Up until fairly recently, Hubs would often joke that I have a knack for making biscuits that resemble cookies and cookies that look (and taste) like biscuits. He was right. I don't know what I was doing wrong, but no matter what recipe I tried or how meticulously I followed it, my cookies would just never turn out. I believe now that what I really needed all those years was my little old-fashion cottage kitchen to spark in me the determination to make the perfect cookie - even if it was the last thing I ever managed to do.
I have to admit that I didn't really *love* or feel attached to my almost renovated cottage kitchen until this past April when I began to do more cooking and baking. It had nothing to do with expensive appliance upgrades and state of the art cooking gadgets (I have neither, anyway) but I think it had more to do with finally feeling "at home" in the new space after getting thoroughly acquainted with it. With the two of us working happily and frequently together (the kitchen and I), we have become like old friends who feel confident that when we tackle a recipe, especially a cookie recipe, we will succeed...or at least get better with each attempt. Individually, people and old kitchens are imperfect and need work (and sometimes must be accepted "as is") , but my goodness, as a team - is there anything that they can't accomplish? Nevermind my fine lines and foibles - nevermind her unlevel floor and imperfectly installed countertop...when we're working together, those things are put out of mind and our focus is on creating something delicious and from our hearts!
So during these last few months, my dear old kitchen and I have set off to try our best at baking and in the process, have discovered some really great recipes. Out of all the ones I may share with you in the future, you have to know that I really and truly mean it when I say that you absolutely, positively, must try the "Best Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe at least once in your lifetime, but preferably every week - if not more. I have tried so many chocolate chip cookie recipes and while most of them were tasty, they just weren't what I personally was looking for in a chocolate chip cookie (the old "it's not you, it's me" explanation). I like a good old-fashion chocolate chip cookie that is hearty, chunky, chewy, soft, and moist - and stays that way even the day after baking (there will be none left by the third day, just so you know). I've been on the search for this cookie for 15 years, and I'm happy to report that I've finally found it. Your personal chocolate chip cookie preference may be different but if not, do try this recipe and let me know what you think! Most of the 1500+ reviews were positive and the few that weren't, well, I believe those folks just have a different cookie style:)
Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 teaspoons hot water
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
* 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
My personal notes:
I don't have one of those handy cookie scoops to ensure that each of my cookies are the same size, so I used two level tablespoons of dough, rolled up into a loose ball, for each cookie. They come out a perfect size and just the right thickness!
I baked my cookies for exactly 11 minutes and they were perfect. Try a test cookie for 10 minutes first and let cool, and see if you might like it even better.
After removing them from the oven, I let my cookies stand for just a few minutes until they were firm enough to transfer to a wire cooling rack. I let them cool completely and then stored them in an airtight plastic container. I layered them between sheets of wax paper just in case they tried to stick together!
Today, I was pondering the fact that I've got a few little growing collections of items that I didn't consciously realize I was collecting! I guess they are just little things that I always gravitate towards at thrift stores or yard sales without thinking "Oh, I'll add this to my collection!"
I've discovered that I happen to have an affinity for carved wooden trivets. I like the various sizes you can find and the intricate details on most of them. What I've found that I like to do is paint them, of course! I've already painted two of the five that I own and I'm pleased with how they turned out. I painted a white basecoat using spray paint, and then a few coats of red spray paint. After sanding and distressing the trivets to reveal the white undercoat here and there, I wiped them down with a dark tinted paste wax and then buffed, buffed, buffed.
I've never actually used the painted trivets as I'm afraid a hot pot would damage the finish, but I do like the way the trivets look as decorative accents. I've put the two red ones in my kitchen island and think they look sweet and dainty tucked in between the ironstone china. I'm sure they are feeling much too pretty now to be bearing up the load of a hefty old pot, anyway. "Let the practical potholders have that job!", they say:)