Subject #2: Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Smitten Kitchen
After I’d been here a few months, the craving for chocolate chip cookies was getting overwhelming, so I knew I had to make some. I was excited when I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, both because they look delicious and because the recipe calls for melted butter (this was in the fall when I didn’t yet have an electric mixer. Trying to cream butter by hand is pretty hard and not that effective…).
Making chocolate chip cookies is a bit more labor-intensive here in Estonia because they don’t have chocolate chips. I think they have some kind of little chocolate droplet things, but they’re sold in tiny bags as baking decorations. So I have to buy a bar of baking chocolate, get out my big ol’ kitchen knife, and chop it up myself. This results in a mixture of bigger-than-chocolate-chip size chunks (which is nice) and also some chocolate shavings.
These cookies came out awesome. The edges were beautifully crispy and contrasted with the chewy centers. They were so enticing when they came out of the oven that J went to try one and bit into a giant molten chocolate chunk, which gushed out and burnt both his mouth and his hand. Oops. Cookies are dangerous.
The only problem with them was due to a stupid substitution I made. I didn’t have vanilla extract yet—it’s available in nicer grocery stores, but really expensive (my mother brought me a bottle from the States at Christmastime). I had picked up something called või-vanilli essents (butter-vanilla essence), thinking it might be kinda the same. Yeah, not really. It’s little vials of oil that smells like cake frosting. I recognized that it was nothing like vanilla, but for some reason, I still added a few drops to my cookie batter. I guess I just worried the flavor would lack some kind of depth if I didn’t add any sort of flavoring at all (so I added something crappy? Sometimes I don’t understand how my brain works…). Anyway, in the finished cookies, I could definitely taste that extra bit of vanilla-y sweetness, which really wasn’t necessary. Probably no one else would notice, but I did. Next time I’ll make these lovely, chewy cookies with actual vanilla extract, and then they’ll be just about perfect. 🙂