A Crisis Averted

Remember when I was pity-partying over my lack of chocolate chip cookie skills? My sister-in-law just shut it down with a life-saving recipe.

Okay, that’s a tad dramatic, but having a good cookie recipe up your sleeve is pretty much crucial for things like making friends, impressing co-workers, or surviving the winter. 

When I told my husband his sister sent me a recipe to try, his eyes widened with excitement and his voice took on a reverent hush: “Nina is a great baker!”

Fall has arrived in our neck of the woods, bringing with it the blustery wind I hate and the blushing leaves I love. With football on TV, it just felt like a cookie day. Armed with the recipe my sister swears by, annotated with her own tips, I took a deep breath and opened my heart to the chance I could make a perfect chocolate chip cookie after all.

I was not disappointed. If you are struggling to find the *perfect* recipe (and if your definition of perfect is golden outside, fluffy, chewy, not-cakey inside), let Smitten Kitchen rock your world.

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This guy is so happy to become my delicious dream-come-true!

The most reassuring bit of advice from Nina: The cookies will still look gooey when you take them out at 11 minutes, but they cook more on the sheet. Also, if — like me — you are in a rental with a standard, inexpensive oven, don’t beat yourself up if they don’t come out perfect every time. It’s the oven’s fault!

Thank you, thank you, to my lovely sister — and to Smitten Kitchen, the source of this great recipe. My husband has already eaten about half the batch.

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A Crisis

The other day, all I wanted was a chocolate chip cookie. It was 8:30pm and I was already in my pre-bedtime sweats (the transition between work clothes and PJs), and it was raining, so there was no way I was running to the store for ingredients.

Also, I can’t bake chocolate chip cookies to save my life.

Once upon a time, I used to be pretty awesome at cookies. Specifically chocolate chip cookies. Obviously, the store bought dough was amazing and easy, but making them from scratch was delicious.

I don’t know what recipe I used, because I’ve tried DOZENS recently and none turn out *perfectly*.

Side note: “cookie perfection” to me is fluffy, golden on the edges and the bottom, soft (but not gooey/doughy) in the middle, with nice fat chunks of melted chocolate in each bite.

All my cookies are flat and harden right away. Or they’ll stay overly fat and have a scone-like texture. I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is I’m doing wrong. I’ve looked up tips and tweaked things and followed recipe after recipe promising the perfect cookie and assuring me that if I use more of this or less of that, my cookies won’t flatten out like squished bubble gum on the pavement.

And, horror of horrors, this undeserved curse has extended to store-bought, pre-made cookie dough. I have literally one job with them, and I can’t even pull it off.

My one saving grace is my shortbread cookies are freaking fantastic. My Lavender Earl Grey Cookies were a colossal hit last Thanksgiving, even if my uber-gourmet-attempt at savory Chocolate Thyme Cookies were, um, less so. As my mother-in-law put it: “hm. I’ll just stick with the other one.” Of course, my cousin’s kid ate the crap outta those nasty cookies, so I’ll still pat myself on the back for appealing to the finer palates (okay, so maybe the fact that he usually doesn’t get to eat all that sugar/butter/chocolate helped him ignore the bite of the thyme).

Still, there is a time and place for sophisticated, herbal tea cookies, and the rest of the time belongs to the all-American classic: chocolate chip. As I’ve said, I’m obsessed with Pinterest and have an entire board dedicated to finding the perfect recipe for myself. With the holidays fast approaching, I am sure to share any successes (and all my failures) with you, and in the meantime, feel free to pass along your own tried and true recipes!