I had never made cookies before. Madeleines in the past, but never cookies. You know the cookies that hold a sort of sensibility that define Americana in all its star-spangled glory. With no mixing gadgets in the kitchen I researched the possibilities of baking cookies without the aid of a robot. To my delight, I quickly learned that a batter that is hand mixed created a better cookie.The incongruous interruptions of a hand that mixes prepare a spontaneity that contributes to ideal cookie texture. This texture is soft, chewy and ultimately multifarious in its surface area.
While creating my very first batch, I skimmed through a few recipes to get a grasp on cookie basics. After attaining a snapshot of the process I experimented in the kitchen. My first batch turned out more reminiscent of the Petite Fours my mother used to bake when I was a child. They were buttery, moist and generally a successful first attempt but they were not the American cookie that I was looking for. As a side note, I did add more sea salt than what was called for; pepper, Turkish coffee grounds and almonds. The mistake which turned into a major advantage for this batch was the egg. I initially had mixed the batter, spooned it into lumps and whacked it in the oven for almost a minute before I saw that I had completely forgotten to include the egg. Panicking, I took the trays out of the oven and let them cool. I then added the egg, remixed the batter and recreated the arrangements of lumps that had previously been eggless. The heat of a minute in the oven caused all the chips to melt, creating a chocolate cookie batter as opposed to chip. What I particularly enjoyed about this batch was that they simply tasted better after a few days. Baked for a 4th of July picnic that was cancelled due to rain, they managed to last a little longer than scheduled, granting me the luxury to wax eloquent about their profile.
Bringing treats to staff meetings is a tradition we have in our office and I took the opportunity to rectify my initial cookie recipe. This time I used more eggs than butter, ensuring that everything was mixed in the batter prior to baking. All the other ingredients more or less remained the same, but the chips did not melt thankfully and so I was blessed with chocolate chips that were nestled in the batter. Unfortunately, a minute more in the oven than prescribed and my cookies were almost burned. Fortunately they remained soft. A colleague in the office said they reminded him of biscuits. Perhaps this was a result of excess sea salt, pepper and maybe even more baking soda than needed? Regardless, I marketed them as Chocolate Chip Biscuits and somehow, with that sort of name, I managed to appreciate these cookies more than I thought I would have in the first place.