Cookie Party: Volume 1

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Cookie Party was conceived long ago, as part of a blog I no longer write for. Though that blog may be in eternal hiatus, me fooling around with cookie recipes is still going strong. I'd like to keep up the Cookie Party experiment, but before I plunge into new entries, I'll bring over the old ones. This first entry was originally posted on August 15, 2008. And wow, pretty much all of what I described is no longer applicable. The apartment? Don't live there anymore. The coworkers? Don't work with them anymore. The boyfriend? Don't date him anymore. Chocolate chip cookies never fall out of fashion, though - I actually made an arrangement last night to bake a batch for a friend's birthday. So, please to enjoy the first Cookie Party...FROM THE PAST:


Sometimes, my brain will take a bunch of lonely little ideas and merge them into one SuperDuperMega idea. A month or two ago, I thought to myself that I've fallen out of the habit of trying to cook more, which is an activity I find very soothing. I wasn't overly concerned; I've been swamped with training for my new job (new duties at the same lab), and my body clock is totally screwed up. Hopefully, that will settle soon, and I'll be able to keep a more regular schedule. Big meals may be out of the picture for a while, but at least I can do a little baking here and there. And that's when the little ideas started to coalesce. I want to do some baking. LabRat has a serious sweet-tooth. Making lists brings me joy. I thought it might be fun to devise a sort of cookie experiment. It had to be cookies. After all, there's only so many changes you can make to key lime pie. No matter what you do, it's going to taste like key lime pie. But cookies! The possibilities are endless. So I came up with the idea to try several different kinds of cookies. And it wouldn't just be the recipes that differ. My idea is to make cookies from wildly different sources. From the oldest cookbook I can find to a recipe written yesterday. From decadent to health-conscious. From simple to complicated. From everyday to holiday. I'm seeking out favorite cookies from friends, family, and maybe even the occasional stranger.

So, I jumped right in. I named this entry Cookie Party after the fictional game show on Sarah Silverman's show. I haven't seen more than one episode, but there's something intriguing about a game show in which people do nothing but bake cookies, and is hosted by a stubbly drag queen. I think I'd actually watch that. Naturally, I had to start with something easy and simple. Something relatable. The cookie to which all other cookies aspire. The Alpha and Omega of cookies.

Chocolate Chip
The End-All, Be-All Cookie

The Scene:

Several positions were filled in the lab I'm moving to, and I was the last person to get trained. When the previous guys finished their training, they brought in donuts. Wasn't that a sweet gesture? So of course, my first thought was how I was going to pound those punks into the ground in the sweet gesture arena by bringing in something homemade. That'll teach 'em to do something nice! Making chocolate chip cookies has a very American feel to it, so it's only appropriate that the Summer Olympics are on in the background as I mix. I haven't felt very patriotic of late, but watching an American make Olympic history while I make the quintessential American cookie does more for my patriotism than any act of government has in a long time. Say...eight years? After LabRat extracts a promise that I'll set aside some cookies for him, he stretches out on my couch and snoozes the evening away. Although the bag of chocolate chips has a recipe printed on the back, I use the one out of my trusty spiral notebook from high school Food and Nutrition. Oh, yeah. I took a Home Economics course and Typing as my practical arts. And if that's not gay enough, toss in a couple of school plays for good measure.

The Ingredients:


Nothing surprising or exotic, as befits the All-American cookie. Flour. Chocolate chips. Baking soda. Vanilla. Salt. Butter. Eggs. Sugar. Brown sugar. It is not recommended that you bake the newt or the picture of Danger's boobs into the cookies, unless you're some kind of Macbethian witch. In keeping with the All-American theme, my particular blend of ingredients is very melting pot. The baking soda and half the butter was the lowest-priced generic I could get from the ghetto supermarket up the street. The other half of the butter, the salt, eggs, sugar, chocolate, and flour were all name brands. The brown sugar is organic. And the vanilla is some high-end stuff. I think the beans were picked by Peruvian virgins or something.

The Preparation:

Thankfully, I won't be needing a rolling pin, wax paper, cookie cutters, or any other equipment tonight. My kitchen is not terribly extensive. In fact, I only have one mixing bowl, so when the recipe calls for me to mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, I take to using a large skillet.


There are other wrinkles as well. The butter should be softened, but I don't have time to leave it out at room temperature, so I pop it into the microwave. I'm sure "melted" will substitute for "softened" nicely. Some flour foofs onto my shirt, making it look like I've been freebasing cocaine. When I measure out the salt, a little spills onto the counter, so I'm forced to take a pinch and throw it over my left shoulder onto the floor. The brown sugar is not the freshest thing in the apartment, and has hardened into tough little boulders. I set the bag in the sink and pound at it loudly to break up the clumps. A grumpy protest emanates from my couch, and LabRat pads through to go snooze on my bed. I manage to get the brown sugar into more of a powder, but still deem it wise to measure it out over the sink, which turns out to be a good idea, as it flies out irregularly, covering the sink in little sugar pebbles. Once everything is mixed, it's a simple matter to drop rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets. There is still a little dough left when the cookie sheets are filled and popped into the oven. Is anyone looking? No? Then raw egg be damned! I happily chow on the remainder of the dough, and since I've shown no signs of salmonella since, I think I'm in the clear.


I make sure that the cookies don't burn, and I'm very pleased with the results. The aftermath isn't too terrible, either. I get peeved at recipes that pride themselves on being simple, yet require every dish in the kitchen. I don't have a behind-the-scenes staff to clean up after me. My dishwasher is two hands, some detergent, and a sponge. But all these cookies take is a couple of cookie sheets, a couple of bowls, and some measuring utensils. The final product was well worth it.


The Reception:

After packing up half a dozen cookies for LabRat, I put the rest in a Tupperware container and took it to work the next day, getting lascivious looks from the other passengers on the train. Back off, vultures! As for the cookies themselves... Mission accomplished! My new coworkers all enjoyed them heartily. So much so that I only got one. And here I was, worried I'd have to lug a bunch back home. They didn't last through lunch. I haven't even started work proper, and I'm now the baker of the group. If they're this impressed with plain old chocolate chip cookies, wait until I get to the more complicated ones. I'll be king of the lab.