Wednesday, July 15, 2009

When the Chips Are Down, Make Cookies

News Flash! The day of miracles has not ceased.

My elusive son called his mother.

Now this may not seem of any great import to those of you who have doting children still attached umbilically, but I have the type who stays underground only to surface occasionally and toss out a brief text message informing me that the Phillies are slacking off or to alert me that Michael Jackson has passed to the Great Beyond.

While this may not be the ideal mother-child approach to communication, I look for the silver lining and realize that at least I am kept up to speed on current events.

I take what I can get.

No, you would not call my son a social butterfly. Communication-wise, he is still in the larval stage tucked away in the quiet confines of his cocoon choosing only to emerge when over-indulged celebrities kick the bucket.

So that is why I took a double-take last week when my phone flashed his name on the display.

I sucked in my breath and stammered, “Hello. Is it really you?”

“Ya, it’s me,” and old familiar voice said.

“Wonderful. So, who died now?”

Come to find out, no one had died, although I was notified the Phillies were still in a nasty funk. He actually had a purpose in calling... get my ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe!

For those of you out there who know me, you also know that I seriously lack in culinary skills. I am severely Martha Stewart-challenged. I can’t tell a skillet from a skittle and set off smoke alarms when I microwave popcorn.

But what I lack in kitchen-sense, I make up for in the specialized skill of chocolate chip cookie making.

Surprisingly, I am in possession of a cookbook—operative word here “a” as in one.

While the rest of the pages are slick and shiny as the day it was given to me long ago (think, before the invention of fire) as a wedding gift, in this book is a solitary page that is paper-clipped, worn, torn, rumpled, frayed, stained, and looks as though someone has cleaned and filleted fish on it.

It is the page containing the recipe of… (drum roll here please) the-amazing-chocolate-chip-cookie!

Guaranteed to never fail; impress your neighbors; stun your mother-in-law; make your husband fall in love with you all over again and even cause anti-social, communication-challenged children to call their mothers at least once in their lifetime!

Can you tell, I am bitter. But not after eating one of these cookies. Yes, they even cure bitterness! I better eat a dozen.

So, for those of you who want to astound your neighbors, get some respect out of your mother-in-law, turn that man of yours into Romeo, or have a child in need of establishing familial ties once again, grab a pen; your life is about to change.

And, as the scriptures clearly state, “Man shall not live by bread alone”. (I am aware that thus far there has not been a gospel principle inserted, I hope this will suffice.)

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter (barely softened)
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (not self-rising)
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375. Mix sugars, butter, shortening, egg and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Drop dough by big rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake until barely brown on top and edges, 8 – 10 minutes. Cool before removing from sheet. Makes about a dozen big cookies—double recipe for more.

*A couple of things to remember to make these turn out spectacular:
  • Never use margarine—it’s gross and changes the taste of the cookie.
  • Never melt your butter to the liquid stage—it changes the results. If able, leave it out till it reaches room temp., otherwise, “barely” soften it in the microwave.
  • Never ever roll your dough into balls. This compresses it and ruins the composition. You want to keep the air pockets in the dough for a better shape and texture.
  • Never overcook a cookie. Start them in a hot oven, then check them at 8 minutes and only pull them out when they have barely browned. The next timing may take longer (9-10 minutes) or shorter to achieve a perfect browning. Check them regularly after 8 minutes; don’t depend on a timer alone.
  • Use good chips like Nestle. Cheaper, waxy chips diminish the flavor.
  • And lastly, I generally add about ¼ cup more flour to make a less flat cookie. Experiment, a little more flour to the dough seems to give it a better shape.

Cindy Moore

1 comment:

  1. Sure wish you were my visiting teacher instead of my friend. I want some cookies....


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