I recently attended a “Coping with Stress and Adversity” conference. There we learned to “never say never, or always” and how to offer criticism by sharing a “star and a wish.” So when I saw this recipe I thought: now is the time.
never very rarely been able to follow a recipe precisely. Meticulously following directions tends to make me anxious. (Which should come as no surprise, considering the kind of conferences I frequent.) I can do it. But I don’t like it.
Before I bake, I take a few deep breaths, read the directions aloud, and wish for the best. Tried and true recipes require less meditation, but new recipes can unhinge me. Yet, when I saw these chocolate chip cookies, I decided to dig deep, follow the instructions, and shut up about it.
A classic recipe like chocolate chip cookies can evoke an added layer of stress, as there can be so much expectation, fond childhood memories even. You typically can’t please everyone. Some like thin, crisp cookies, while others like them soft and chewy. And then there are those that can’t commit and prefer to have it both ways (turns out, I’m one of those). Well, this recipe caters precisely to … umm, everyone.
I followed the directions perfectly (actually, I’m not sure if I’m still allowed to say perfectly after my seminar). Browning the butter was crucial and made the cookie dough reminiscent of toffee. The process was actually pretty therapeutic. What was not therapeutic: despite following the recipe with precision, I had cookies come out looking like they'd been steamrolled. When I retraced my steps I found baking soda that was "best by June 3, 2010."
Yet—and here’s the kicker—even flat these cookies are lovely. Nutty. Chocolately. Crisp and chewy. And if you follow the directions (which are not difficult, I might add) you’ll get fantastic cookies.
So here comes the star: bake these cookies and you’ll be a hero. The recipe is from Cook's Illustrated. They’ve done the heavy lifting and have written instructions that truly work. Their dough is divine chocolate intervention and their method is perfection.
As for my wish? I wish I had fresher baking soda. And also, more cookies.
Always most days, more cookies.