How Cookies Beat The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I'm really starting to understand what Arthur Dent meant when he said, "I seem to be having this tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle. As soon as I reach some kind of definite policy about what is my kind of music and my kind of restaurant and my kind of overdraft, people start blowing up my kind of planet and throwing me out of their kind of spaceships!" Today, was one of those days where everything seemed to blow up around me, and my emotions reacted in very irrational and disproportionate ways. (Let's just say I'm not a very pretty crier.) Sometimes, things pile up, molehills become mountains, and you eventually feel like the meltdown at the nuclear reactor is imminent. It's inevitable really, especially when we feel the constant need to hide what bothers us. So, what do I do my emotions threaten to go Chernobyl. I bake. This recipe made the end of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day end on the highest of notes.

Now, let me make sure the record is perfectly straight here. I hate baking. I'm not a fan of the how exact the science of baking is. Actually, no. It's the math. The math kills me. Alter one ingredient, and the math goes haywire. Creating baking recipes from scratch is a process that requires a great deal of time, concentration, and precise attention to detail. My attention span just can't handle it. Yet, baking and customizing tested recipes is extremely therapeutic when I need to take my mind off the frustration of dealing with the constant bombardment of strong personalities that I work with every day. It focuses my attention on processes and procedures that can't be ignored, or your taste buds will pay. And at the end of the day, that gooey disc of goodness turns any frown upside down.

For this recipe, I enjoy adding a little extra flavor by tossing the chocolate chips in a little balsamic and vanilla. 

I discovered a few years ago that I could make my own brown sugar when Charisma informed me very last minute that she needed cookies for a club potluck. I was fresh out of brown sugar and had no intentions of going to the store in my pajamas at one in the morning. Luckily, I had a jar of molasses that was sitting in my cupboard after the great gingerbread fiasco of 2012 that I had no idea what do with. 

There's a huge debate between sifting and not sifting. I like to sift together dry ingredients because I think that it helps distribute those ingredients more evenly. But really, it's your call.

The creaming method (meaning beating together fat and sugar until creamy) works really well for cookies because it helps incorporate more air into your dough for leavening and there's less chance of over mixing producing a tender, cake-like cookie instead of a tough dry disc that no amount of milk will ever save.

Resist the impulse to just dump the flour into the bowl and start beating away. This can cause you to over mix just to incorporate everything. Instead, work in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the flour mixture at a time. It seems counterintuitive, but it actually shortens mixing time.

I like to use a 1 oz disher to portion out my cookies. This way they all come out about the same size.

Since this recipe uses less salt, there won't be a lot of spread. So, if you want rounder, flatter cookies, I recommend giving them a little press before popping in the oven. You want to bake until the edges are just getting a golden crisp. In my oven, these bake up in 8 and a 1/2 minutes, but I've seen ovens that take 10 minutes.

Balsamic Chocolate Chip Cookies
You Will Need:

2 1/4 c (270g) All-purpose flour
1 tsp (2.8g) salt
1 tsp (8g) baking soda
2 tbsp (15g) cocoa powder
1 C (226g) butter, softened
1 1/2 C (297g) granulated sugar, divided
1 tbsp (22g) molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
2 tsp balsamic vinegar, divided
2 large eggs
2 C (340g) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Toss chocolate chips with 1 tsp each balsamic vinegar and vanilla. Set aside.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder in small bowl. Combine half the sugar with the molasses. Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Fold in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. 

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are crisp. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 


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