With our annual spring break trip comes many traditions: powder-sugar donuts, Max’s serenade, late nights by the bonfire, and Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies. Now as you know if you have ever embibed in these bitefuls of goodness, they are not your average, run-of-the-mill cookies. A multitude of conditions must all collude to produce the perfect specimen. It requires just the right intensity of mixing, the exact measurement of ingredients, and probably the most frustrating element- the right amount of moisture in the air. The cookies call for lots of the extras- ground oatmeal, nuts, and two kinds of chocolate: chips AND shavings. Yes, they make TONS! So…these treats require much of a day, preparing the ingredients; mixing the dense dough with bare hands; rotating the cookie sheets from the bottom rack to the top for just the right amount of browning; and allowing them to cool before transferring them to the cookie jar. And if the cookie gods are shining on me, and they come out as planned, there is nothing like their warm chocolate slithering down my throat as the crunching oatmeal adds just the right density and flavor.
A couple weeks ago, it was time for me to steele myself for the baking process. Usually my daughter adds an extra set of hands, but since she is on the receiving end of the cookies this year, it was all on me. Everything appeared to be on track until it came to adding the dry ingredients. For some reason, the dough seemed much too dry. I reconsidered my mixing steps, and everything seemed in order. It will be fine once I scoop them onto the cookie sheet, I kept telling myself, knowing full well this was not looking good. Sure enough, the first batch, a beacon for what was to come, exited the oven as small, flattened lumps, far from the enormous tea-cup sized desserts I was half-heartedly expecting. I knew what to expect when I bit into the tester. Delicious. Yep. Moist and melty. Nope. Hard and crunchy.
Like I mentioned before, this recipe makes almost a hundred cookies, so when they don’t turn out as planned, YOU EAT THEM ANYWAY! I gave a huge bag to my sister and another smaller one to a friend. My family barely made a dent in the container of them we brought for our cabin. Nobody had the heart to throw them away, but the cookies also were not the hit of the weekend. We rolled into our driveway at the end of the trip, loaded down with- you guessed it- chocolate chip cookies.
But home brought with it a solution to our problem that camping could not- the microwave. Just 20 seconds on high, and these puppies were feeling the heat that turned them back into a soft, gooey dessert. In no time, that entire container was empty, and the family was asking for more. All the work was worth it, at least until we get on the scales.