Last night the scent of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies wafted through the house. Handy Dad and Jake sat with their noses pressed against the oven door, waiting impatiently as the cookies baked to perfection-but their anticipation was short lived.
"Those are for tomorrow's school bake sale. You have some in the jar on the counter."
"But these are fresher."
Puppy dog eyes and whiney voices ensue. I caved. How could I deny my child cookies fresh out of the oven? The torture he'd go through, going to bed with that smell lingering through the house. Think the PTA moms will accept 6 cookies for the bake sale? :P
Anyone who knows me personally has discovered one huge thing about me. I love to bake. And I don't bake just anything, although brownies and cheesecake are other favorites. I have perfected the art of baking cookies. Personally, I don't eat them any more. I'm a little tired of them. The other hazard of becoming good at it is that I am extraordinarily picky about cookies now. I can't bring myself to buy them, and I refuse to eat any that over a day old-because I am so conditioned to consuming them only minutes after coming out of the oven. However, it's fun to bake them for everyone else, and bake I do...for the teachers, neighbors, friends, and co-workers. I am often accused of making people around me gain weight. Even Jake's school principal made sure to let me know that she wanted me to send a few her way today for "quality control" purposes. She was only half serious, but I did put a bunch in a baggie marked with her name. She's put up with enough from me, it's the least I can do.
So here's a few of my cookie baking tips, should anyone want some....
1-find a good recipe. I love Mrs. Fields books ("Mrs. Fields Cookie Book") and Canadian Living has good recipes. I like cookies that are chewy and soft, not hard. So it takes a little experimenting to find a good one.
2-use butter. You are eating COOKIES. Not fruit. Screw the calories and use the good stuff. I don't believe in low fat cookies. Butter gives a much better taste, anyway.
3-real vanilla is best, but not mandatory. I have used both and can tell only a slight difference, my guys don't care.
4-the more chocolate the better-I always add more chocolate. :P Use good quality chocolate, too-not the waxy cheap stuff.
5-Preheat the oven
6-use room temp cookie sheets (don't put dough on a hot sheet)
7-the cookie is done when you touch the top and it isn't squishy, but isn't hard either. Just slightly squishy but mostly set. Figuring out the perfect baking time takes a little practise but once you do, you'll get perfect cookies. Better to underbake a little if you like them chewy, rather then cook too much and have hockey pucks.