it’s all in the delivery

I shared an amazing treat with Isabella today—and I didn't even make it.

It was a milkshake, and there was no organic milk in sight. The ice cream surely wasn't some artisnal, real vanilla bean variety either.

And the kicker—hold onto your hats. It was made with Oreo cookies. Not Thomas Keller's fancy schmancy TKO or like the ones they used to make when I managed Tribakery. They were honest to goodness Nabisco cookies.

The whipped cream? It was the bad aerosol stuff from the can that we all have a soft spot for—mine a little squishier than others for all I consumed in my teens.

See, I'm not saying this was easier to make than at home. It wasn't necessarily the best milk shake ever, either. But for a moment it washed away the tears we've been shedding over homework, tests and the overall pressures of life.

In a world where kids are forced to grow up too fast, I got to travel back in time with one sip.

Sure I wax poetic here about the virtues and benefits of homecooking, but I'm not unbending. But you know what does get me all bent out of shape? This article, for one.

Now I'm not the best person to say think before you speak because lord knows I could use a five-second delay every now and again. But when you say "sometimes baking something from scratch isn't really worth the effort" and the comparison is regarding chocolate chip cookie dough, not something more involved like say panettone or puff pastry, then I'm going to call bullshit.

See, it's all in the packaging. If Jennifer McCoy had said that chemical aftertaste of the slice and bake stuff beckoned her back to her childhood, then I wouldn't have an elevated heart rate right now. But she didn't even like the stuff. Her words not mine.

"…frankly, the pre-made cookie dough wasn't that good. Way too heavy on the vanilla extract, and too many chocolate chips (I can't believe I just had to say that!). They had a weird surface that wouldn't brown, and took twice as long to bake as the package instructed. Pretty disappointing."

One would think the punchline here is homebaked cookies are worth the extra 10 minutes (trust me that's all the active time you need to make the dough). Instead she ends the whole thought with "…for a sweet ending to a Sunday night supper, skipping the hassle is perfectly acceptable".

Huh?

How do you go from "pretty disappointing" to a "sweet ending"?

Am I crazy? Am I passionate? Why the hell did this bother me so much?

I'll ponder it more as I make some chocolate chip cookies—the dough is all ready to go in my fridge.

my best chocolate chip cookies

makes 36 three-inch cookies

Perhaps one of my favorite things about this cookie is they're stress free. Rather than planning on time to make the dough and bake it right away, it's done in stages. The dough takes all of 5 minutes to make—10 minutes if you decide to nix your stand mixer and do it all with a wooden spoon. Then just sit back and let the dough transform in the fridge, and bake as you need them.

You can even form the balls and freeze them on a lined cookie sheet. Once set, store them in an air-tight plastic bag and you'll be ready for surprise company or a last-minute treat at a moment's notice.

4 cups flour (18 ounces)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter, softened (8 ounces)

2 cups sugar (15 ounces)

2 tablespoons molasses

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate discs

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter, sugar and molasses until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until well mixed. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate discs. Let sit in refrigerator overnight before baking, and may be stored this way for up to two days. Yes, I realize this is the very hard part.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper. Gently form dough into 1 1/2 to 2-inch balls and place 2 to 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes on middle rack. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 2 more minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely if you have any will power left.

Read the original post for my very best chocolate chip cookies.

Comments

  • Kate @ Savour Fare: Maybe she’s making fancy pastry chef chocolate chip cookies that take 60 minutes of her time?
    My problem with chocolate chip cookies is not finding time to make them — my problem is that they’re so easy to make I can see myself making and eating them all the time. ALL THE TIME. I make mine in a metal bowl and I just melt the butter in the oven in the bowl. They take about 3 minutes to mix and 5 to place on the cookie sheet, then 8 to bake, so in a little over 15 minutes (OK, throw in 30 minutes chilling time)…
    Panettone though — I can’t make homemade taste like the good stuff.

  • Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction: I read that article, too… I wasn’t impressed, though I didn’t get quite as upset as you and Gail did. ;) Granted, I’ve never been to Craft and I know nothing about her… So basically, I was just uninterested.
    I do, however, think that there were better, equally convenient options that she could have chosen… And really, if it wasn’t that good, why write about it in the first place?

  • Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle: Huh is right. I’m confused too; those two comments are like oil and water. They simply do not belong in the same sentence referring to the same thing!
    The only thing wrong with your ‘best’ chocolate chip cookies? Overnight…really? I know I’m going to cheat; knew it when you gave me the recipe earlier today. The dough has been in the freezer for an hour now; hoping 2 more will work enough for just a couple of cookies, just for me!

  • Jennie: Barbara—I’ve baked these cookies at 3, 12, 24 and 48 hours. While the longer “dry aging” is amazing, the 3 hours is certainly suffice. And a much better alternative to the prepared stuff!

  • merry jennifer: Your recipe really only takes minutes. What takes me the longest time is waiting for the butter to soften and the eggs to come to room temperature. Big deal. As busy as my life is, if anyone needs convenience foods, it’s me – but I’m absolutely not willing to trade just a few extra minutes (not an hour) for crappy tasting cookies with who-knows-what in them.
    Best part of this recipe? I now have a freezer bag full of ready-to-bake homemade Jennie’s Best chocolate chip cookies. And, call me crazy, but I think they’re even better after some freezer time.

  • Cheryl Arkison: Molasses? I’ve made mine with golden syrup, but this is new to me. Off to get the dough made. Will bake on Friday morning.

  • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite: Your recipe is amazing. Thanks for the refreshing and honest take on what was just plain bizarre. Like Jen, I don’t understand why she wrote about it in the first place either. huh. In any case, now, thanks to you, I have *another* chocolate chip cookie to try out!

  • SMITH BITES: I think what probably bothers ME most about the article, is the slippery slope we find ourselves on when it comes to justifying eating crappy food because of time – whether it be chocolate chip cookies or a McDonald’s hamburger or ANY fast-food burger. And coming from a chef who justifies ‘time spent’ vs ‘eating quality food’ is really, really disappointing. We are a fat nation, me included, because marketers use the ‘too busy to cook’ card. My health is worth way more than any amount of time I might spend on making something from scratch (or take a good cheat like in the case of puff pastry), cookie or not. Bullshit is right.

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