These last few weekends I’ve felt so satisfied. I’ve realized personal goals of mine, and after coming to the realization myself, I shared them with Billy as well. I realized in order to feel fulfilled in my personal life, I want to be able to paint as often as possible, as well as bake two or three times a month.
I had been denying myself these things, because I wanted to make sure my house was clean, and that dinners were perfectly planned. This took up so much of my time during my days off, that when evening came around, I would be too tired to paint or bake. With Billy’s help and my determination, I’ve finally chiseled out some time for myself to do these things.
It had been bothering me for awhile. I was beginning to think I wouldn’t ever find time to do them again on a regular basis. Probably due to inspiration from a class I’m taking, and getting older, realizing life is short (turning 30 next year is really making me think I guess), has really motivated me to make sure I’m expressing the gifts I have been given. The class I’m taking is called Finding Purpose (for designers and artists), just in case you were curious.
Yesterday I painted and baked! I hadn’t even been thinking about baking, but after I was done painting, I thought a chewy cookie would be pretty rad. I looked at the clock, checked on my ingredients, and made it happen. These cookies are my go-to (for the past 6 years). They are hand-mixed, and very quick to make.
The process of making these cookies is kind of philosophical. It’s a form of meditation in a way. I noticed myself getting tense a lot when doing something I love, because I almost feel guilty that I’m enjoying myself. So, I have been consciously slowing down, taking deep breaths, and enjoying the moments when I’m doing something like, for instance, baking. This life change, is really that, a huge life change. Besides my personal story with facing fast-paced culture, I also want to share with you the actual process of making these cookies too. I hope you enjoy. And even if you think I’m a wee bit crazy, at least it can hopefully be a bit entertaining.
So here goes.
I like to mix my cookie dough by hand, especially when it’s for a quick batch that I’m making on a whim. I tried mixing by hand about six years ago, and ever since find it hard to go back to using a mixer. The ingredients are so vibrant, and as you add each item, you can be really in-tune with what each ingredient needs. You can tell if each granule of sugar has been incorporated. You can tell when the egg begins to make the dough shimmer. You can see the baking soda almost give lift to the batter. You can make sure that you’re not over mixing the flour, keeping the tough gluten strands away.
The dough will be light in color as well as texture. When you portion out your dough, it will feel sticky. Don’t compress it too hard into the scooper or spoon, but let it be true to its own form. Putting too much stress on the dough, whether by over mixing, or by compressing when forming the balls, will cause the cookies to be dried out and tough. Go easy on it, and on yourself. Cookie making should feel very natural each step of the way.
I have streamlined this recipe to be a one-bowl job. Also, if you haven’t tried it yet, try out my sifting trick I mentioned in my last post. Reminder— put a little amount of the dry ingredients, at a time, into a small metal sieve over your mixing bowl. Tap the side. This method will make your dry ingredients like powder, and will help them to assimilate very smoothly into the wet ingredients.
Again, remember to not rush it. Just go with the flow, and your cookies will turn out like little clouds of succinct flavor (salty-sweet) with a slightly-resistant texture (chewy!).
Enjoy! Do you have any cookie tricks you’d like to share?
Quick Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, softened
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar, I use organic pure cane
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract, I use organic
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour, I use non-GMO flour
1 cup chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli 70% dark
Preheat oven to 375º F. Line a light-colored cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Cut butter into approximately even chunks or slices. Add it to a large, glass, mixing bowl.
Add in brown sugar. With a metal spoon (I use a soup spoon), mix together butter and sugar until no more butter streaks are visible. Add in granulated sugar, and mix until there are no visible granules. The mixture will seem like a paste.
Add the egg into the butter-sugar mixture. Stir the egg in, starting with smaller swirls, working up to larger swirls. Continue until incorporated. With a rubber spatula, scrape sides of bowl. Mix again until the batter has a slight shimmer to it (about another minute or so).
Add vanilla and salt. Mix, scrape sides of bowl, mix again.
Sift dry ingredients over the wet ingredients. Use a sifter, or place a small amount of dry ingredients into small metal sieve placed over the bowl. Tap the side of sieve. Repeat until all dry ingredients have been added to bowl. With the metal spoon, mix the batter in large strokes. Cut into the middle of the dry-wet mix, and incorporate slowly. It will seem really shaggy at first, but in time it will come together. Cut through the mix, do a circular stroke, and repeat. Do this until the mixture doesn’t have dry ingredients left at the bottom of the bowl. Scrape the bowl.
Add chocolate chips. Cut through the dough with the spoon, and mix around. Repeat 3 or 4 times. Remember to be gentle with the dough.
The dough will be a light color, as well as very tacky/sticky.
With a baker’s scoop (or small icecream scooper), portion out dough on to prepared tray. Don’t pack in dough, but be gentle as you portion it out. Leave about 3-4 inches between each cookie. Bake for about 8-11 minutes. I like to keep my oven light on, so that nearing the end of baking, I can keep a close eye on the cookies to pull them when they’re the right amount of golden-brown. Oven temps always vary, so be vigilant!
Place the remaining batter in fridge while the first batch bakes.
When you remove the tray from the oven, let the cookies sit for one minute, and then remove them to a cooling rack. Cool for 2 hours before placing in an air-tight container, lined with parchment paper. They will keep great at room temperature for two-three days. Enjoy!
I have also done an oatmeal, raisin, chocolate chip version of this cookie. Add 2/3 cup rolled oats, 2/3 cup raisins, and 2/3 chocolate chips. Follow the same directions as above, and add in these ingredients together where it states to add the chocolate chips. Everything else is the same as above.