I feel like Arthur Conan Doyle or Emily Bronte right now. I’m sitting at my desk wrapped in a blanket because my heating doesn’t work (yet when I asked my host dad, he just shrugged and said “oh yes. it only works sometimes, don’t worry.”), drinking earl grey tea, writing a piece of critical literary importance and listening to the monstrous provencal winds (affectionately dubbed ‘the Mistral’) whipping up the trees outside my window. The only difference between them and me is that I’m pretty sure they didn’t have chocolate chip cookies. Poor bastards.
Let’s start at the beginning. “It was a dark and stormy night…”
Just kidding! It actually starts on a relatively sunny afternoon in the south of France…somehow that sentence just doesn’t have the same “oopmf.”
Anyway. Yesterday I tried to do something nice and ended up being semi- thwarted by diabetes.
My host sister was passing the BAC (sort of like a the SATs but harder and french) and her favorite dessert was cookies, so obviously I decided to make them for her. In France “cookies” only means one thing: chocolate chip. It would be considered blasphemy here to add oatmeal, nuts or god forbid RAISINS to the classic “cookie.” So I decided to Keep It Simple Stupid (holla Mr. Finswaith 7th grade!!).
To prepare I made another trip to the tiny epicerie near my bus stop and bought the exact same ingredients as last week: sugar, chocolate, and butter. And also wine, but that was for a totally unrelated project.
However, halfway home I remembered that my host dad Patrick was diabetic. Gr. I realized it was time to tackle my nemesis: the mysterious fake sugar liquid.
DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNN!
It’s a lot more intimidating than it looks, okay?
Here’s a few things about chocolate chip cookies:
1. Literally everybody loves them
2. You can make them for any occasion, and should.
4. Brown sugar is important! (I didn’t have it, but used sucre de canne (brown sugar) and it worked out pretty okay! Use it with white sugar for a richer taste and chewier texture.
5. ALWAYS chill the dough before baking. Preferably overnight but a few hours is good too. And cover the dough with plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge or it will absorb other narsty fridge smells like last night’s pizza!
Get it, got it good. No more excuses for bad chocolate chip cookies ever again.
I ended up making two versions of the chocolate chip cookies: one with real sugar and one with fake. I’ll let you guess which is which.
Yep. The weird unappealing-looking ones were imposter mystery sugar liquid. The first time I made the fake sugar dough I thought I had messed up because it ended up looking like and feeling like playdough, so I threw it out and did a do-over. BUT IT WAS THE SAME THE SECOND TIME!
This story has a happy ending, however. My host dad was ecstatic when he saw I had made these weird little cookie/brick halfbreeds for him, and I got several bisous and even a hug! Which is hardly ever done in France. Except when someone dies or, apparently, makes sugar-free cookies. Then even tasted okay! In a weird, bread-y way. At least they had chocolate.
The real cookies were delicious: Crispy and light (as french cookies don’t use baking soda), they were so delicious my host mom made me take the majority of them to my center so she wouldn’t eat them.
Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (or so the recipe says…if you want the REAL best chocolate chip cookies in the world and dont mind investing in several different types of flour here it is. DAYUM they are good.) http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/11/leites-connusmate-chocolate-chip-cookie/
Preparation Time: about 25 minutes
Cooking Time: about 15 minutes per baking tray
Refrigeration Time: at least 1 hour
Ingredients: (about 50 cookies)
5 oz. Granulated Sugar
7 oz. Brown Sugar
7 oz. Butter
3 cups Flour (sifted)
11 oz. Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate (or your favorite high-quality dark chocolate)
Pinch of Salt
1 tbsp. Yeast (this means baking powder)
1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
How to Make It:
1. In a bowl, whisk eggs, progressively add sugar, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. Keep whisking until batter is smooth but frothy.
2. Mix flour and yeast.
3. Melt butter.
4. Slowly add, alternatively, butter and flour to batter, stirring with wooden spoon. Keep stirring until homogenous.
5. Break chocolate into pieces, and carefully stir into batter, trying to get the chocolate as evenly distributed as possible.
6. Put batter in refrigerator for 1 hour, or more. Preheat oven to 350°F.
7. Butter a baking tray, make small balls with batter (use a teaspoon for help), and place them on baking tray. Make sure that you leave enough space in between cookies.
8. Bake for 12-20 minutes (depending on how mushy or browned you want them) at 350°F.
p.s. Here is a picture of Asky looking sad because he wasn’t allowed to be in the kitchen with me while I was baking.