Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cookies!

I love to bake.  I don’t do it nearly as often as I would like to because I am not a fan of the clean up or stuffing my face full of cookies.  So I save my baking joys for events or moments when I really need something sweet.


What I have found alarming is how people react to my baking.  I can’t post on my personal face book when I am baking anymore because my friends go crazy.  I think my cookies are good, but typical and nothing out of the ordinary.  The only adjustments I really make are swapping out butter in favor of shortening (I know so unhealthy) and replacing milk with soy (I am lactose intolerant so its not practical for me to have milk around).  I guess nothing really beats home made cookies from scratch.  I would like to eventually make allergen free cookies with thefancy flour all those Gluten Free Vegans use, but its expensive and I don’t have the patience for cleaning up after baking experiments right now.

So people get a little wild and start asking for cookies.  I am very stubborn when it comes to my baking.  Just like I am with most of the things I do for people, I do not like to bake when asked to.  I like to surprise people and if I did take baking requests the action of baking would not be as fun for me.  It turns it into work because I am no longer baking out of random enjoyment.  I am also afraid if I start taking requests there will be a snowball affect.  If I make peanut butter cookies for Kristy, why am I not making snicker doodles for Emily?  That kind of thing.  The way people get so emotional about my baking I can’t fathom that not happening since it already does with me not taking requests.

I am also very picky with which cookies I make.  As much as I love eating sugar cookies, I don’t like making them.  I find the batter a pain to work with and much to much effort for so few cookies.  I usually make peanut butter cookies, gingerbread, red velvet or (my favorite) snicker doodles.  I like these because not only as they easy and enjoyable to make, but if I bring them to an event there is a very small chance of a repeat item.

One type of cookie I really don’t make is the traditional American chocolate chip cookie.  I have been told my lack of baking these makes me less American.  I prefer to bake cookies that are not typical.  I also do not really like eating chocolate chip cookies.  I don’t find them fun to make either.  I also have yet to find a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I like.

I was invited to a surprise party for a good friends birthday this weekend.  One of the first things I asked was “should I bring anything?”  Which I answered for myself before I could get a response, chocolate chip cookies.  The guest of honor has requested chocolate chip cookies from me several times and because I am super stubborn about baking requests they have all been denied (except for vanilla chocolate chip pudding cookies on New Years).  This is the perfect time to make the cookies for this person.  So off I went looking for a good cookie recipe.

When I research classic recipes I tend to look at the history of the recipe.  I did this with the red velvet cupcakes of 2009.  If you look into the history of red velvet cake it’s a very complicated and interesting one.

Turns out chocolate chip cookies were created by accident in the early 1930’s by Ruth Graves Wakefield.  While making chocolate cookies at the Toll House Inn in Whitman Massachusetts she ran out of bakers chocolate and chopped up a semi-sweet chocolate bar thinking it would melt into the batter as a substitute.  What resulted was the chocolate chip cookie, originally called Toll House Crunch Cookies when the recipe first ran in a Boston newspaper.  Ruth then sold the recipe to Nestle in exchange for a life time supply of chocolate chips (that is some great deal for a baker).  To this day every bag of Nestle chocolate chips has her original recipe on the back for “Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

On July 9, 1997 the chocolate chip cookies was designated the Official State Cookie of Massachusetts to honor the creation of the classic cookie.

Its hard to believe this classic cookie has only been around since the 1930’s.  This lead me into the history of cookies in general.  The very first record of cookies were actually test cakes.  Bakers would bake a small amount of batter to test the oven temperature.  But the earliest cookie now cookie cake dates back to Persia (Iran) in 7th Century AD.  Cakes and pastries were well known in Persia as they were one of the very first countries to cultivate sugar.

Some popular cookie history:
Animal Crackers/Cookies were created in 1902 and originally just called Animals.  Also an American cookie.

Biscotti’s creation is credited to the city Prato in 13th century Tuscany.  They were popular with sailors because the wafer cookie draws out moisture and is resistant to mold making it suitable for long journeys.  Christopher Columbus ate them on his journey to America in the 15th century.

Brownies!  The first published brownie recipe was in a Sears, Roebuck catalog in 1897, but the origin of the brownie is unknown and was most likely created by mistake.

Check out this site for some more fun history on cookies.  I found the snicker doodle and fortune cookies interesting. http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/CookieHistory.htm

After reading all about the history of the chocolate chip cookie I decided to stick with the original.  Below is a link to the Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  When I swapped the butter for shortening I did skip adding the teaspoon of water.  It made the cookies come out drier then normal.  I also had a little issue with my timer where it decided to poop out in the middle of timing.  Everyone enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies and I admit I think they liked them a lot better then my other cookie recipes.  I am considering making them more often now.

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Sources:
Wikipedia: Chocolate Chip Cookie
Choc-Chip-Cookie-Recipe.com
What's Cooking America: Cookie History

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