When I make the standard Tollhouse cookie recipe, the cookies ALWAYS seem to spread and when I try to lift them off the pan, they break apart, so I wanted a better recipe. I decided to put out a request on social media for the perfect, fool-proof Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
To make it a little more fun, I enlisted the help of my mom and sister and called it, “The Great American Cookie Bake-off.”
What started as a simple quest for a good cookie recipe ended with me contemplating many life lessons.
I collected several recipes and I first noted that while the amounts differed, all the recipes called for the same ingredients. There were some variables like cold vs. room temperature eggs and room temperature butter vs. melted butter vs. browned butter, but the process was much the same; cream the butters and sugars together, add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each one, then add the dry ingredients.
17 cups of flour,
15 cups of sugar (white, light, & dark)
16 sticks of butter,
and 7 bags of chocolate chips (milk & semi-sweet) later, we had 8 cookies to taste.
I assembled a crack team of tasters, (my family) to evaluate each cookie on its texture, smell, appearance, & taste. My husband asked, “How should I judge these? Should I compare them to a typical chocolate chip cookie?”
Hmm, typical, I thought, what is that??
“No,” I answered, “judge based on your own preference.”
The room fell silent as we all smelled, broke open and nibbled the cookies. (I had to laugh at how serious we all were taking it.)
There were occasional comments about clear winners, and clear losers, as well as surprise over great taste despite no smell.
Points were tallied, (I found out my dad is a harsh critic when it comes to chocolate chip cookies :)) the discussion began and something funny happened.
Have you guessed??
I cannot believe I hadn’t thought of it…
We all had different winners!!
We each spent a little time trying to convince the others why our choice was the right one, or why this cookie should be graded higher. In the end, there was one cookie with a small lead, but there were also several favorites. And what one person deemed the worst cookie another chose it as their favorite. My experiment failed.
I had been looking for perfection, and didn’t think about the possibility of more than one answer. I also completely forgot to consider everyone’s personal taste preferences, my own included. I had a hard time choosing just one cookie, I had several favorites.
Which got me thinking, where else in my life am I looking for perfection or the one right way, when there may be many right paths?
Years ago, my husband and I found a Carlos Casteneda quote which came to mind;
“A path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you…Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself alone, one question…Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use.”
Just as there was not one perfect cookie, there is not one perfect path or right way forward. The lesson is: each of us has a different truth or path and it is for us alone to discover. And that also, like the cookies, we all share the same ingredients but, it is the amounts, or our individual qualities that make us unique.
By the way, the popular cookie was Carla Hall’s from the ABC show The Chew. Browning the butter and the combo of light and dark brown sugars was really appealing.
My sister and I think we may try that recipe again, however we will use all semi-sweet chocolate chips this time.