It’s More Than Just A Cookie – part 2

“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.”

I sat on the steps feeling dejected from my failed attempt at baking and was afraid that Tina would be disappointed with me. The next day, I went over to Tina’s as soon as I got home from school. And when she asked me about the cookies, tears welled up in my eyes as I explained about the failed cookies. Instead of being upset, she just smiled and comforted me. She explained to me the importance of the ingredients I had omitted. Then she went on to bake the cookies again with me so that I could see it done properly.

I’m happy to say, the cookie lesson paid off. Defying my dad’s order of never to make cookies again — I baked three-dozen gooey, chewy, mouth-watering cookies that forever changed the opinions of my family about my baking ability. As for Tina –to say she was a nice neighbor would be an understatement. Tina was the special “mom” to me for the next three years. And to this day, her many life lessons stayed with me.

 That’s why every time when I bake chocolate chip cookies; it is more than just cookies for me. It’s about someone showing love and kindness. And perhaps that’s why Chocolate Chip Cookies is the most popular. It’s a simple cookie — yet when you bite into it; the warm and fuzzy feeling you get is unexplainable.

So… here is the recipe to make these wonderful cookies. I hope they will make you feel warm and fuzzy…  🙂

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
2 cups Chocolate Chips (12-oz. pkg)
1 cup Chopped Nuts

Make Approx. 36 Cookies

Preheat: Oven to 375 F
Combine: Flour, baking soda and salt in small bow. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Baked: For 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

The direction on the package seems simple enough. However, as I have discovered during my first attempt; the direction can be misleading for someone who is not familiar with baking techniques. Tina gave me some tips not listed on the package direction and that is to — scrape the bowl constantly during beating of the dough. This insures all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. So that the cookies will spread evenly during baking. And another tip is to not add all the flour mixture at once. It will save you a great deal of mess if you add about 1/2 cup at a time but also you would not lose any ingredients. As I’ve learned the hard way that even 1 teaspoon can make a big difference between success and failure on the outcome.

Here is a tip on how to get perfect, round, even size cookies  — the ice cream scoop. It is one of the must have cooking tools to have in your kitchen.

Have fun and enjoy!

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.