Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I Feel a Great Disturbance in the Force . . .

Ego is a powerful motivator. Normal, simple statements of fact, when given an ego wash, become exercises in hyperbole. But still, I consider myself a fairly honest person, so in my eyes, when I mean I make some pretty damn good cookies, it comes out that I make the Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Western Hemisphere.

That's a tall order to live up to, let me tell you.

So you might have divined that I'm dating someone right now (subtle hints like the layer of dust and clouds of moths around this corner of cyberspace), and she invited me over for dinner last night. "Of course!" I said, looking forward to a quiet evening with her. "What would you like me to bring?" I asked, expecting a wine request.

"I keep hearing about those cookies - I want some of those," she said. (Okay, actually, I offered to bring them, but the story sounds so much better this way - like I said, honesty).

So Monday evening, I crept down to the basement and unearthed The Recipe. I dug out the Golden Bowl. I gathered the ingredients. I put on my apron. Yep - Brian was getting his bake on.

I sifted the flour, mixed the dough and folded in the chocolate chips. The oven? Preheated. I put the parchment down on the cookie sheet (no amateur here, kids), applied the dough with my special Cookie-only ice cream scoop, and sat down on the couch, dreaming of the sheer appreciation in her eyes.

The first sign of trouble was the smoke alarm going off.

Smoke seeped from the open oven door, and there was a mess of burned chocolate chips all over the parchment paper.

Now, I've been baking cookies since I was about eight. My father and I used to do this a lot. He showed me the basics, and I've developed a few tricks and wrinkles along the way. But I've never, never, never, never burned a cookie. Until now.

The appreciative look in her eyes turned to scorn. I started sweating. What the hell was happening?

I put the second round out on the cookie sheets and cut the time by a minute. And still they burned. Tragic. What could I do?

Baking relaxes me; it's easy - I think while I do this, my hands know the motions, so it's a simple activity for me. And yet, here was a black, bubbling mess - a chocolate chip holocaust.

No longer can I claim the Greatest Cookies Ever. No longer can I brag about my baking acumen. But, more importantly, what the hell was I going to do about tomorrow? A bag of Oreos? No. Store-bought chocolate chip cookies? Never!

I went with a nice cheesecake, and a healthy helping of humble pie. My tinkering with my recipe finally blew up in my face - at a most inopportune time. It's back to basics - and hopefully appreciative looks (as well as no scraping black chocolate residue off my cookie sheets).

In any case, it was a lovely evening. Even if my ego took a little slap-down.


Farrell said...

When I first started reading this post, I was going to ask you to deliver some cookies to me. But not now. Was the cheesecake homemade? Can you make carrot cake? It's my favorite.
Picturing you in an apron provided me with a whole other side to your personality. After sitting next to you for 3+ years, I really thought I had you pegged. I guess it just goes to show that people never cease to amaze...
Also, about this dating...more details please!

Tooloftheman said...

Actually, the part Brian forgot to mention was that he was ONLY wearing an apron...


Gordon said...


If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times - gunpowder is NOT a good ingredient for cookies...

Your culinary pal,

She Dances in Dragon said...

Belated offerings here... So you made these cookies at her house? Which would mean you used her cookie sheet and oven. If so, then her oven runs too hot, or her cookie sheets are of a different material than you're used to. I'd bet on the oven temp being off.
I'll trade you some of my chocolate covered espresso cookies for some of your chocolate chip ones. :)