My favorite cookies are chocolate chip, without the chocolate chips. I like things that are near perfect that I can then mess with just the smallest bit to make my own. Then it is perfect. Perfection is a subjective account.
Chocolate chips cookies should be worked over and picked through. They are no good as baked dough without the chips baked in and they are no good with the chips left in once baked. This paradox tormented me in Home Ec as I tried to perfect the chocolate-chipless chocolate chip cookie in the oven. I finally discovered that missing ingredient was the taint of the chip. The chocolate chips need to rub off on the dough without being a part of the actual dining experience. The perfect chocolate chip cookie is one with a relatively low ratio of chip to dough for easy consumption (every chip that goes in must be pulled back out), but not so low that surrounding dough is not properly affected. I created a math formula at the time that was only as advanced as I was. I was passionate on the issue.
In middle school we’d sit at the long cafeteria tables at lunch and talk about boys and unfair parents, but when I got to the cookie I’d drop out of the conversation to focus on the work. One by one my friends would go quiet too as they tuned into my strange cookie ritual. I’d break the cookie into pieces, then work each bit down to the chocolate by nibbling the cookie off the chip. When it was done I’d ball up a napkin with the discarded chocolate. Each time they’d ask the same fruitless question, about why I chose chocolate chip cookies if I don’t like the chocolate chips. I opened my speech with the same grade logic that all seventh graders possess. I said, Duh. Then I stated the obvious. There is no cookie greater than chocolate chip.
Sometime between 7th grade and today I must have dropped the habit. I don’t know when or how, but on the way out of the grocery store tonight I picked up a bag of my favorite cookies on a whim and opened them on the drive home. They didn’t taste right. I bit in again and still they weren’t the small bits of baked heaven I’d expected. Then my wisdom came back, and I bit tentatively around a chocolate chip, then another, and another, until the cookie was gone and I flung the discarded chocolate out the window. It was perfect. It was baked heaven. Now I’m wondering what other wisdom I’ve lost along the way.
Also, since this blog title is misleading, and no blog is a blog without at least one recipe in its arsenal, here is a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made at home.
Once you follow that recipe, just pick the chocolate chips back out, and Viola! perfection.