Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mmmm, Cookies

Last weekend, I attended the annual Cyclone crew BBQ, the last Cyclone crew gathering of the year. Reminiscing with everyone about the past season and discussing plans for next year wraps up the sailing season nicely. The captain provides the location, the gourmet burgers, and a selection of beverages. This year he requested that the attendees bring an appetizer or dessert. I brought THE COOKIES.

Ok, for those who may stumble across this blog and not be familiar with desserts that are commonly popular at events attended by any of my family, I don't mean that I'm the only one who brought cookies. What I mean is I'm the only one who brought THE COOKIES. THE COOKIES have a history. They have a reputation. There is a certain mystery surrounding them. They are desired by many, but they can be elusive and difficult to obtain.

These chocolate chip cookies are no ordinary cookies. Two to two-and-a-half inches in diameter, and nearly a half inch thick, the soft and almost cake-like texture practically melts in your mouth into a melody of scent and flavor. The soft brown chocolate chips matching the light tan cookie's texture are evenly distributed in a nearly perfect cookie to chip ratio. The cookies are neither excessively sweet nor salty. Not only the taste and texture, but the light scent of the component ingredients can carry your soul through time and flood your mind with memories of past celebrations.

When I was a child, my father baked THE COOKIES a few times a year for family events. Typically a single batch of about three dozen cookies stacked neatly on a plate, then covered with aluminum foil, would sit on a table or counter-top teasing and tempting everyone until the end of the main meal. The cookies would vanish quickly once the foil was removed and after they were gone it could be a few months before the opportunity to have another. I suppose that the anticipation enhances and increases the allure. The waiting months for another batch to be made, and then hoping to get one before the rest of the family finishes them off brings about a certain sense of contentment with the successful acquisition. Many people have tried to duplicate these cookies, but very few have succeeded in perfectly replicating the taste, color, and texture. The recipe is no secret. Whenever anyone has asked my father for the recipe he has been willing to share it. However, those few who have succeeded have discovered that the secret is not in the recipe. Follow the recipe to the letter, using the exact same ingredients in the exact same proportions and the results will disappoint you.

A few of my siblings have mastered the recipe. In the past when I've wanted to bring something special to an event that the rest of my family wouldn't be attending, I'd have my father or one of my sisters assist me in baking these cookies. I had tried baking them myself and they never turned out right.

I decided to try making THE COOKIES for the BBQ. Even if I failed to duplicate THE COOKIES, I'd still have some delicious common chocolate chip cookies to bring. I talked to my father and a sister again ahead of time, trying to figure out exactly what it is that I've done wrong in the past. I carefully duplicated every single step I've seen them perform no matter how silly or unnecessary it seemed. When I finished, I had about 26 of THE COOKIES and another 12 chocolate chip cookies. I arranged them stacked on a plate (hiding the 12 less than perfect ones on the bottom), and wrapped them in aluminum foil.

True to form, the cookies were gone before the BBQ was over. People were left wanting more, and someone asked for the recipe. THE COOKIES received many compliments. The next time I attend a Cyclone crew event, I'm nearly certain that some people will be anticipating a chance to have one more.

The recipe? Sure, I'll share. Get yourself a 12 oz. package of "Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels". There is a recipe on the back. Instead of two-and-a-quarter cups of flour, use three-and-a-half cups. Don't use any nuts. The rest of the recipe is the same.

The secret? Now if I told you, it wouldn't be a secret. Would it?