I can be a fairly compulsive person. In the lab, when an experiment doesn't work, I can spend hours obsessing over it, trying to figure out what went wrong and what I will do differently the next time. This tendency of mine probably serves me well; I don't tend to repeat my mistakes and compulsion can be necessary in order to convert failure into success. Luckily, in the kitchen my failure rate is much lower, but I still develop compulsions. For the past umpteen weeks, I have been obsessed with the idea of baking cookies. Strangely enough, though, I didn't have time to bake anything naughty until Monday night. On that night, the cookie-baking urge was too strong and I had to indulge it. So what did I do? Why, I pulled my butter out of the freezer, sprayed my cookie sheet with nonstick spray, and got to work!
I made Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies, a recipe I found long ago in one of Mollie Katzen's beautiful cookbooks. It's either in The Enchanted Broccoli Forest or Still Life With Menu; I forget which book. This particular cookie is a crispy chocolate cookie flavored with cocoa powder and mint extract and studded with semisweet chocolate chips. It's a basic drop cookie: cream butter with sugars, add egg and extracts, mix dry ingredients together, and then combine wet and dry ingredients and chocolate chips to make the dough. The dough itself smells AMAZING: minty and chocolatey, and the taste is very rich from all the butter and sugar (see what I mean about naughty baking?). I usually only taste a tiny spoonful of dough when I bake these cookies because it is so rich.
One sheet of baked cookies later, my baking urge was satisfied. I often refrigerate or freeze cookie dough so that I can enjoy fresh-baked cookies on a later date. Since I live alone, my cookies tend to last awhile. When I lived with my parents, fresh-baked cookies were virtually inhaled by the family, especially by my three brothers, so there was no point in not baking the entire batch at one time. Now, one sheet of cookies will last me the better part of a week, which is such a blessing at the end of the day when I just want to curl up with a mug of tea (decaf orange-flavored green tea these days), some cookies, and a good book. Now THAT'S the good life!