking soda just until blended. Add the chocolate chunks and mix in until evenly distributed.

Prepare baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Place heaping tablespoons of dough on the baking sheets about 2″ apart.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden and done.

Cool on a wire rack before gobbling them up.

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26 Responses to “Lemon Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Granite Countertops”

  1. Nicole says:

    I love the mental image of a burly construction worker clapping his hands excitedly and exclaiming, “Cookies!”

    This proves that all men (and women) truly are equal. We all squeal for cookies :)

  2. stacy says:

    that is an awesome story! so where did you end up putting the granite?

  3. Yvo says:

    Ooooh!! I’m squealing over your great find of granite and well, Dave!!! How awesome!!!!! :) The cookies look lush, too. Tis cookie season!!! What a great story.

  4. Kelli says:

    Too precious for words. I definitely miss my nice cool granite countertops I had in San Francisco.

    In other news, I think your carrot cake is making me somewhat more popular than I was a week ago.

  5. Street finds are one of the hallmarks of living in a proper city, as far as I’m concerned. I spent a year in Taiwan scrounging for furniture, gathering up funny adventures like this one along the way, and loved every minute of it.

    Thanks for the story, and enjoy the new countertops!

    Cheers, RS

  6. Brilynn says:

    Great post! I really enjoyed it. I love your persistence.

  7. Helen says:

    Ah! Men and cookies…all the same. What an incredible find. Had kind of the same experience a few years back, visiting an artisan tile maker and he was getting rid of a bunch of “scraps” including a nice piece or marble contertop, and now I have the best pastry board!

    Can’t wait to see what you create!

  8. Kristen says:

    Wow – this is incredible! I would love to come across something like a granite countertop that was just going to be thrown away.
    Did you find a place for it?
    Great find, and great story!

  9. What a great find, and hooray for you and Dave in being persistent and clever and getting it home!
    I love the idea of lemony chocolate chip cookies -

  10. Danielle says:

    Nicole – It really was the cutest thing!

    stacy – One piece is sitting on top of the chest we’ve been using as a coffee table, and the other is still leaning against the wall right outside between our front door and our gate. Dave’s father might be able to build us something to make good use of it.

    Yvo – I’m glad Dave’s getting the appreciation he deserves for this!

    Kelli – That is one of its magic powers. The other is being delicious.

    Raspberry Sour – That sounds like so much fun! And yes, I agree, it is a hallmark of a proper city and also of a good neighborhood within a proper city. I’m always scrounging good books and other stuff off the street around here.

    Brilynn – Gotta be stubborn if you wanna get granite.

    Helen – Artisan tile scraps sound absolutely incredible. How lucky!

    Kristen – We have a temporary place for half of it, and some thoughts on what to do with it.

    TBC – Thanks!

  11. Ange says:

    What a great story, I love it when you actually hear about people being NICE for a change. Cookies sound scrumptious too

  12. David says:

    What a great story. I have this mental picture of all this taking place in a snowy cold New York with lots of Christmas decorations adorning the streets. Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!

  13. WOW, what a true NYC story! Only here would you walk almost 2 miles with a large granite slab on a dolly! Congrats on the find! I’m so glad it worked out well for you! The power of cookies is amazing =)

  14. Danielle says:

    Ange – New Yorkers are generally awfully nice, really.

    David – It has been an uncommonly warm December around here, for which I am extremely grateful! But it is certainly full of holiday cheer, too. Happy holidays to you!

    VF – No kidding. My non-city friends are always surprised at stories like these.

  15. Nicole says:

    What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing :-)

  16. Lisa says:

    What a neat story. And a great find! Congrats to you and Dave.

  17. Danielle, what a lovely story – I love the way you write!

    I know this is an old post but I couldn’t help myself, I had to comment! :D

    I like this cookies a lot, since I’m a big fan of citrus flavours.

    Your blog is beautiful and I’ll be back here over and over again!

  18. mr.ed says:

    Nice story about nice folks. It’s amazing how many nice responses one gets by simply asking politely. A new experience for many, both the asker and askee.
    The combination of lemon and chocolate takes me back to college at Michigan State, which had both a dairy school and a hotel/restaurant management school. One of the frozen treats in the vending machines was a lemon ice cream bar coated with thick, real dark chocolate. Just barely sweet, it helped make me what I am today. Thanks!

  19. natalie says:

    I am Nicole’s mother…She told me about your granite experience and now that I have read it I have had another good chuckle. I also love your carrot cake recipe. I must tell you for a quickie change if you substitute the carrots with a can of pumpkin, add some pecans (about a cup) you will have a moist pumpkin bread or bundt, whichever you like.

    I hope to read more of your blog.

  20. Danielle says:

    Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you enjoyed, I really appreciate that.

    Mr. Ed – Yes, exactly. And I really hope I can pass on their info and get them work, to continue and repay the kindness they offered me.

    Natalie – I’m delighted you stopped by! Thank you. I never thought to make the carrot cake with pumpkin, but that sounds wonderful, and I’ll definitely try it out.

  21. adrianna says:

    Hi! I know this is an old post, but I had the pleasure of trying out this recipe just yesterday and I had to tell you that it is absolutely amazing! The flavour and texture are spot-on perfect. Thank you so much for sharing!

    I look forward to trying your other recipes like that chocolate malted drop cookies.

    Yum! Thank you once again :)

  22. Jjudy says:

    Have you tried these with vanilla chips instead of chocolate? I was at a local restaurant and they had lemon vanilla chip cookies. They were the best lemon cookies I’ve ever had. Unfornately they could not give me the recipe. So will try these with vanilla chips instead. Will let you know the end result. Thanks for the recipe.

  23. Rosie says:

    OOOO vanilla chips sound really yummy with the lemon. Should try both! Also – “You need a good, cold stone surface on which to roll out pastry. It keeps the butter cold and so the pastry turns out flakier, lighter, and much tastier.” – a novice baker I never thought of the effect a type of surface may have on the end result of your pastries. Now I feel I need a piece of granite countertop! Learn something new everyday.

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December 2006
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