Let’s be honest, making cookies from scratch really isn’t that hard, but sometimes the lure of convenience or just the jam-packed schedule of life gets in the way. But you still want (or need!) those cookies. You reach for a box mix. It happens. I’ve done it. There’s no shame.
Okay, a little shame, but box mixes have come a long way since the additive and preservative fueled eighties. You can make a passable batch of cookies to quiet the monster from a box mix. You can also use a few tips and tricks to doctor the mix and bend the box to your will.
On the cookie spectrum, I am firmly in the chewy camp. I don’t mind a little crispness on the edge, but give me 85% soft, gooey and chewy and I am a happy man. My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, maybe just plain my favorite cookie recipe, is Alton Brown’s The Chewy. But I don’t let those personal preferences limit my baking.
I aim to please the people, so when Michelle needed something to bring to a neighborhood ornament swap, I went for this simple cookie brittle. It’s completely on the opposite site of the cookie spectrum from my taste, but it’s simple to make, a little different than the norm and tastes really good, even to a chewy guy. I support that!
This Saturday we were going over to a friends’ house for dinner and we were bringing dessert. With a frightfully light agenda (nothing after morning soccer and art), I thought baking some cookies would be a good (time consuming) activity for the girls.
It’s not hard to spot the personality differences between Michelle and I, but if you need a telling example watch us in the kitchen with the kids. Michelle is the more intuitive cook. She gets the general shape of the recipe and then goes about making it in her way. I have more the baker mindset. I like precision, measuring and following directions.
The end result is usually very tasty no matter who is at the controls, but the process and the state of the kitchen before, during and after are a different story. Throw some child-sized helpers into the mix and it’s a multiplier effect. I need to physically leave the room when the all the girls are in the kitchen. For her part, Michelle can’t understand why it takes me so long to bake a dozen cookies.
We made it to February this year, but finally succumbed to the dreaded mid-week, no-school, snow day.
How did it go? I’ll show you.
I’ll come clean. I’m a soft cookie man. If you give me a choice between a soft and chewy or hard and crispy, I’ll choose the former every time. The only hard cookie I can think of that I eat willingly are biscotti (soft and chewy with tea or coffee aren’t natural bedfellows) and even then the shower of crumbs sort of annoys me when the pleasure of dunking and dipping is done.
With the price of chocolate going through the roof to a thirty year high (c’mon you’re telling me intervening in the Ivory Coast isn’t in our national interests) I’m increasingly turning to these versatile molasses cookies as my go-to staple for a cookie fix. In our house we aspire to two food rules. One, the Epicurean rule of everything in moderation and two, the Pollan principle of indulgence is okay as long as you make it yourself.