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C is for Cookie

Sometimes me think what is love, and then me think love is what last cookie is for.  Me give up last cookie for you.

-Cookie Monster

I love baking.

But, I am not a master baker or anything.  I mostly just enjoy the fruits of my labors.  There is one thing I have baked at my mother's side, as a child, and now flying solo, so often, that I figure I have pretty much mastered by now.  My mom's cookies.

Now, to be fair and honest, we don't use an original recipe, we use one by a famous French chef by the name of..

Oh, what's that you say?  That's Nestle Tollhouse?  Well, yeah.  Here is where you can find that recipe.  Also, on the back of pretty much any bag of semi-sweet chocolate cookies.  

Confession:  I am not a brand loyalist.  I buy what is on sale.  Even store brand.  I have found that personally, it doesn't make a difference.

PLEASE NOTE: I make some adjustments, namely I use 2 1/2 cups of flour, and never, ever nuts.  I also use a stand mixer.

So, let's get started.

First, make sure your butter and eggs are room temperature.  The butter should be real soft and squishy, but not melted.  Also, preheat your oven to 375 degrees, Fahrenheit.

Then cream that butter in your mixer, real good, on high.  Make it super fluffy and whipped looking.  When you think it looks good, do it a little more.  

Then add your sugars.  Make sure you pack that brown sugar in tight.  

Also, this is important.  Sometimes your brown sugar will get little hard nuggets in it.  Pull one out and pop it into your mouth, just like your mommy used to let you.

I usually add my vanilla extract at the same time.  And, here's a tip, just measure it into the cap instead of your measuring spoon.  It is probably not exact, but you and I aren't high-strung perfectionists about this, okay?

Now beat the heck out of this mixture, until it too is nicely combined and fluffy and sticky looking.  If you taste it (and you will, it is called quality control), it will taste like delicious frosting, but with a grittier texture from the bigger sugar crystals.  

Add your eggs.  If you are baking with a child, I recommend having them crack into a smaller bowl instead of directly into the mixing bowl.  It will be easier to pick the bits of eggshell that inevitably gets in there.  

Now, mix it real good.  On high again, perhaps scraping the sides if it needs it.  The dough will become paler and creamier looking, and still pretty wet.

Then you get your dry ingredients ready.  It is wise to measure into a separate bowl, because you might lose count of how many scoops of flour you have put into.  I mean, maybe.  Then add it a little at a time to your wet dough.  And, turn your mixer on to its lowest setting, so as not to cause the flour to fly out of the bowl and all over you and the counter.  I am guessing.  After it is well combined, add the rest, once again on the lowest setting, and after it is incorporated, turn the mixer up a bit, like medium-ish, for not too long, like maybe 30 seconds or so.

And it will be gorgeous like this.  And now it is time for the chocolate chips.  Just dump the whole bag in there, and stir until they are distributed.

Pretty, pretty.

Whether or not you are baking with a child, you will accidentally-on-purpose spill some chips on the counter, that you will of course, need to eat.  

This is also when you will call out to your family that cookie dough is ready, grab some spoons, and dish out samples.  But, gasp, raw eggs!  Salmonella, I am not afraid of you. I have 3 decades of cookie dough eating under my belt and I am still standing.  #overcomer  But, hey, friend, if this is something you are cautious about, then I guess, don't indulge.  So sad.  Look at the beautiful spoonful.

After I took this picture, I briefly thought, "Oh, crap.  If I am going to put that on the internet, I should've probably put on makeup and fixed my hair, or at least dried it after my shower."  But, that is not authentic guys.  I am not a glamorous housewife.  But, I do smell like cookies, and some (namely me) would argue that that is even better.  

Now, take your bowl off the mixer, clean your counter (or table), put out a runway of paper towels, and get out your handy-dandy cookie dough scooper.  

Drag that babe through the dough and up against the side of bowl forming a perfectly adorable ball of dough.  Resist the urge to pop that sucker directly into your mouth (or don't, I won't judge).  Then squeeze it onto your baking sheet in rows. 

Now, dudes.  I use these airbake pans.  I really like them and feel like they bake my cookie more evenly than my jelly roll pans, which tend to make their bottoms a smidge overdone.  Now, I think the recipe might say to grease the pans.  Don't.  Here is a bit of wisdom straight from my mom:  
Any good cookie greases its own bottom.

So you put that cookie family in the oven and set a timer.  This is where I tell you that every oven is different, so be cautious and check on those cuties.  My oven is quirky and the top rack bakes the cookies more quickly than the bottom rack.  If I am thinking, I put the first pan on the bottom and then scoop the next pan, putting on the top rack about a minute later, so they are both done around the same time.  I set my timer for 8 minutes, but they usually take the whole 9.  I am just neurotic.  Also, I always leave the oven light on.  I don't think it actually makes a difference, but my mom does it.  
So there.

Take them out when they have the beginning of a suntan, and let them cool on the pan for about 2 minutes.  

Then using a spatula put them on those paper towels to finish cooling.  And because you are the baker, you get first dibs and can pick the prettiest cookie for yourself.  Even right out of the middle of the rows.  

Final note.

Baking with love is a real thing, and my expert tip is that it is good form to share.  So, usually, when I bake these cookies, I part with a dozen or two.  Sometimes sharing with a neighbor, or some teachers, or a mom friend and her kids.  This time, I am sharing with my husband and our friend as they travel for a bachelor's weekend for that friend, whose wedding to an amazing, patient, nurturing, beautiful, hilarious gal is just around the corner.  So, when you bake, think of who you will share with, and hold them in the light as you scoop, measure, taste, and wait.  Baking can be prayer too, dolls.  

Did you bake them?  How did they turn out?


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