Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Loss of Innocence

I suffered a loss of innocence last night. I had been planning to write a post about how I feel like I’m a marionette, Orangette’s marionette, because I do whatever she says. She says to put chickpeas with chard, so I put chickpeas with chard. She says to mash up a cucumber and lime and add vodka and salt, and I do it. I love her recipes and her writing, but I especially love that she’s not afraid of butter and cream and chocolate and sugar. I feel a deep affection for anybody who is not afraid to cook with butter and sugar.

So when she told me to make chocolate chip cookies, I did. And now I’m no longer her marionette.

I was so excited for those cookies, too. I followed her recipe to a tee. I even used a scales to do the measuring (because she said to, of course). Mr. Handsome had to stop at the grocery store on his way home from work to dig the last bag of Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips from the bottom of the bin. A lot of positive feeling and excitement went into those cookies.

And they were dreadful. Like freeze-them-and-forget-them dreadful. Like only-to-be-pulled-out-to-feed-children-and-company-you-don't-like dreadful. Like not-finish-your-cookie-and-throw-the-rest-of-it-in-the-compost dreadful. Crumbly and dry and flavorless. I obsessively kept tasting them to see if they would get better—hot, warm, room temperature, room temperature two hours later. Nothing.

I felt horrible. How could I possibly disagree with Orangette? I adore the lady, so what a crushing disappointment to discover that she liked mediocre chocolate chip cookies. What a betrayal. What a loss of innocence. What a... Okay, I'll stop.

I skimmed the 103 comments that she had on her post, and to add insult to injury, everyone was raving about the cookies. I was stunned. There was only one thing to do: Bake up a batch of my chocolate chip cookies, photograph them, type up the recipe, and send my offering out into the world, a dark, dark world, in dire need of chocolate chip cookie salvation. Please, people, please, make these cookies. And then share the recipe with everyone you know. We've got to spread the word, I mean, the recipe.


Salvation’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
I got the recipe from my mother, who in turn got it from my Cousin Karen

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups oatmeal, measured and then blended in a blender to a fine powder
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus another handful, for good measure

In a big mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars for a little bit, till well-whipped. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix some more. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, saving the chocolate chips for last. Shape the dough into good-sized lumps, placing about twelve on each greased baking sheet. Press the dough down in the middle so that the middle part is lower than the edges.


You do this so the cookie doesn’t rise too high and so the edges don’t burn before the middle is baked. Bake them at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie. The key is to under-bake them; they should still be light-colored and a little moist in the middle.

Roughly set the tray down on the cooling rack, so the air poofs out, giving you a more dense, chewier cookie. Let the cookies sit on the hot tray for five minutes, allowing them to firm up and bake just a tad bit more, before transferring them to the cooling rack.


Devour, pausing between bites to admire the gorgeous crumb, the melting chocolate---your spectacular handiwork.


Freeze any that are leftover; they are delicious freshly-thawed (in fact, that is Mr. Handsome’s favorite way to eat them.)


Ps. I’ve started to see Orangette's betrayal in a new light. Just because she doesn’t make the best chocolate chip cookie doesn’t mean that she’s not any good. Even she has written about her falling out with Nigella Lawson, so I guess this can just be a temporary thing—just a little rift in our (one-sided) relationship.

15 comments:

  1. did you chill the dough for 36 hours? Orangette's recipe, I mean.
    And did you use a mixture of cake and bread flour?

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  2. I chilled it for about 22 hours, and I think she said to chill for 24-36 hours. And yes, I used both cake and bread flours, and Orangette didn't even do that. The cookies looked gorgeous, too---exactly like her's. I just don't know...

    You try it and see what happens---I'd love to get a second opinion on this matter.

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  3. Oh Jennifer, you are so-o-o-o-o funny. How did my children get this funny?

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  4. Ah-ha! I finally got MY mama to comment! I thought the mixture of chocolate and salvation might do the trick...

    Funny? Um, you're pretty hilarious yourself, dearie.

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  5. I shouldn't have put "Jennifer." Wipe that part out! Thwart the stalkers!

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  6. Hey Jen,

    We made oatmeal cookies this morning before church and smushed the center with a spoon and they came out perfect. Thanks for the tip.

    Kate

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  7. I didn't tell you before, but I had already purchased the ingredients for these cookies the day your post came out and now I don't feel like taking the time to make them.

    Did you let the dough sit for 30 minutes after taking it out of the refrigerator? I have got to find some explanation.

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  8. Dr. P, the first batch of cookies I made with dough straight from the fridge, but then the dough sat on the counter as I kept baking the cookies, so yes, a bunch of them were made from dough that had sat out for 30-60 minutes.

    Go ahead and try it---I'm sure the techs and staff will appreciate anything you bring them, even if it's run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookies. And you never know, they may turn out to be spectacular...

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  9. Tonight we pulled our bag of these--donated to our cause by Mama JJ herself, thank you very much--and ate two each, with milk. I felt as though I was drinking a really smooth mug of cold hot chocolate.

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  10. Current typist,
    Actually, the cookies I gave you were the chocolate chunk cookies...just for the record.

    I'm glad you liked them!

    -JJ

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  11. Do you like unsalted or salted butter for this?

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  12. They were still delicious. I sprinkled some flaked sea salt on the second sheet. I remember trying the orangette recipe and not making it again. I like cookies with oats.
    These peanut butter bars are also good and easy, your kids might like them, my husband does, http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-bars/

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