The Hardest Part of Baking

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I’ve been baking since I was a little girl working beside my mother and grandmother in their kitchens.  By the time I was twelve, I was an expert at everything from fudge to bread, but inexplicably I couldn’t make a decent cake from a mix to save my life.

Since then I’ve tried many more recipes.  I’ve discovered things I’m good at and things that challenge me.  Having made roughly 50,000 batches of chocolate chip cookies, I think I’m pretty good at that.  In fact, I’d say cookies and squares are my specialties.  I love taking a Tupperware container of treats to a church gathering or my younger daughter’s football games.

Things I’m not great at?  Making pastry.  Making caramel.

And hiding sweets from my husband.

Andrew has a sixth sense for when there’s baking in the house.  Yes, sometimes he smells it, but sometimes he just knows when I’ve been busy in the kitchen.  This sixth sense is particularly acute when the baking is intended for someone else.

I’m as resourceful as they come. I’ve camouflaged Nanaimo bars behind the still-unused relish dishes I received for my wedding.  I’ve stashed blueberry muffins behind the box of All-Bran. Once I even considered hiding a batch of ginger snaps in the washing machine – no one but me ever looks there – but given my poor memory, the potential for disaster was just too great.

Sometimes I even bake a set of decoy cookies to throw him off the scent of the real thing.

It doesn’t matter. He’s found them all.

This is my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe ever.  No wonder Andrew always tracks these down.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Bonnie Stern Desserts)

14 Tbsp butter (one cup minus two tablespoons)
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
 2 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
5 squares semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
In large bowl, cream butter with both sugars until light.  Add egg and vanilla and beat well.
In separate bowl, sift flour with salt and baking soda and add to batter.  Stir in just until batter comes together.  Stir in chocolate chunks.
Shape cookies into 2” balls and arrange on cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes.
Hide them well.


Julie said...

Everyone needs a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe!! Those look delicious. I can't make pastry either. I have made caramel over the past year as a part of some of the recipes in the Sweet Melissa baking group. It was a fun accomplishment. Have a lovely Sunday.

Valerie Gamine said...

Beth, you're a fabulous writer (this made me laugh out loud, literally.) I love the idea of decoy cookies!

Also, it looks as though I have another chocolate chip cookie recipe to dry. Darn it! :D

Barbara Bakes said...

Cookies are one of my favorite things to bake too. I'm always on the look out for a great chocolate chip cookie recipe. What do you love about this one? Caramel is something I struggle with too. So funny he always find your treats.

Carla Sandrin said...

I might have to make these right now...and then hide them!

Shandy said...

Great recipe! I know what you mean about stashing goodies; especially when my daughter was still living at home. Now, with just the two of us left, I worry about goodies not getting eaten fast enough. I love your cheerful and bright serving plate for the cookies, very cute.

Leslie said...

It's funny how we all have something that challenges us, but you've obviously mastered chocolate chip cookies! These look fantastic!

Beth said...

I'm glad you all like my cookies -- and my plate! I just love sunflowers.

Valerie, don't ever forget that you're the one who inspired me to start a blog! I know you've got a few chocolate chip cookie recipes already, including your famous bacon chocolate chip cookies!

And good luck to Carla and anyone else who is trying to hide these cookies. If you think of any great hiding places, please let me know!

Joanne said...

Haha sometimes I WISH my friends would have a cookie sixth sense and would come over before I singlehandedly eat the whole batch! These sound awesome though. I'm pretty sure I would actually want to keep them all to myself.

Reeni said...

Andrew sounds just like my Dad! These would be a big hit with him! They look soft and scrumptious.

Velva said...

I smiled reading this post. I love to cook but, baking has always been a challenge for me. I appreciate the fabulous chocolate chip recipe and your husband's sixth sense (he knows good baking).

theUngourmet said...

It's difficult to hide the aroma of freshly baked cookies. This looks like a wonderful recipe! Chocolate chip is hard to beat! ;)

Unknown said...

hehe, i can't hide baked goods from myself either :) these look wonderful!!

Anonymous said...

I am guessing that your cookies are delicious because of the ratio of brown sugar to white sugar. Brown sugar does something special to chocolate chippers.

You are a great storyteller. I love how you hide cookies. I have a different problem. My husband being gluten free has to be careful what he eats. He knows that if it is chocolate, it is for me. One day, I had chocolate chip cookies in a bag and a dried fruit cookie in another. I felt safe because, I knew he would not go near the chocolate.

After, he ate a few, he asked me what was in it. I could not believe, he was eating chocolate that he thinks he hates.

I have to hide anything for me, my kids or company.

Susanne K. Fletcher said...

Hey Beth, I bet if you added a 1/4 of ground flax in the cookies, Andrew wouldn't notice that either. (Sorry I've always seem to try an add some nutrition to the tasty treats to minimize the guilt factor)

Kristen said...

I have hid cookies and baked goods in the oven. It worked. No one thought to go back to the "scene of the crime" to find the goodies. I love the idea of putting cookies behind the All Bran. No one but me ever touches that box! Your cookies look wonderful. I imagine I would have a hard time keeping my family from them, too.

Beth said...

What a great idea to hide them in the oven, Kristen! I must give that a try.
Susanne, the ground flax sounds like a healthy alternative. Thanks for the suggestion!

Liz said...

Ha! You guys sound like you're perfect for each other. Can you imagine being married to someone who doesn't care for baked goods at all?! Better to have the thrill of the chase and the appreciation of the baked goods. :) Besides, maybe he has another career in detective work awaiting him.

Jaime said...

haha. sounds like my hubby! everyone has a favorite CCC recipe, thanks for sharing yours :)

Mimi said...

My problem is not just my husband but my middle child. She has the nose of a blood hound and takes it as a personal challenge to find every treat I hide.
CC cookies are always welcome here. It will be fun to give your favorite recipe a try.

Unknown said...

I would forget my hiding places, too :-) I love the sunflower plate. Too cute. I am not a great cookie baker. They ALWAYS look homemade. Like kids made them homemade. Haha.

Delicious Dishings said...

It took me a while to get good at making caramel... definitely a skill. I don't usually hide treats because I usually go overboard and make way too much anyways!

Anonymous said...

LOL @ hiding sweets from your husband!

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