Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cookie Therapy

Nothing beats a really great chocolate chip cookie.  Yes, I am fond of many other sugar filled treats…ice cream, brownies, pies…just to name a few.  But, honestly, for me, the chocolate chip cookie most often wins out.  It has everything…simplicity, tradition, warmth and always hits the “spot”, whatever and wherever that spot may be?

I was always true to the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe, the one that Nestle told me was the best and the one that I remember making with my mom.  Well, Nestle lied to me… and my mom.  They are, in fact, NOT the best.  I have found the best and it brings me much joy to share with you today the actual Best, Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie.  I can’t take too much credit for this fantastic find, a mere search will bring you to the same conclusion, but I can take credit for the tender loving care that has gone into baking these precious gems.

These cookies have meant a lot to me.  I have been making them for numerous years and have upped my production over the last few years.  I have made them many, many times and always get rave reviews from those on the receiving end.  Yes, I do share!  In fact, the sharing is my favorite part. 
But these cookies mean more to me than just a fantastic recipe and flattering accolades.  After losing our babies there was not much that I found “comforting”.  People would wish us “comfort” or make suggestions about where we might find comfort (by turning to our faith, exercising, journaling, etc).  The thoughtful suggestions pretty much exhausted what other people had found comforting when they experienced difficult times.  I had nothing.  I had a hard time sleeping, felt like I was suffocating most days, and was constantly on the verge of falling apart.   I could not find “comfort”.   

The days were long and I started to bake again out of boredom, to give me something to do with Addison as we passed through some of the most miserable of days.  What I ended up finding was my “comfort”.  I baked a variety of items but most comforting were these Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Don’t get me wrong, I had loved to bake (and eat what I baked!) prior to our losses, but now baking was my therapy.  There was just something so cathartic about starting something from scratch, perfectly measuring out ingredients, listening to the soft monotony of the mixer going round and round, the oven warming, and most importantly the completion of something that I alone started.  I could start and finish something.  I could produce, even if I could not reproduce.  I could bring joy to those around me even if it was only through these ooey gooey  cookies.  And so I baked. 
I want to state that I am not claiming that baking cookies can replace the true benefits of actual therapy, but for me,  the simple act of baking provided me with a level of “comfort” that pushed me forward and made me feel, if only momentarily, purposeful. 
These amazing cookies will continue to be a staple in our household and hopefully will be made more for celebrations and less for therapy in the days to come.  They will be made for picnics and parties, first days of school, bad days, boring days and just plain old “I feel like a cookie” days.  Whether you are celebrating or needing some therapy of your own I hope you will give this recipe a whirl.  I promise that peace and love will radiate from your oven.  Happy Baking!  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
(Tip:  I use parchment paper on the cookie sheets and only about 1.5 cups of chocolate chips!) 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dana!
    Thank you for sharing your "cookie comfort" story..I too find that baking sometimes helps me to take the time to myself to "create" and feel good about making them for others.
    I am going to make your cookies for Easter and I will think of you while doing so and while sharing them with everyone.
    Thank you for sharing and again you are all always in my thoughts and prayers.
    Aunt Freda :)