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".
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.