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Secrets of the Inn at Playa del Rey: cookie edition

Greetings, Hometown News readers! It’s us, “The Inncrowd” and we’re back again this month with the Inn at Playa del Rey’s most coveted secret: our homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe! We’ve been baking these ooey-gooey-chunky-sweet-chocolate-chip-cookies from scratch every day at the Inn for the past 20 years, and our guests love them. As a matter of fact, last week, I had a woman call to make reservations who hadn’t stayed at the Inn for over 10 years. She had some questions because she wanted to make sure this was the hotel she remembered having stayed at. I told her the Inn looks like a Cape Cod beach house and, with only 22 rooms, is fairly small. That didn’t jog her memory. Next, I reminded her we’re in the little laid-back beach town of Playa del Rey where you don’t need a car because you can walk to fantastic restaurants and bars from our Inn. That didn’t jog her memory either. I then reminded her we’re on a bird sanctuary called the Ballona Wetlands and that the ocean is only 5 blocks from the Inn. The Ballona Wetlands is one of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in Los Angeles so I was sure she would remember that, but, no, nada, nothing. Suddenly the woman said, “Wait. I remember something! Do you bake homemade chocolate chip cookies from scratch everyday?” I laughed and said, “We do.” She responded, “And, can guests still swing by the kitchen and have a cookie anytime they want one?” I said, “Yes, of course” and, without hesitation, she booked a room.

Our guests aren’t the only ones who seem to love our homemade chocolate chip cookies. As y’all know, Lisa Schwab’s Cantalini’s is one of the most popular restaurants on Culver Blvd. With their homemade pastas and delicious sauces it can be hard to get a reservation on the weekend…unless, you have a secret weapon, which I do! Turns out their maître d’, Paul, can easily be bribed with our homemade chocolate chip cookies. I often call him at the height of the dinner rush on Saturday night and ask if there’s any way he could please squeeze a few of our guests in for dinner. Almost always, he responds, “Anything for you,” which I know translates into “send chocolate chip cookies.” Dutifully, I give our guests homemade chocolate chip cookies to bring to Paul. The guests laugh when I explain, “In Vegas, you know how you slip the maître d’ a $100 bill for a last minute table? Well, here at the Inn, we slip them our homemade chocolate chip cookies, and it works!”

We hope you and your family enjoy our chocolate chip cookie recipe as much as our guests and Paul do. Happy baking!

Inn at Playa del Rey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Portion: A double batch

Ingredients:

• 1 lb butter

• 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

• 1 Tbs. vanilla

• 4 eggs

• 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 Tsp. baking soda

• 1 Tsp. salt

• 4 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

Step 1. Cream together well:

1 lb butter–softened

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Step 2. Mix in:

1 Tbs. vanilla

4 eggs–one at a time

Step 3. Stir in:

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tsp. baking soda

1 Tsp. salt

Step 4. Add 4 cups chocolate chips.

Step 5. Shape into golf ball sized spheres and bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 min. or until nicely browned. Dough may be chilled overnight or for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

A few “insider tips:”

Your butter should be softened, but still a little firm. Be sure that your oven is preheated. Do not over mix. Chill the dough for a few hours if you want your cookies to keep their shape (i.e. the opposite of flat). Gas ovens work best. We use a stand up Kitchen Aid mixer and an ice cream scoop to shape the cookies.

Written by Rebecca Hill. Rebecca Hill is an innkeeper at the Inn at Playa del Rey and a published writer. Her stories have appeared in Redbook magazine and in over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. 

Adapted from Nestle® Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Photo By Liz Hall.

Secret recipes from the Inn at Playa del Rey: soufflé edition

Souffle-web

Greetings Hometown News readers! My name is Rebecca Hill and I’m an innkeeper at the Inn at Playa del Rey–a boutique bed and breakfast on Culver Boulevard that overlooks the Ballona Wetlands. I’m excited to have this opportunity to share some of the Inn’s best kept, most loved recipes with you and it’s my hope that if you like them, you will share them with your friends and family! Continue reading