Saturday, June 28, 2008

The lure of the chocolate chip cookie

I love chocolate chip cookies. Not the hard, crunchy type mass produced in some factory somewhere, full of preservatives, tasting faintly of packaging, overly sweet and not a whole lot else. The ideal chocolate chip cookie starts with good chocolate, roughly chopped, added to the butter, flour, sugar mix. The oven must be pre-heated to prevent too much spreading thereby canceling out the chocolate to cookie ratio and leading to a overcooked, tough cookie.

Once you've mixed up a batch, drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on to a lightly greased cookie sheet, flatten a little and slide into the pre-heated oven. Cookies should be crisp around the edges and slightly gooey in the middle, the chocolate will be molten when bitten into. There is nothing more homey and welcoming than the smell of cookies baking leading to an immediate sense of well being. Cookie making is an ideal way to bond with children. There are very few kids that can resist the lure to make a mess in the kitchen with you if they know it will result in an entirely yummy outcome. They learn life-skills, you have "quality" time and best of all, cookies! How can you beat that?

For years, whenever I was down I would bake. Lots of things, cakes, bread, brownies, cookies and pies. I've made cream puffs by the hundred. Do I like to bake? Nope, not especially. I just like the end results and think that mine are mostly better than store bought. You'd have to ask my staff if is this is true because conversely, I don't eat a lot of what I make, they do. It's the making that I find satisfying....except for the damn chocolate chip cookies. Which I make with real chocolate, BUTTER, sugar and all those things that the food police are always disparaging. Those are reluctantly shared on the odd occasion when I make them and boy, they are good. Biting into one of them brings instant happiness, at least to me and that's important.

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