It’s More Than Just A Cookie – part 1

I’ve eaten many varieties of cookie but none stirs my heart and soul as much as the chocolate chip cookie. That’s because this was the cookie that started it all — the cookie that taught me an important lesson about using the right ingredients — even if the amount seem insignificant.  Above all, it was the cookie that set the foundation for my love of baking. 

I still remember the day I discovered this wonderful creation and how amazed I was by it. I was in 6th grade and was my next-door neighbor’s official baby-sitter. When I showed up at her door that day, I was met with a delicious and wonderful odor. It was a smell completely foreign to me. And then Tina greeted me with a plate of chocolate chip cookies — fresh out of the oven.

At the time, I didn’t know what they were. I had only been living in the United States for about a year therefore, a lot of things were still unknown and very strange to me. When I took that first bite, I was hooked. The cookie was warm and the chocolate… oh my goodness… those amazing gooey chocolate morsels… pushed my taste buds into overdrive. I was familiar with chocolate but it was a luxury item for me. In Taiwan, chocolate was a very rare treat because it was expensive — an equivalent of five U.S. dollars for a Hershey’s chocolate bar and this was in the 70’s. Needless to say, when Tina showed me the Nestle Toll House chocolate chips package; my belief at the time that all Americans were super rich was confirmed. It was a stereotype image I was bombarded with while living in Taiwan. Of course, I later learned about the delusion of the stereotype — but that’s another story.

After devouring about half a dozen cookies, I wanted to learn how to make them. Tina gave me a pack of the chocolate chips and told me to follow the recipe direction on the back. She assured me the cookies were easy to make. Excitedly, I went home with visions of chocolate chip cookies and the enjoyment my family would have eating them.
The next day, I took out the package and read the recipe on the back. As I read the ingredients list, there were a couple of items I was unfamiliar with and didn’t have; baking soda and vanilla extract. I had no idea what these ingredients were and I didn’t even know how to pronounce vanilla extract. Since Tina wasn’t home, I couldn’t ask her. And my sisters and brother didn’t know either. Oh well… I thought…  and made the cookies without the two ingredients. My reasoning — it couldn’t have been important since the recipe asked for such small amount. Well, I learned the small amount was indeed very important when I took out of the oven; a tray of cookies that looked like lumps of brown poop — as my brother had commented. The cookies tasted terrible. They were hard and lumpy. Instead of the enjoyment I had envisioned; I was told not to make any more cookies. With tears in my eyes, I threw all the brown poop lumps into the garbage.

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12 Comments on “It’s More Than Just A Cookie – part 1

  1. I am the world’s worst cook (I find pop-tarts to be challenging) but I really liked this – both parts – words and pictures. A good read, well done.

    • Lol… I don’t know if you are the worst… my sister made spaghetti for her date. She didn’t drain the water before adding the sauce. She thought the water would evaporate with longer cooking time. Good thing her date wasn’t looking for a great cook because he later married her. 🙂

  2. What a wonderful story Emily, I really enjoyed reading it! 😀

    On a personal note, the girls and I love to cook/bake, we have such a great/fun time!

    • Thanks David. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Cooking with my kids was one of those treasured memories I will never forget. One time we made pizza for dinner — from making the dough to baking. It was the best pizza we ever had. 🙂

  3. Enjoyed reading your cookie story 😉
    Those cookies and milk looks yummy.

    Surely baking is therapeutic…especially I love baking bread. It takes time but it is really worth it.

    • I love baking bread as well… used to make a lot of them for my bakery and even though I had to get up at 2:00 a.m. The smell of fresh baked bread will wake up all your senses. 🙂

  4. 2 1/4 cups Gold Medal Flour
    1 t baking soda
    1 t salt
    1/2 c butter(one stick softened at room temperature)
    3/4 c granulated sugar
    3/4 c Domino’s dark brown sugar
    2 eggs or 1 egg and 3 Tbs agar agar(algae derivative to be dissolved in warm water)
    1 T vanilla (real vanilla extract)
    1/2 T rum exract
    Dash of chili powder and dash of cinnamon
    1 package of Chocolate Chips or 2 bars crushed Cailler’s Swiss chocolate
    3/4 – 1 cup of chopped walnuts
    Squirts of freshly pressed lemon juice

    Sift flour, salt, and baking soda in bowl and set aside.
    Prepare cookie trays by oiling and flouring paper cookie sheets.
    Preheat oven to 200°(160 European ovens)
    In separate bigger bowl, blend together brown and granulated sugars with softened butter. When well blended, add eggs, one at a time, (or one egg and 3 T agar agar, dissolved.) Blend ingredients until creamy. Now is the time to add the squirts of lemon, and the dashes of cinnamon and chili powder. ( These additions quieten the smell of egg and add a bit more spice). Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture, a little at a time. Continue this addition until the ingredients are well blended. The mixture will be quite thick. Now, fetch a wooden spoon and mix in chopped walnuts and chocolate chips or broken chocolate. By rounded Tablespoons, drop onto cookie sheets, two inches apart. Bake at 200°(160 for European ovens) for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool. Yields about 3 dozen cookies. *You can’t go wrong with this mix. My special Anna Rene’s Pastries recipe. Never Fails! Enjoy!

    • Thank you Anna for the recipe. Interesting ingredients. I will have to give it a try and post the result.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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