I went for a walk in a rain shower this afternoon. Ruby Joon drank from street puddles and I listened to the birds chirp their delights while preening and cleaning. August tends to be a tough month that seems to drag on and on, and this one proved no different. The raindrops hit me like a hundred hummingbird tongues lapping at my skin, rinsing away the stresses and anxieties of the month. I kept walking, to Ruby’s dismay, until all of the month dripped away and I knew I could welcome in my favorite months of the year–the ones that end in ‘ber’.
And what better way to start the season than with baking something new for me? Chocolate chip cookies! A simple classic that I’d never attempted myself. I was motivated to finally go for it by reading about a contest through Cook’s Illustrated in which you try out one or all five of their essential recipes and you’re entered to win one year of web membership access–which I would love to have at my fingertips. I decided to try the cookies since I’m getting into baking and from-scratch chocolate chip would be new to me.
I followed their recipe and was sure to read all the instructions thoroughly (or so I thought) and portion everything out before starting. Full disclosure, I somehow still managed to mess up the process and didn’t add the egg/egg yolk at the right time. Whoops! And I was sure, because science, I messed them up by doing that. But I pushed on and tried to finish strong.
After I got the dough together, I then tried to measure it out per directions and was semi-successful with that endeavor. I ended up with one extra cookie on my baking sheet, but who’s going to complain about that? I chose that one as the test cookie. Another fun fact–I don’t have wire racks and I have two completely different styles of baking sheets. Wheeeeeeeee!
First batch was out. This set was the one baked on a well-used Calphalon baking sheet. They were in for 12 mins. and looked pretty spot on. I mean, they looked nothing like the picture on the recipe, but the edges were set and the centers were still soft, so I was optimistic.
Since I don’t have wire racks, I just moved them to a fresh sheet of parchment paper to cool.
Next up was the second batch done on an air-bake cookie sheet. I do not typically like to use this one for baking cookies and I wasn’t super pleased with the way these came out–still soft all around. I decided to leave them on the hot sheet an extra few minutes after 12 mins. in the oven to see if they’d set better before moving them to cool. Seemed to work.
I put the kettle on for tea to have with my test cookie(s) and went over the experience in my head again. Clearly, I do not follow instructions well and I skim information when I’m in an impatient mood. This is why I have always had trouble with the idea of baking. It’s so exact. It’s so sciencey. And I can screw it up so easily.
The mug sums up my first attempt at cookies from scratch, but I will say they were both quite tasty and the chamomile tea calmed my frustrations. Turns out, the ones done on the air-bake sheet were actually better. Mental note made. Overall, it was a good way to start out my favorite time of year and I will try again someday…now that I know the actual process. And yes, work friends, I will be bringing them in tomorrow to share, so calm your antsy stomachs and wipe that drool off your fool faces.