Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's Chemically the Same

That's what my Mom always said after she had concocted something edible that didn't end up looking like it was supposed to. so the dish looks terrible, it's chemically the same---so eat it! This represents the opposite of what she normally says every night before the blessing is said over the amazing dinner she whipped up out of nothing that looked a smelled amazing: "it's not much folks, but it'll just have to do." Decades later she still says the same thing, although the amazement factor is less frequent an event now. Most nights I just want to reach across the table and choke her because I'm so sick and tired of hearing her whine about it all. But I don't and I, the dutiful daughter, gush appropriately over her efforts.

So why do I mention this tidbit of trivia from my kitchen? Cookies. Chocolate chip cookies, to be precise. And not just any chocolate chip cookies, but The Original Toll House Cookies, complete with Nestle's morsels. I've been craving CCC for about a week now, but haven't manged to make them until today. Now I'm a smart girl and a very good baker (it's genetic--got it from my grandpa who was an amazing professional baker). I've also watched the "Good Eats" episode on making CCC many, many times. Despite this knowledge I followed the recipe and used unsalted butter.

As a kid we always used Blue Bonnet margarine, but margarine today bears very little resemblance to the margarine of 25 years ago and frankly, the stuff creeps me out. I'm not an it's gotta be organic, uber healthy food fanatic--not by a long shot. But I find it very hard to believe that all those chemicals and fake stuff in margarine is better for you than straight from the cow butter. I trust the cow. But butter makes for CCC that are thin, crispy, and that spread like the dickens from those nice little mounds of dough you started out with. I did not end up with nice perfectly round cookies that stack up into tins with all the ease and elegance of Martha Stewart. And yes Martha, I did use my 1 Tbsp ice cream scoop so they would be perfect--like yours :-)

I did not, however, use Silpats to prevent sticking. I don't own any since they are a bit pricey and Mom has said no to them every time I've asked about getting some. For what I've spent on parchment paper I could own at least 2 or 3 Silpats by now, but that's another story. It's not MY kitchen. I am not in charge. I followed the recipe which called for ungreased cookie sheets. My very spread out, thin, crispy, gooey chocolate chip cookies did not want to come up nicely off the cookie sheets. I should have sprayed them with PAM. But I did eventually free most of them from their pans and set them out to cool on a tea towel. The most pathetic looking batch of CCC I think I've ever produced. BUT... they're chemically the same.... and they tasted fabulous!

Next time I listen to Alton Brown and substitute shortening for 1/2 the butter and do as Martha does and use SilPats. Good Eats are a Good Thing ;-)


Dana said...

The margarine of today is actually one tiny molecule change away from being PLASTIC. Nasty, huh?

At least your cookies turned out better than my grandfather's fudge... he used Splenda rather than sugar, and it wouldn't "gel"- we had to eat fudge soup with a spoon! LOL!


Diana said...

I figure you just chew 'em up anyway, and as long as they taste okay, who cares?

BTW, I've been watching my mail, and I still don't see my Raspberry Ostrich Plumes scarf. Are you sure you got my address right? :->

Romi said...

I always use butter, but I chill the dough ahead of time, roll it into balls, and cook on a double sheet for about 10-12 minutes. They turn out all gooey in the middle. Mmmmmmmm. :D

MaryCatherine said...

Can't tell you how many times this has happened to me, it's annoying. I always use real butter, in the words of Paula Deen "We all gotta die somehow, might as well be from butter and sugar" Woman after my own heart. So, how's the Fam.?