Thursday, January 20, 2011

W & W "Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies"

My bestie, Neal, makes an amazingly good oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. He has since we were in college. I bet it's been 20 years since I tasted one for the first time. The first memory I have of those cookies is inside a car on the way to a Christmas party for the Western Kentucky University Dance Company hosted by our physical therapist, Dr. John. Neal had made his cookies and they were housed in a Christmas tin. I can still remember how they looked inside that tin when he removed the lid. I get a little hazy on whether we were allowed to partake of the sweet goodness in the car or not, but I do remember seeing those cookies inside that tin inside that car.

I do believe his are the first oatmeal cookies that I'd ever eaten made with chocolate chips instead of raisins.

He will not part with his recipe. It was his mother's and maybe someone else's before that. I'm not sure. What I do know is that it is now his. He has tweaked it and made it his own. It has become somewhat of a joke that he won't share the recipe. My mother has gone so far as to tell me to stand near enough to him to watch and mentally record the recipe. I don't really want the recipe anymore, but the joke is part of our history; our lives.

What I do want is a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that I can call my own.

I'm kind of like Paula Deen when it comes to baking things that tingle your sweet tooth. I want real ingredients; real butter, real sugar, real eggs, etc. I am health conscious. I'm aware of what I put into my body, but when it comes to baked goods, I shouldn't be eating them anyway, so if I'm putting them in my body why not enjoy all the bad-for-me-goodness; rich in taste and texture.

I found a recipe that I liked that seemed to be everything one would need for an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie; butter, white sugar, brown sugar, flour, vanilla, baking soda, oats. It was all there plus a little something I thought would compliment the chocolate very well - cinnamon. I don't believe Neal's cookies have cinnamon in them. My mind was telling me all of these ingredients would bake up to a fantastic cookie, but I wasn't certain. I had already made up my mind that I would throw it all away and mark it down as an experiment gone awry if they tasted horrible.

I left the butter out to soften. I measured the sugars, the flour. I mixed it all by hand. I don't believe Neal uses a mixer of any kind. I didn't want to either. I wanted to actually feel the cookie dough as it got sturdier with each new dry ingredient. My right arm got quite the workout.

With all the ingredients married together in a commune of raw sweetness I was ready to start placing spoonfuls on my Pam® sprayed baking sheet. The oven had already reached it's 350° preheated temperature.

The cookies were supposed to bake for 8-10 minutes. I checked them at 8. I discovered that 10 was the right amount of time. They didn't get too crispy. That is my least favorite thing about a cookie: too much crisp. They stayed crispy enough on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. Neal's do that also. These cookies did not taste like Neal's though. Not because of the addition of cinnamon either (my mind was right by the way, it was a good compliment to the chocolate). The texture was different. I'm not sure what that's about. I do know that I felt my dough could have used some water, or maybe some milk. The recipe didn't call for it, but I think I may use one or the other next time I make them. Yes, there will be a next time. I enjoyed them very much as did all the people who got to eat them. It made me proud to share them.

These are not Neal's cookies, that's true. They're mine, and I get to spend time perfecting my recipe now.