Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Dorie's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I will admit up front that I am a Toll House cookie baker. Whenever I make chocolate chip cookies, I use the Toll House recipe and chips. That's what my hubby likes and I try very hard to make things he likes. Since I don't usually eat the cookies, what hubby wants is what hubby gets. Sometimes I even bake the pre-made cookies for him. Again, that's what he likes. He asks me to buy some of those bake and eat cookies. Poor man. :)

So, I was really excited to try Dorie's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thought maybe I could expose my hubby to some "real" cookies. Show him how the rest of the world lives, so to speak. I had high hopes about using the recipe that Kait of Kait's Plate chose for this week's TWD. Stop by her blog to pick up the recipe and take a look around. Kait takes lots of great photos of all the things she bakes each week.

Back to my review. I gathered all my baking supplies to make these cookies. Butter,eggs, flour, vanilla,  sugars, I even dug out the good chocolate, 72% cocoa dark chocolate. 2 bars that I chopped into big chunks and added to the batter. I also added some chopped pecans. Scooped out balls of the dough onto my cookie sheets and popped one into the oven, then sat back waiting for deliciousness.

Well, what came out of the oven the first time were flat, dark, almost burnt cookies. Disappointed I turned down the oven temperature a few degrees and baked the cookies a minute or two less. Second batch, still flat, but not quite as dark. Third batch baked a few minutes less, and, still flat. I baked 6 trays I think and every batch was flat, flat, flat! I thought the cookies tasted great! The dark chocolate was perfect with the sweetness of the dough. The pecans added nice texture and nuttiness. The cookies were crisp when you first bit them and then chewy as you, well, chewed them. But, they looked terrible. Not sure what I did wrong. I don't usually end up with flat cookies. My hubby? Took one look and asked "What are those supposed to be?" I got him to try one, and that was the only one he ate. "Don't do a thing for me", is what he said as he left the kitchen, leaving a half eaten cookie behind.  So, while I liked the flavor, the hubby didn't. And, since it's for him I usually bake cookies, I guess I will stick to the recipe on the yellow bag of chocolate chips. Maybe if I could figure out what I did wrong and get them to bake up fluffy (???) he might reconsider. But, I guess I will just stick to his favorite and pass on these.

But, don't let my disappointment with these cookies sway you. Go to TWD and see what all the other bakers thought. I saw some beautiful cookies using the same recipe.


Before I leave, I wanted to acknowledge today's date and its significance for me. I am writing this because it's been on my mind all day, and for me, it's best if I put what's in my heart and mind on paper, so I can move on, let it go. The following is not funny or upbeat and I only tell you, my readers, so that you may choose to skip this part if you'd like.

On this date, 5 years ago, my dearest friend and soul mate (as we used to call each other) passed away from cancer. Linda was 44 years old when she died. We had been friends for 27 years. We met when I was a waitress in a little diner next door to where she worked. She would come in for breakfast (bacon and toast) each morning and over time we became friends. It was an unlikely friendship. I was 5 years older, married with a child. She was a young, career minded single woman. I was a tomboy and she was a "girly" girl. When we would go out together, I would be ready in minutes and would stand watching as Linda primped and fluffed and readied herself for going out. It was something we laughed about often. Our friendship survived not only time, but distance when my husband at the time took a job that moved us from upstate NY to Richmond, VA. Linda and I would talk on the phone for hours at a time. At least once a year I would travel to Rochester and spend a week with her. We would sit up till the wee hours of the morning, drinking coffee and talking about anything and everything. We wrote long letters (pages and pages!) to each other on a weekly basis. I still have boxes of letters she wrote to me over the years. We had no secrets from each other and didn't cut the other one any slack or pull punches when necessary. When Linda had her first, of many surgeries to try and stop the cancer, I was always there in the waiting room. She fought a hard battle for 2 years. When her doctor sent her home in September of 2004 and told her there was nothing else to do, she still didn't give up. I drove up to Rochester every weekend to be by her side, leaving on Fridays and returning home on Mondays. When it started to snow and the roads became treacherous, her husband flew me to Rochester every weekend so I could be with her. Just like in the old days, we would stay up all night talking. We talked about death and dying. We talked about missed opportunities. We talked about all the fun we used to have. We talked about making the most of what you are given. Even though we both knew she was dying, we still found time to laugh together.  I took care of her, cooked for her, bathed her, helped her in anyway I could.  I left Linda on Monday the 14th of February. Kissed her good-bye and told her I would be back on Friday, like I had been doing every weekend for the previous 4 1/2 months. Her husband called me Tuesday evening and said to come back to Rochester. I left on a plane at 6AM Wednesday morning. While on a layover in DC, at 7:30AM,  I got the call from her husband that she had passed away. There has been a hole in my heart since then. I still think of her, every day, even after 5 years. I miss you Linda...

25 comments:

  1. Too funny about your husband. Mine is much the same way - very set in his ways when it comes to treats! I think a lot of folks had very thin cookies this week, I know I did!

    What wonderful memories of your friend.

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  2. Susan,
    What a lovely tribute to your friend.
    Mimi

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  3. Oh Susan, my heart breaks for you! As difficult as it must have been to witness Linda's declining health, I'm certain you made it so much easier for her.

