Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm a REAL cookie killer

I've been cooking since I was a girl and I'm pretty good at it. As the eldest of four children with working parents, I was making family meals earlier than most kids my age. I have always read cook books like they were novels (like Granna) and love trying out new recipes every chance I get (like my father). My repertoire of meals is mostly committed to memory as I am confident in the kitchen and rarely shy away from new culinary challenges.

I guess one could say I'm a mixture of Paula Deen (minus the accent), Rachel Ray (minus the perkiness), and Giada De Laurentiis (minus the perfect smile and that killer body). So basically I guess I'm no more than a really mediocre Julia Child... oh well. But I can cook most anything with varying levels of success, except the one dish which has proven to be a menace to me my entire cooking life, my absolute favorite treat of all...

Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies.

Yes, I admit it, I couldn't make chocolate chip cookies if my life depended on it. I have attempted hundreds, probably thousands of times over my years in the kitchen and every time, every last time, I ruin them somehow. I finally accepted defeat and hung my head in shame as I regularly bought those big tubs of chocolate chip cookie dough from a warehouse club. I thought they tasted okay, but my family loved them (because they didn't know any better), so all was right in my little fake cookie world. Until a few nights ago when one of my children excitedly asked if we could have REAL chocolate chip cookies, "you know Mom, like the kind with flour and eggs in them."

Oddly, the request tugged at my heart. Now admittedly, I am bad at plenty of things, but this chick can cook and I'm not going to be afraid anymore of a silly little cookie recipe that every cook in America (and most children who can read or be read to) can make without a problem.

So I carefully measured each ingredient, mixed according to the directions, and even doubled the recipe so my children would have enough to take to school the next day and say, "Look what my mom made! REAL chocolate chip cookies!" And their friends would ooh and aaah and tell my children how lucky they were to have such a cool mom who took the time to make her family REAL chocolate chip cookies, leaving my children feeling stuffed and confident of their mother's love for them.

Filled with the knowledge that I would do my family proud, I preheated the oven and placed 16 perfectly formed cookie balls on the cookie sheet and prepared my children to experience the beauty that is Nestle Toll House cookies.

This is what emerged from my oven ten minutes later:

















Oh good grief! The children tried to stifle their disappointment as I curtly scraped off two "cookies" for each child and sat back to answer the inevitable barrage of questions: "Where are the cookies Mommy? Are these them? Why do they look so funny? Where is that tub with the cookie dough, I like those much better. Why do these look so gross? When are you going to make the REAL cookies, Mom? " And on, and on, and on...

Yes, I failed yet again. I can not make Toll House cookies and I accept defeat. My poor children must someday be shoved into the cruel world as adults having missed out on that important bit of childhood culinary delight. Well, that and Rice Krispy Treats 'cause I can't seem to make those either what with all the stale-like Krispies I somehow create by the time I'm done. What is wrong with me? I think my kids may have been seriously short-changed.

Well, I won't stand for it. I am off to the store to get me some Rice Krispies cereal because it's one thing to screw up a recipe with 9-10 ingredients, but there is no excuse to screw up a recipe with three measly ingredients that any imbecile (well, almost any imbecile) should be able to make for her children...and these Rice Krispie Treats will be REAL. Do you hear that kids? REAL!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I coming over to supervise. We will get this accomplished no matter how old we get... LOL!! Love to all...

Merry Christmas Jones Family..

The Pustka's

scmom (Barbara) said...

No butter. Half Imperial margarine, half Crisco in place of butter (no substitutions).

Dark brown sugar for brown sugar.

My mother makes the best Toll House cookies and they never turn out for me unless I use these exact ingredients.

Keep trying!!

Dave's Mom said...

Devin,

I had the same problem for most of my adult cooking life, until I made a few changes to the recipe, and I tried many different things until I got it right. I use only REAL butter and refrigerate the dough before baking. Then I use a small ice cream scoop to make the balls, then refrigerate the balls again, and bake on parchment paper. Hope it helps.

Devin said...

Now see! That's what I needed, some real tried and true tips. I also read on the Nestle site that you should not use an electric mixer, you should use a spoon and elbow grease. Does your mom do that?
Thanks for helping the pathetically needy. My children will be very grateful.

Devin said...

Thank you Mrs. McClaren! I will add that to my list of changes. I'm so glad to know someone else has had trouble. I'm going to be sure and relay this to my family so they know it's not just me. LOL!

Hope we get to see you again soon. Enjoy Christmas with Dave and Miranda!

Anonymous said...

There are many much more important things than making a little cookie, and you are great at ALL of them. We all need 1 challenge--it keeps us humble... just forget about Toll House Cookies! Granna

Steph said...

Thanks Devin...I read your post and had to go straight to my freezer to get a chocolate chip cookie dough ball to eat (just what I needed!). Yes, in my house we only get the "pre-made stuff" too. But I'm sure my daughter will be pushing for the real deal soon. So you'll have to let me know if the "tricks" work!

Miranda said...

I thought I was the only one who made runny chocolate chip cookies. (Though I haven't tried to make "real" cookies in ages.) Once I made cookies with self-rising flour, plus the salt the recipe called for (with plain flour): a salty chocolate chip cookie is not so great. But, I had a friend who used corn meal instead of flour in hers.
And, I echo Granna's comment, such a lady of wisdom.

MKHKK said...

Alas! Another Cookie Killer! I have met my long lost twin. LOL I hate cookies for this one reason. I blamed it on the altitude or a poor oven that didn't bake correctly. I take pride in my cooking, especially baking. And these dang cookies devastate me over and over. I have gleaned some new tips of the trade to try when my ego recovers from the last attempt. I a have a sugar cookie post for you! LOL.

Andrea said...

I always mess up cookies - even the cookie-dough stuff you can get at the grocery store. SOMETHING always goes wrong. I've just decided that cookie-baking is an art, and my art looks like it was done by a pre-schooler. :) There's a market for that, right?

Next time they ask for "real" cookies, have them "really" make them! You can keep your hands out, that way if the cookies don't come out perfect, you are not directly responsible. :)

Anonymous said...

now i'm sure you've had plenty of suggestions from lots of cooks...
i just googled cookies too flat and found all sorts of hits-here's one

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/320385

come on now-back at it!
jeni

Annikke said...

I can't get my chocolate chip cookies to turn out either! I have tried a million different recipes too. I gave up. :o)

AZMom said...

My chocolate chip cookies always turn out. Try either lowering the heat or not baking them for so long. I cook mine for only 6-7 minutes and they come out perfect!

Good luck and long live Food Network! I love Paula, Rachael (we have every cookbook she ever put out) and Giada!

Just little ol'me said...

It happens to the best of us and this was my year not to make cookies. I've tried 4 different times and all have failed. All the changes everyone else has said are good, sometimes you just have to tweak a recipe. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

don't bother with the Nestle toll house recipe. I've tried modifying that one many times, and could not get it to work. Try the Land'o'lakes recipe. Much easier to make, and they always turn out good for me. Although, you will need a KitchenAid mixer to mix all that flour in. Don't skimp on the flour either. But if I don't use my mixer, my arm feels like it's going to fall off by the time I'm finished mixing :-)

Amanda said...

Mine always look like that too. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.