If we can cook it, you can cook it!

We took Joanne Chang, John Barricelli and Alice Medrich to the Hampton Classic. And Andrew’s take on their Fig Newtons, Pecan Squares, Brownie Bites and Salted Chocolate Chunk cookies were the hit of the party.

We took Joanne Chang, John Barricelli and Alice Medrich to the Hampton Classic. And Andrew’s take on their Fig Newtons, Pecan Squares, Brownie Bites and Salted Chocolate Chunk cookies were the hit of the party.
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The Bridgehampton Florist outdid themselves at their own table
at this year’s Hampton Classic
Joy Marks, a Hampton Classic
habituee, seemed to have
our colors in mind this year.
         The Hampton Classic Horse Show is a bittersweet affair.  It’s quite the party and attracts an amazing assortment of people.  But it’s officially the last blast of summer so it’s tinged with that strange Labor Day ambivalence:  Glad to see the tail lights of the August population who, it’s been noticed, seem to more “unruly” this year than in the past.  But still, unhappy that this perfectly beautiful summer is coming to an end. Looking forward to revving up our Fall activities.  Loathing the idea of leaving this beautiful place to return only on weekends and mostly solo as Andrew’s business keeps him in the city.  Nevertheless, we certainly celebrated the Classic in style. Michael and Jim are our hosts and The Bridgehampton Florist table was truly a show stopper. 
         Every year, Michael selects a color scheme and takes it from there.  This year, the color purple dominated although I have to say that somehow my camera seems to have registered the table as more blue than purple.  The table was filled with clematis blossoms in white ceramic vases.  At each place setting were exquisite napkin holders with more clematis blossoms in each one.  I can’t begin to tell you how many people stopped by to gape at how gorgeous everything was.  And this at an event where the table décor is just jaw-dropping– and much of it the work of Jim and Michael and the wizards at The Bridgehampton Florist.  In fact, the editor of “Flowers” Magazine was there specifically to photograph the tables.  This new magazine is a glory to behold and we cannot wait to see the feature on our friends.   Its editor, Margot Shaw was a guest at our table.  Margot, who is from Birmingham AL, has a local connection:  She has cousins who have been in East Hampton for years.  These two charming ladies also joined us for plenty of local gossip and of course, fashion commentary on everyone who sashayed past our table.  
The Bridgehampton Florist did, among something like 15 others, the Bloomberg table for His Honor, the Mayor of the City of New York, Michael Bloomberg (Center) and his companion Diana Taylor (in teal blue hat), seen from our table as they entered the Event. 

From left to right…
Salted Chocolate Chunk,
Brownie Bites, Pecan Squares
and Fig Newtons
Lunch was catered by Loaves and Fishes Cookshop, a local institution commanded by Anna Pump, much-loved local chef and cookbook author.  Lobster Salad and Thai Beef Salad was served, accompanied by an Orzo salad and perfectly beautiful green peas.  But the hit of the afternoon were Andrew’s treats.  There were four of them this year:  Fig Newtons from the incomparable Joanne Chang, Pecan Honey Bars from John Barricelli and an adaptations of his Brownie recipe made into mini Brownie bites and a take on Alice Medrich’s Chocolate Chunk cookies which Andrew salted with Fleur de Sel.   That’s a lot of baking!  And a lot of recipes, which I am going to share with all at once.  It is truly hard for me to pick a favorite: Jim had no problem whatsoever and declared the two chocolate offerings as his absolutely new favorites in both categories.  Our friends from Alabama could not get enough of the Fig Newtons and, who from the South could possibly have anything but praise for a honey-laden Pecan Bar?   So without further ado, let’s move on to the recipes for all four fantastic desserts.
Recipe for Joanne Chang’s Fig Newtons from “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Café” (Chronicle Books 2010)
 I can’t help but repeat the story of Joanne Chang’s career because it is simply fascinating.  A child of Chinese immigrants, Joanne grew up in Houston TX.  Her only real contact with American sweets was at the homes of her classmates.  But apparently these were not of the Apple Brown Betty school of home baking. Instead Joanne was introduced to the world of packaged baked goods —  Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Jello Instant Pudding.  Armed with a Harvard degree in applied mathematics and economics, Joanne took a left turn.  She went into baking with a vengeance.  And what she first baked were full-on home baked versions of her childhood favorites.  We’ve featured her Home Made Oreo Cookies https://chewingthefat.us.com/2012/03/joanne-changs-recipe-for-homemade-oreo.htmland her Milky Way Pie ranks among the most-viewed posts on Chewing the Fat: https://chewingthefat.us.com/search/label/Milky{7764cd352edcf19b608e75b52a560f8f0623df8defec59f0ed185161f2ba1413}20Way{7764cd352edcf19b608e75b52a560f8f0623df8defec59f0ed185161f2ba1413}20Tart

Today we feature her Fig Newtons. Instead of the hard crusty commercial fig filling we grew up with, here the figs are a lovely soft layer in the middle of a shortbread pastry crust that is buttery and rich and fall apart flaky.  You can taste the freshness of the figs all the way through.  Here’s the recipe which says it yields 12 cookies.  Since Andrew was serving an assortment of cookies, he cut these in half. If he had not, he would have had a cookie about 5 inches long by 1 ½ inches wide.  That’s some cookie!


Front and Center, Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies



Brownie Bites Third from Right


2 thoughts on “We took Joanne Chang, John Barricelli and Alice Medrich to the Hampton Classic. And Andrew’s take on their Fig Newtons, Pecan Squares, Brownie Bites and Salted Chocolate Chunk cookies were the hit of the party.”

  • Wow, where to begin? The Pecan squares that is where! What a lovely way to end the Summer indeed! Which is the loveliest, the table setting, the treats or Ms. Joy Marks and her delightful end of Summer fashion statement?! C: All have me smiling ear to ear, which is great because my mouth will soon be busy! Thank you Monte, Andrew and Bridgehampton Florist!

  • Dear Ana, I must actually apologize for not being able to show our usual step-by-step visuals to accompany the recipe. I think blogger.com must have some kind of limit to the number of visuals in a single post. I hope everyone can follow the instructions. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm. It's always a great finale to the summer and Andrew goes all out–as you can see. As to Ms. Marks, yesterday we had at least 12 page views attributed to searches for "Joy Marks" in various guises….I always have a feeling Ms. Marks googles herself after the event! All best to you Ana! MM

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