Toss the recipe

After my chocolate-dipping disaster of the other night, one might think I would be more inclined to eschew winging it when I cook, leave the Amaretto in the cupboard, and not only read but actually follow the flippin’ recipe.

But, alas, no. Call it hubris, call it distraction, call it temporary insanity, but I blithely broke new culinary ground today in spite of myself.

I got a hankering for some cookies this afternoon (side note: nothing good ever comes from a hankering) but felt it was much, much too hot outside to bother making a trip to the grocery store. So, I scrounged through my cupboards to see if I could find the ingredients for Toll House cookies.

First, I found no chocolate chips, but I did find an empty chip bag in a drawer with the recipe on it. So far, so good. Then, way in the back of the fridge, I found a bag of white chocolate chips. Hmm, I sure could have used those the other night, but oh well—chocolate of any color is still chocolate so I’ll use them now. I needed two sticks of butter and the only kind I have in the house is unsalted, which I’ve never used for baking. Something new to try.

Then I dug deep in the cupboards to find my brown sugar, because I know I had put some away, uh, quite some time ago in what I thought was an air-tight container. You know how it is with brown sugar in storage, though. It was hard as rock candy and the solid lump of it refused to exit the container no matter how many times I slammed it on the counter (the dogs both ran and hid in the bedroom at this point, sensing a bad moon was a-rising in the kitchen tonight).

Figuring I would have to toss the brown sugar but wanting to save the container, I poured in some hot water to soften it up. That did the trick nicely, and got me to thinking there might yet be cookies for dinner dessert. I dumped the sugar slush out in a bowl and microwaved it for 30 seconds, then added a big dollop of molasses because I figured the water had diluted it so I was just putting the flavor back. Then I measured out twice as much of the liquid sugar as the recipe required in dry sugar and called it good.

But then things slid a little sideways. I started cooking like Hannah Hart even though I was stone-cold sober. I have never lost my concentration so completely while cooking anything—I put the butter and sugars and vanilla into a bowl, along with a splash of Amaretto (for the flavor, you know), then, without even thinking, I cracked in both the eggs. This is not the correct order of engagement, every cookie baker knows this. First you cream the butter, sugars and vanilla, then you add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Duh.

Looking at all the wet ingredients improperly mingling in that bowl, I threw the recipe to the wind and simply forged ahead. I whipped this concoction for several minutes until it separated into greasy, grainy, runny goop that was nauseating to behold. Because it was so, um, fluid, I managed to spatter it all over the counter and all over myself, too. What a mess.

Next, I turned my attention to the dry ingredients. I threw the flour in a bowl willy-nilly, about three and a half cups, maybe four, and tossed in a little more baking soda than the recipe called for because of the extra flour and twice the salt because of the unsalted butter. Then I realized that I’d mixed the wet ingredients in the smaller bowl and the dry ingredients in the larger bowl, and that all that flour was not going to go into the smaller bowl. So, figuring the whole thing was a bad job anyway that would end up in the trash but make a really great blog post, I simply poured the nasty-looking sugar-butter-egg mess into the bowl with the flour and mixed it up. I added the chips, scooped out the dough in massive blobs onto the cookie sheet, stuck the cookie sheet in the oven at 375°F, set the timer for 12 minutes and exited the kitchen in disgrace to join the dogs hiding in the bedroom.

I was sure the baking gods were going to strike me dead for my impudence.

So, you want to know, were the cookies any good?

cookies

Surprisingly, no. No, they were not “good.”

They were, I don’t mind telling you, freaking fantastic. Best damn cookies I’ve ever made. I’m going to make them this way from now on.

true-story

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3 thoughts on “Toss the recipe

  1. Pingback: I scream | Going Forward

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