    I had a similar experience with these cookies, which is why I didn't want to make them again. Hopefully the hubs helps you eat some of them!

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  4. Susan, I read this and cried. Uhm, no, not about the chocolate chip cookies. I have to insert a little humor because I am still getting tears on my keyboard. I have lost 3 people cherished and deeply loved through cancer, including my own best friend in life. I understand the pain and longing memories. If I could give you a hug of support through the monitor, I would; so I am hoping to convey warmth through words.

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  5. Oh yes, cookies. Have you ever tried Alton Brown's "chewy" ccc recipe? delicious too!

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  6. Susan, that's a moving remembrance of your friend. To celebrate that friendship, you deserve a better treat than a table full of unloved cookies.
    My thoughts are with you.

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  7. Very sweet memories of the friendship you had. I had tears falling from my eyes while reading it.

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  8. Susan : I am a toll house baker too!

    I am reading this before work this morning and your story brought BIG tears to my eyes. (Thank goodness for waterproof mascara). I've lost too many people to cancer, including my mother when I was 16. I, like you, just cherish those memories we had. Sending a cyber hug your way!!!

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  9. The cookies must have gone flat because they were sad too!

    My hubby doesn't like dark chocolate anything and I do so I would probably like those cookies. I'll have to try them! No, scratch that! I'm trying to stay away from sweets! Grr!

    How nice you had such a good relationship for so many years with your friend and what a nice tribute you paid to her.

    xoxo

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  10. Thank you for sharing this amazing story of your friendship. I have been blessed with a few such amazing gifts of friendships, but none have been tested like that. You guys truly were soul-mates!

    And now, it feels silly to mention the cookies, but I will. Seems like most of us got a flatter cookie out of these. And if your hubs is the main cookie eater, I think you're doing the right thing by making what he likes!

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  11. Cookies and heartbreak...they sort of go together, don't they? Whenever I have been in situations where the times are tough, the cookies always come out, the talk always ensues over a plate of this or that. So many friends have shared so many things over a plate of cookies. What lovely memories of your friend and the times you had with her. I wish I lived close enough to come over with a plate of cookies...instead, just hugs from here. Your cookies look wonderful, they were a big hit here because the guys love them crunchy! Tollhouse is a favorite around here as well. I figure they got to be what they are for a reason, right?

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  12. Uh oh, you know it's a bad sign when a man takes a bite of a cookie and leaves half behind!

    I am so sorry that you lost your friend. It sounds like she was a wonderful person and a great friend to you.

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  13. My cookies were really flat too, but I liked them a lot. Your husband sounds like my dad - he likes what he likes and there's no point in trying to get him to change to something different.

    What a nice tribute to your friend. Really good friendships are hard to come by, and yours sounds like it was so special. You must miss her a lot.

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  14. Lovely post.

    Sorry the cookies weren't a hit. They look yummy.

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  15. Susan, thanks for sharing the story; it really sounds like you had an amazing friendship, I'm sorry it ended sooner than it should have. Sounds like you really need a nice, comforting dessert.

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  16. Oh, I don't even want to talk about the cookies, I just want to comment about your friend. What a lovely story and tribute to her. I can't imagine this loss, but how lucky to have had such a wonderful soul mate in your life.

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  17. I figure are are too many other chocolate chip cookies to go back to one you don't like - onwards and upwards!

    Lovely tribute to Linda.

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  18. Dear Susan, I'm not too good with words I know how good it was for Linda to have a friend like you .Hugs

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  19. I'm so glad I'm not the only one that was a bit disappointed with these cookies. Like you said, the flavor wasn't bad and they even managed to have a chewy texture in their flat little centers - but there just plain wasn't enough center!

    Thank you for sharing your memories of Linda, it may not have been funny or upbeat, but it was sweet and very touching.

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  20. Aaah, Linda sounds like a once in a lifetime friend. How lucky you had those years with her.

    (talking about cookies after Linda seems kinda trivial, but here goes...) Yes, I am a long time Toll house fan too. And I was also somewhat disappointed. Somehow good CCC have a certain look and thin isn't it, LOL. Well, good effort anyway. What did you do with all of those cookies?

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  21. So sorry about the loss of your beloved friend. But what a kind, compassionate person you are - truly the best friend anyone could ask for.

    And by the way, don't be discouraged by those cookies - as you already know, they didn't work out for 99% of us!

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  22. It is always so hard to lose a friend. She will always be a part of you.

    The cookies weren't for me either. Don't like a flat cookie. A couple of bloggers added extra flour and that seemed to turn them around.

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  23. Bummer that these didn't turn out great and your hubby wouldn't eat them! So sorry about the loss of your friend. How great that you keep her memory alive and share her story with all of us. Hugs.

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  24. I'm sure it wasn't easy to write, but thank you for sharing this lovely tribute to your friend. Watching someone you love fading away is one of the hardest things ever.

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  25. What a beautiful tribute. We are burying my mother-in-law tomorrow so this fits my mood perfectly.

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Please let me know what you think. I love to hear from other bakers.