Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Great Expectations and Bad Luck Chololate Chip Cookies

Expectation kills joy

Three simple words that make so much sense, yet I continually fail to remember the discerning implication behind them. Instead I end up seduced by my own expectations only to be immediately let down by life's inhospitable truths.

I had just survived the fifth of a six night stretch of busy bartending shifts, and was already making plans for my day off. What was on the menu? Well, I had been wanting to take a day trip to the Fairway Supermarket in Red Hook - apparently a foodie haven stocked with fresh produce, organic meats, artisan cheeses, and a vast collection gourmet wares. I also had an overwhelming hankering to jump on my bike and head straight for Brighten Beach where I could soak up some much needed sun and enjoy fresh peaches from one of the Russian markets along Brighten Beach Avenue. ' I don't see why I can't do both,' I naively thought to myself as my practical anticipation swelled voraciously into unrealistic expectation. Did I mention that I also had plans to go see live Samba with some friends that night in Manhattan?

At the end of night six, as I walked the half mile home from the train station in torrential rains, sadly it dawned on me, 'its going to rain on my day off!' The next morning I woke to an even unhappier fate, I was sick. There was to be no beach, no Fairway, and no Samba for me. Instead, with an achy body, I spent the day alone in my hammock (yes I have a hammock in my apartment) watching the rain wreak havoc right out my window.
My bad fortune only increased as the day went on, one of the highlight being slicing my finger while making a turkey sandwich. With my bloody finger cleaned and bandaged I decided to forgo the sandwich; if my luck was going to turn around, I was going to need some hardcore comfort food.

I flipped through some recipe books and settled on Heidi Swanson's Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from her Book Super Natural Cooking. As I readied the ingredients I was taken with a false sense of hope, 'things are looking up' I thought to myself.
Once the dough was ready I scooped it onto the cookie sheets and with juvenile delight tossed them in the oven. Ten minutes and my luck boosting chocolate chip cookies would be ready.

As I cleaned the kitchen I suddenly smelled a familiar smell, and it wasn't pleasant. I raced to the stove.

I couldn't believe it! They had only been in the oven for five of the ten minutes, what did I do wrong? I went over all the steps in my head and only realized what went wrong when I glanced down at the stove.
OMG, I broiled the cookies!
I could have let this discourage me. I could have taken it as a sign that my luck was not going to improve but instead I took it as a sign that I should never again place such high expectation on a day off. I still had one more batch, I would give it one last try and be happy, whatever the results.
The final batch came out perfect and as I swung in my hammock devouring the wonderfully gooey morsels I thought about those three words. Is it true that in order experience joy we must first discard any existing expectations? It seemed like foolish solution. Yes, it is true that my lofty plans had made it nearly impossible for me to enjoy a modest day of relaxation that otherwise might have been heavenly. Then again, if i had not been disappointed with my day I would not have thought to make cookies.
Perhaps we should allow ourselves expectations only, keep in mind that having high hopes does not ensure a desired result. Perhaps that is what makes life, and Chocolate Chip Cookies, so exciting.

nice when you can smell chocolate chip cookies, and they are not coming from someone else's apartment.

Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups - whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup - Mesquite flour (I used another cup of whole-wheat)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of aluminum free baking powder
1 cup of unsalted butter at room temp
2 cups of cane sugar (I used 1 1/2)
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
2 cups of rolled oats
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in sugar, then add eggs one at a time.
  5. Stir in Vanilla then add the dry ingredients in three batches.
  6. By hand mix in oats and chocolate chips.
  7. Drop 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie onto the baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake, not broil, them for about ten minutes or until light brown.

1 comment:

Vivian said...

Reading this post and looking at the burnt cookies brings back fond memories, yes even of the burnt chocolate chip cookies.Cooking and baking is like a balancing act sometimes one little thing like the oven on broil and your smoke alarm is screaming.Al's well that end's well with cookies in your hammock on a rainy day.