How Not To Cook: Post 3
I wasn’t joking when I mentioned in a previous post that I am banned from making cookies in my house (I should just say banned from chocolate chip cookies because those are my favorite). I’ve tried recipe after recipe, attempting to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie and thinking the problem was the recipe not me, but it all ends with either one big-thin-mega-pan-sized-cookie or with cookies that are just too crispy and burnt for my taste. Although, there was a time when I thought that I would be guaranteed perfect chocolate chip cookies.
When I scroll through Facebook, I always come across cooking/baking videos, and I had recently discovered the handy feature of “saved videos” that Facebook has. So, of course when I came across a video of the ultimate chocolate chip cookies, I saved the video and knew I had to try it. Sadly, they still weren’t the ultimate cookie for me, but it’s not the recipe’s fault that I curse every batter of cookies I make. Although, recently I remade this recipe after closer examination of the recipe and compared what I did and didn’t do previously.
When I had previously made the batch of cookies (trial one), I mostly paid attention to the video instructions, only using the written instructions to get the measurements. I realized during my second attempt that this had been my first mistake. As I read the instructions, I realized that there were specific instructions on how the flour should be measured. There’s a technique called the “spoon-and-level” method, where you’re supposed to use a spoon to stir the flour then spoon it into the measuring cup. Previously, I had just packed the flour in and completely missed the technique (honestly, I probably would have thought it didn’t matter anyway). Another step that I didn’t think could have made that much of a difference was how the batter was mixed. The recipe suggested just using a whisk instead of an electric mixer, and during my first time making these cookies I still just used the electric mixer. As I was recently making these cookies (trial two), I did notice that it was better mixed and even gave the batter a slightly different texture. Continuing the recipe, I noticed another subtle mistake during trial one, which was the butter. I wasn’t sure how much of a difference it made, but the recipe asked for the butter to be melted, yet cooled at room temperature. I had just dumped the melted butter straight from the microwave into the brown sugar. Maybe I’m not bad at baking, just bad at reading instructions all the way.
One of the last “whoops” that I had made while just mixing the ingredients was putting the eggs in. The instructions said to put one egg in at a time, but during trial one I thought that was dumb and just threw both eggs in at once. Finally, the time came to actually bake the cookies. During trial two, I made sure to closely watch the cookies, and pull them out of the oven when they just began to brown around the edges. Making sure the cookies are pulled out at the right time is essential, it’s the difference between a soft cookie and a hard cookie.Now, at the time all of these differences wouldn’t seem to make that much of a difference, but after tasting trial two, it had made all the difference. After making these cookies again and actually paying attention to detail, I had finally made the perfect cookies. Even after the cookies were a couple days old, they were still soft to eat. No matter how dumb the instructions may be, comparing the results of the same recipe with just simple changes teaches just how important paying attention to detail is. Plus, paying attention to detail is just so much sweeter in the end.