Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's.....ALIVE!!!!

Damn. I've blogged a post specifically ASKING for recipe requests and only got pity requests from my daughter. Who loves me and knows how fragile my self-esteem is. But when I mention "request" offhandedly, they start pouring in like salt on a slug. My sister-in-law is a regular requester tho, and I suspect she may be compiling a cookbook that she will blindside me with and share none of the billions in profits she'll make from it. Or she just likes delicious food.

Cookies are a grand thing. They are miniature glimpses of heaven, portable rewards for the good things you do in life, like letting someone in traffic, braking for a chipmunk, and opening a door for someone who has their hands full. If you don't do stuff like that, cookies are just a loan against time in heaven....and that corner of purgatory just smells like cookies, but is quite devoid of them. And I would not trust anyone that says they don't like cookies....maybe one or two varieties, but not as a whole - that would be like someone who doesn't like kittens or baby deer or those tiny monkeys that wear diapers and have really big eyes. They might just be the devil...just sayin'.

This is that cookie recipe I got from my husband's family - the one his Grammy scammed off Betty Crocker. I still am not sure how my sister-in-law can make them more thick and lumpy while mine just tend to be flat and chewy, but they taste the same. Which is delicious I tell you...but how can you go wrong with chocolate chip? I'll tell you how, overcook the dang things! So pay ATTENTION and you will be rewarded in this life and the next....after you eat one you will want to RUN out and do nice things for everyone - trust me!

Gramma Meeuwsen's Chocolate Chip Cookies (as stolen from Betty Crocker)

2/3 C. shortening

OK, time to stop for Lesson #1: Son #2 is THE MAN with this recipe, and he recently found out that there are definite differences between using butter flavor and plain shortening. Not just flavor, but texture as well...the butter was a hands-down winner. And when I say "butter flavor shortening", I MEAN shortening - do NOT use butter, it ruins the texture of the cookie.

1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. nuts, coarsely chopped
1-6oz. pkg. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Beat shortening and sugar until pale and fluffy, add egg and vanilla and beat well. Mix in soda and salt, then add flour and beat until incorporated. Throw in nuts and chips and mix until blended, scrape sides and get ready to drop!

Lesson #2: Use aluminum cookie sheets or jelly roll pans. DO NOT use any coated pan, they are too dark and will torch your bottoms! Hahahs....I mean your cooky bottoms. Not your Aunt Cooky....I see where this is going. No, really - if you have only dark pans, buy new ones or cover them with shiny new foil....the dark absorbs more heat and it will not produce good results!

With your shiny pans, you should have a cookie scoop...but if not, use the two spoon method. Y'know, scoop up a rounded teaspoon (the measuring size, not the one you're holding) and use the other spoon to scrape it off on the pan. Leave plenty of room between cookies....you can fit a dozen on a regular size cookie sheet, 15 on a bigger one, or if you're really good (and I am), you can get 20 to 24 on one jelly roll pan. Start slow....I get pretty mad when they spread and stick together.

Bake at 375 for 8 minutes at first...you should check them then and determine if your oven is defective and they are in flames, or is slow and they look like little wet dough puddles. They should be very close at this point, so you want to check every minute after if they aren't quite done.

Lesson #3: "Done" is a state of mind....you have to BECOME the cooky to know for sure. Signs that point to yes? Slight browning, but only around the edge. Tiny bubbles in the tiny cracks across the middle of the cookie. No more shiny spots on top. That is done. If you aren't sure, you can use a METAL spatula and carefully slide it under one, making sure not to disturb the perfect cooky shape. Flip it over in your hand (use a napkin if you're a crybaby about a little molten chocolate) and the bottom should be barely golden....blow on it twice and bite off half, then do a little "shit my mouth is burning but I will not spit out heaven" dance, then eat the other half because it's cool enough now. There is nothing in this WORLD as good as that cooky at that particular moment, and even tho they cool into something a little different, it's something no one should miss.

Remove pan from oven, let stand no longer than 60 seconds so they firm just enough to not fall apart and get those babies on a cooling rack. Or paper towels. Continue until all dough is gone, and half the cookies you just baked are left....warm cookys are an invitation for thievery. As they cool, they solidify a bit more, but if you did it right, they will be chewy enough to bend rather than snap if you try to break one in half. This recipe is VERY chocolatey...you could double it and use the same amount of chips and it would still be wonderful...but why skimp? Chocolate is good for you. And if you happen to have some nice cold milk, take it in your room with those warm cookies, this is a PG rated blog.

One last thing. It occurred to me that Gramma Meeuwsen died before I met her grandson in the 70's, and she was old then. So it is entirely possible that this WAS her recipe, and that snarky Betty Crocker stole it from HER....we may never know until we get past cooky purgatory and meet them in person. Especially if GM is there but BC is notably absent....she's probably "cooking" SOMEwhere.....

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