Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Elusive Chocolate Chip Cookie

WARNING: This post has nothing to do with my paper route.



I love chocolate chip cookies. Well, I love WARM chocolate chip cookies. Once they are cooled, they might sit for days in the Rubbermaid container on my counter. But when they are fresh out of the oven, I can pound a dozen of them without even blinking.

I have always loved chocolate chip cookies. When I was in high school, I regularly attempted to make a batch of soft, plump, and gooey chocolate chip cookies. To no avail. EVERY batch of cookies I ever made in high school or college turned out too brown, too flat, and too crispy. What was the matter with me? I was following the directions. It must be the recipe... nope. Every batch was a bitter disappointment. I would go to church functions and see plates full of the "ideal" cookie--why did its creation continue to elude me?

When I had been married a couple of years and my first child was still quite small, I scheduled a day that I would go spend a few hours with my sister-in-law (who lived an hour away) learning how to make the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. She was going to coach me, step by step, and I was going to learn the Secret. Then tragedy struck--my son got sick. In the name of responsible parenting, I canceled my mentor session. It was as if the holy grail was being wrenched from my grasp. Was I destined to create mediocre cookies... forever?

Understand that canceling my session with my sister-in-law was nigh unto canceling an overdue therapy session. I was in the throws of New Motherhood, and I was lonely. I needed that interaction like I needed food and water. Just as I was about to fling myself into the Abyss of Self Pity, I chose a different course. I would get out of the house and do SOMETHING. I put my baby down for a nap, hired a teenager to come babysit, and went to clean my neighbor's bathrooms. Service is supposed to be good for what ails you, right?

Then I came home and decided to attempt the making of the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie... again... by myself. My efforts were without faith. I had been making these attempts for over 10 years always with the same result. Yet I persisted.

I located a recipe in my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook and proceeded to cream, mix, stir, and drop. I even had the gall to add salt to the recipe because of a tip a roommate had shared with me ages (read: 4-5 years) prior... Then I baked the cookies. Imagine my shock and disbelief when I pulled them from the oven--soft and plump and gooey. Surely there was an imposter in my midst. Surely someone had switched MY cookies with these delectable beauties. I baked the next batch. Same result. And the next. Perfection. The holy grail was mine. The journey was over.

Epilogue: My cookies became legendary in that neighborhood, and I developed quite a reputation for my MAD SKILLS in the chocolate chip cookie-making department.

Fast forward 11 years.

My son (the sick baby who foiled my plans many years ago) and his friend are hosting a basketball camp for kids in the neighborhood, and they want to make chocolate chip cookies for it. I coach them through the process as I sit on the couch, knowing that if I step into the kitchen I will dominate the process. After all, I AM the Chocolate Chip Cookie Making Master--am I not?

Step by step I tell them the ingredients and the order of operations. They cream, mix, stir, and drop. All four dozen cookies come out of the oven with a deja vu familiarity. They are brown, flat, and crisp. I say nothing knowing that children are no respecters of cookies. By the end of the day, the Rubbermaid container is void of so much as a crumb.

Later my husband and I are in the kitchen and the children are all in bed. My husband says, "How did Jacob get his cookies to turn out this way? This is just the way my mom used to make them."

I... kid... you... not.

5 comments:

  1. Oh My Goodness! That is so funny! I don't even know what to say! It sounds like something that would happen in my house. I guess Jacob will have to make them for Rob more often! :)

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  2. LOL! On the Bright side, your son can bake just like his Grandmother :)

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  3. That is hysterical! Your prior attempts describe my cookies to a "t" and explain why my kids have to make their own cookies. I'm telling you something else: it doesn't improve them to make them out of whole wheat flour, either. Hey! You only live 4 hours from me. How 'bout coming up here and giving me some lessons. Bring some white flour with you, unless of course you're talking the whole wheat kind above, but I'm having my doubts about that one. :)

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  4. Ok Rebecca - now you need to share the recipe so we can try it for ourselves to see if we have the magic touch. I've been trying to master the choc chip cookies forever. I can get fantastic peanut butter cookies but haven't been able to get the chocolate chip cookies to work.

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  5. You made my day, I needed a good laugh!!! So what is this recipe??? Do tell

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