Throughout this entire process of learning to cook, I have, indeed, gotten better. I can now caramelize shallots, stuff a chicken breast and roast garlic with results that have me seriously questioning ever wasting money at restaurants again. But there's still one thing that continues to be a thorn in my side. And that, my friends, is baking. More specifically, cookies.
I follow the recipes to a T. I peer into the oven while they bake like an overprotective mom. But still, out of all the batches I've made, I somehow managed to screw up each and every one of them.
I made the chocolate spiderweb cookies too crunchy and the icing too thick. The dough was entirely too sticky to roll for the raspberry strippers. All kinds of problems with the lemon-honey drop cookies left them bottomless. I kept the chewy chocolate cherry cookies in the oven far too long. And as for these chocolate chip cookies, I think "raw" sums it up best.
What's wrong with me? Is their lightness to blame? Their lack of exuberant amounts of butter and sugar? Are there hidden cookies codes out there that I'm unaware of? Did my mom simply fail to pass down the cookie gene to me?
If you know the answer, please enlighten me. Cookies are so quick and tasty that I just can't bare to give up on them. But at this moment, I'm considering making only cake from this point on, as it has proven to be the one dessert I can't seem to screw up. (Don't even get me started on my problems with pie.)
But for now, here's one more sad defeat. But let the record show that even though the score is an embarrassing 5:0, most of those cookies tasted alright regardless of their flaws, so all was not (totally) lost.
Things started out normal. Butter, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, chocolate chips. All expected ingredients. Sure, there was a lot less of each when compared to the contents of a Mrs. Fields or Otis Spunkmeyer creation, but at least they all made an appearance.
Scooping them was easy enough. The recipe makes close to 50 cookies, so it took a little time and about four cookie sheets, but all worth it for a nice stock of yumminess. Or so I thought.
Alas, it was the baking that did me in. In fear of overcooking the cookies, which I so often do, I took them out a little early. Because I was not going to be defeated by an over-crunchy, dry cookie ever again! No, these chocolate chip cookies were going to be my victory! The end of my cookie curse!
But what I expected to be ooey-gooey awesomeness turned out to be a slightly hardened piece of raw cookie dough. Don't be fooled by their beautiful outward appearance. In fact, they were so raw that they were literally dripping through the wires of my cooling rack. So in a frantic dash I flung them back on the baking sheets until they were solid. Then I let them cool. Then I tasted. Then I cried.
Once I got past the undone middle, the cookies actually had a decent taste for being guiltless. Although, the fact that I ruined them still left me feeling quite guilty. Maybe one day I'll learn to conquer the cookie. But for now, nothing drowns out the taste of defeat like a nice glass of ice cold milk.
(Guiltless) Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cooking Light, June 2007
Yield: 4-dozen (serving size: 1 cookie)
Cookbook Note: Store up to one week in an airtight container--if they last that long. We suggest keeping a dozen in the freezer for emergencies.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
Combine sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg whites; beat 1 minute. Add flour mixture and chips; beat until blended.
Drop dough by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Nutritional Information: Calories: 88 (31% from fat), Fat: 3g (sat 1.8g,mono 0.5g,poly 0.1g), Protein:1g, Carbohydrate: 14.6g, Fiber: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Iron: 0.4mg, Sodium: 56mg, Calcium: 5mg.