baking and control (or: Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookies)

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I went on a date the other day. This isn’t particularly interesting. I have a feeling that I’m destined to suffer many, many more dates over the course of my lifetime. However, yesterday’s date asked me what I was doing when he asked me to join him for pizza and bourbon (now perhaps you can see why I agreed to go), and I truthfully answered that he caught me just before I was about to stick a sheet of cookies in the oven.

Date insisted that he loved to cook, but hated baking. Confused, I insisted that he explain.

“In baking, you have to follow the recipe exactly,” he says, “or else it’s a mess. And plus it’s not scalable. In cooking you can do whatever you want.”

In this moment I was convinced that he and I were incompatible. Date hates baking for all of the reasons that I adore it so much. Baking, unlike dating, is simple. All you have to do is play by the rules, and everything turns out exactly as planned. If you don’t go off script, don’t do anything weird, and don’t get crazy with the spices, the outcome is perfectly fine.

When I was in college, I had a ritual where I would stress bake every Sunday night, and then pawn off the results to my 9am class on Monday morning. Cookies, cupcakes, love knots, brownies. You name it, I baked it between the hours of 11pm and 2am. Not because I have an irrational late night sweet tooth, but because measuring the ingredients, putting them together in order, and watching things turn exactly like I expected was so incredibly cathartic.

Friday’s date was uninspiring. I guess that shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me (though I guess I shouldn’t be so bitter, the date I went on yesterday was lovely).  So I went home and finished making these incredibly simple Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookies and watched them come together beautifully. I found the original recipe on Jess Fuel here. Generally I choose recipes that are a little more complicated when it comes to baking, but something about these silly hot pink cookies is hard to say no to. Just like pizza and bourbon.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package strawberry cake mix  (I use Pillsbury Moist Supreme because I feel like it turns out the softest cookies.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (The original recipe calls for twice this amount. If you love the sweet stuff that much, go for it. 2 cups is just way too much for me personally.)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease pan.
  2. Combine ingredients.
  3. Place round balls on cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for exactly 10 minutes.
  5. Let them cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to baking rack.

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When making these cookies there are three things that I suggest you keep in mind.

First, these cookies are Sweet. Yes, Sweet. Capital S. I can only handle one or two at a time. So, if you don’t like your cookies with a side of potential toothache, you might want to look for another recipe.

Second, this is a very wet dough. As my mother says, I like to play in my cookie dough – meaning that I like to use my hands to mix and to form the cookies that go onto the tray. That does not work here. Use a small spatula and tablespoon to get this dough onto the cookie sheet.

Third, do NOT over bake these. They aren’t nearly as pretty if you let them brown. Stick to the 10 minute recommendation, and allow them to cool on the pan to make sure that they bake all the way through.

 

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baking and control (or: Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookies)

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