“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ” ―
I was around seven or eight years old when Mom bought a set of cookbooks that opened the door for me to the world of baking. Back then, we only had the small oven you put on top of the stove. Despite how tiny it was, Mom was able to make some treats from the recipes in the cookbooks come to life.
Feeling nostalgic, I decided to re-create the very first cookies I tried making–candy-coated chocolate chip cookies–with a few twists to the original recipe. To help me was with my super nice (and super pretty!) colleague, Zammy.
Now armed with an electric mixer, we started to cream 1 cup light brown sugar (packed), 1/4 cup granulated white sugar and 1 cup salted butter for a couple of minutes. We stopped when the mixture was light and fluffy already. I bet I took so much longer when I was a kid, but these days, two to three minutes should be good enough, depending on how soft the butter is when I start.
Yes, we used salted butter. You see, I always use salted butter for cookies because I feel like the additional salt in the butter helps bring more life to the taste of the cookies. Also, I am not sure if it’s just my imagination, but I have a feeling salted butter makes the edges of the cookies taste more yummy. It kinda teases one into devouring the whole piece quickly and get another one.
Once the butter and sugars were creamed together, we added one large egg and 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I always use the dark vanilla extract but the clear kind should be fine. A few more minutes with the electric mixer should do it.
When I was a kid, I used to be frustrated when the eggs took so long to be combined with the butter mixture. It was worse when I used to make muffins or banana bread.
To a sifter, we put in 1.75 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 0.5 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt (just to be fancy). Regular salt should be fine though.
I always make it a point to sift the baking soda with the flour because that baking soda is such a traitor! Sometimes, it won’t mix well with the batter or the dough. When it clumps together, no matter how long you bake you cookies or cakes, they will remain clumped. The worst part is when you unluckily bite into clumped baking soda, it tastes like soap. I was victimized for a number of times when I was a kid and it was awful!
Zammy mixed the dry ingredients to the wet one just until they were all combined. Over mixing causes the cookie to be tough and we didn’t want that. After all, we still added 1 cup of sliced almonds and 1 cup of colorful, candy-coated chocolate chips that we had to mix to distribute evenly throughout the dough.
Using a small OXO scoop, I scooped little mounds of dough on my cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Zammy placed additional chocolate candies on top of the scooped dough for added pop of color. She was having a lot of fun with the candies!
Then, we placed the first tray in the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes while we pre-heated my oven to 375°F.
The recipe made 4 dozen cookies. We placed each tray in the fridge to chill for a bit before baking. I find that it helped them not to spread too much in the oven when they bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
They’re just like the cookies I baked as a kid. These time, though, they had none of crazy shapes that I used to get as a kid because I only used teaspoons to drop the dough on the cookies sheets back then. Even if they had irregular shapes back then, I felt proud of them. I’ve learned so much already since then.
It’s funny how kids are in a hurry to grow up and adults sometimes find themselves wanting to go back to being a kid. It always is best to live in the moment, I guess.