Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Serve with ice cold milk

I don't know what possessed me to to do this. Maybe it was because I was thinking about baking MBH a batch of his favourite cookies (ehrm..biscuits). Maybe it was because I just always wonder about things like this. But more likely it was because I just couldn't bring myself to finish the project I've been working on for what feels like weeks and dreading the paperwork involved with wrapping up a project was procrastinating. I went to Dogpile and googled chocolate chip cookie recipe. About 30 seconds later I had over 100,000 different recipes for the classic cookies. Whoa!! Too many recipes to sort through, especially as I only had about 30 more minutes before I could call it a day and leave the prison yard, oh, I mean work. So I narrowed my search to original Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe. Ah, much more manageable at 50,500. As I decided to see what made each of these recipes different from the recipe I keep in my head, I was amazed at how many recipes claim to be the recipe Ruth Wakefield invented outside of Boston in the early 1930s. There were some recipes with 2 1/4 cups of flour and 1 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda. There were others with 1 1/2 cups of flour and 2 eggs. Some called for walnuts while some called for pecans. As I clicked the next link in my search, I got to thinking about how each of these recipes somehow ended up on the internet and how neat it was that all I or anyone else looking for a recipe for the most famous cookie in the world had to do was type "Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie" into a search engine, hit print, and in 30 minutes or so could be sitting down to a batch of warm, gooey, chocolate love. I kept plowing through the recipes and each variation of the recipe with it's 1 stick of butter here and 6 oz of vegatable oil there began to remind me of people. Some had just the right mix of ingredients to make them bake up sweet and chewy. Some had too much liquid and would bake up flat and crispy. Some had too much sugar and would cook too fast, leaving a burnt outside and raw inside and some had too much baking soda and would taste funny. But, somewhere in this electronic medium we have begun to rely so much on, someone thought the recipe was just right and decided to share it with the world.

I've been reflecting a lot lately on people/relationships. How like a really good recipe they work together and how sometimes, even if you have all the right ingredients, if you don't have the right amounts then they just won't work. Kind of like the recipe I looked at right before I turned my computer off to go home. It called for 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. It had all the right ingredients: butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, 2 eggs, vanilla, baking soda, semi-sweet chocolate chips, flour and salt but it called for 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. The cookie would look right and even bake right. From the outside the cookie would be perfect but one bite would tell you it was too salty. I'm not sure what all this deep introspection into recipes means. Maybe it doesn't mean anything. Or maybe it was just an excuse to go home, kick my shoes off, open the window in the kitchen to let the late afternoon spring breeze into the house and bake a batch of cookies for MBH.

MBH's Favourite Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Cream butter and both sugars together in bowl until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and combine until smooth. Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until creamy. Add chocolate chips and chunks. Stir until all the chips and chunks are incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 20 minutes. Using a really big spoon, take a large portion (4 Tablespoons or so) of the dough and roll into a ball. Break the ball in half, leaving a hinge and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown on outside and pale in the middle. Let cool on cookie sheet for minute or so and place on cooling rack.

This recipe will result in 16 really big chewy cookies.