A Little Insurance Policy in the Form of Chocolate Chip Cookies

Day 20

For months now, at the request of family members, friends, strangers even, we have dutifully removed our shoes and assumed the “back-to-back” position, while these…people, bent their knees, leveled off their point-of-view and eyeballed our heads. And then, rising back up, these same people would sigh and declare, “Nope. Not yet.”

And so it was, the second week of January 2010, in the midst of making dinner on an already rushed school night, my sweetie says, “Hey, wait a minute, you two. Stand back to back.” To which I replied, “I’m in the middle of making dinner.” “Oh, it’ll just take a second. Come on.” I dutifully removed my shoes sensing there was no way out of it, turned my back and stood there staring straight ahead as my husband eyeballed our heads. Then, with a big grin on his face, he straightened back up and said, “Well, it’s official. She’s taller than you.”
I always knew this day would be here. At least, I knew, hypothetically. All those years of playfully saying, “One day, you’ll be bigger than Mommy.” I could surmise. Make an educated guess…but I don’t think I really knew what it would be like when it was truth. When my 12-year old daughter would literally have one up on me. No, not really. And so, here I am, on the other side of the yardstick and it’s definitely a peculiar feeling. To no longer have that “physical stature” over another person especially one much, much younger than you. To have to reach up to hug your child. A bit surreal, I’d say.

While I do consider myself quite the foodie and try to keep my finger on the pulse of the “food world”, I missed the heated fervor surrounding the infamous “New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipe last summer. Never heard a word about it. Not a peep. Could be that I don’t bake. Not really. I don’t have the patience for it. It’s so exacting. I just want to toss in a little of this, a little of that. But, when my sweet, mother-in-law, whom I’ve talked about before here, emailed me the link to the recipe concurrently as the measuring of the heights was happening, one glance at the recipe and I knew…this was the answer.
Perhaps I was feeling a bit insecure about my new place in the line-up. Perhaps it wasn’t insecurity so much as a little bit of wistfulness…she’s growing up and there’s no stopping it. We even have physical evidence, now, of this occurrence. While my kind and thoughtful mother kept a steady stream of snickerdoodle, oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies going my entire childhood, my children have never known this cookie parade. So, the cookies, these NYT cookies, would be rather novel to them…or more specifically, her. It’s not bribery. I’m not buying her love, her respect, her admiration. No, no, no. Nothing like that. I am still her mother, after all. I still have the power to take away her beloved cell phone, iPod, favorite pair of jeans, should the occasion present itself. She’s too young to even get a job to support herself, for crying out loud…but, then again, no one can get a job right now…but that’s beside the point. It’s just insurance. A little tiny insurance policy I’ve written up on my own to the tune of…the way to a child’s heart…

And, with that, I got down to business which was challenging to say the least. Baking requires intense concentration. Focused thinking. I am anything but focused. My time is always fractured…between constantly being interrupted by my lovely offspring and my brain that jumps around from thought to thought as if it were a flea, it’s amazing I get anything done. And, then, the whole…dip and sweep method of measuring flour makes me crazy, but dip, I did. And I definitely don’t sift but considering the circumstances, I dug my little sifter out from the hinterlands of my pantry while simultaneously searching for the “paddle” attachment for my mixer (not realizing that the “paddle” attachment is just the regular ole mixing attachment I’ve always used which looks nothing like a paddle.) And, then, I tried to stay focused on the directions…”two kinds of flour”. Two kinds of flour! And, then, back and forth between my work station and the computer trying to read the recipe typed in what appeared to be an 8 point font and trying not to forget the quantity listed for my next ingredient during the 3 foot walk from the recipe back to the work station. Since my sifter is so small, I had to sift in batches which may defeat the whole purpose of sifting but I rather liked the little volcano-like pile forming on my cutting board which reminded me of Hawaii, which made me think of sun, which caused me to look hopefully outside the window…nope, still gray.

One thing you should know about me, dear friend, is that even though I don’t bake much, when I bake chocolate chip cookies, I require a specific “dough-to-chocolate” ratio. The first time I made these cookies (yes, I’ve made them more than once), I followed this bloggers advice and just dumped two bags of the Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips in. Waaaaay too much chocolate in my opinion. If I wanted that much chocolate, I’d just break off part of a bar, which is healthier for you anyways. No. If I’m going to go to the trouble of making myself a sugary, buttery, white flour concoction then, I sure as heck better taste the sugar, butter and flour.
On my second round of making this little recipe and adjusting the chocolate quantity, my daughter arrived home from school, twirls into the kitchen and says, “Mom, whatcha makin’?” No response from me but upon seeing me at work says, “Oh, wow. Cookies again?”Okay, so maybe I’ve roused a bit of suspicion with my seemingly, sudden interest in baking, but she’ll never know. Not really. Unless, of course, you tell her. So, don’t. Mum’s the word.
The next morning, bright and early, there I am again baking cookies. (The dough lasts forever.) My daughter thumps down the stairs and again says, “Wow, Mom. More cookies…um, thanks.” To which I say, poker-faced, “Why don’t you take some of these cookies to school and give them out to your friends? We’ll never eat all of these.” Do you see how sly and subtle that was? Now, I have just added extra insurance to my policy by hooking the friends.

On the way up to bed last night, my daughter snatches the last of the cookies. A half a cookie to be exact. She hollers out to me as she climbs the stairs, “Mom, I can’t stop eating these cookies. They are so good. Oh, and Mom, my friends devoured the cookies. They just loved them.” I tried to suppress the little knowing smile upon hearing this. “Ahh…my work here is done.” Well, not done exactly…but, put in motion. No matter how “big” she gets, she’ll keep coming home for more of these cookies…at least, that’s the plan…my little, tiny…insurance plan.
All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009-2010
Chocolate Chip Cookies Sprinkled with Sea Salt
Course: Dessert
Serves: 2½ dozen
One thing you should know about me is that even though I don't bake much, when I do bake chocolate chip cookies I require a specific dough-to-chocolate ratio, which is why my cookies call for 1½ cups of chocolate chips instead of the standard 2 cups. If I'm going to go to the trouble of making a buttery, sugary, chocolate concoction, I want to taste more than just chocolate. NOTE: Is is preferable to allow this dough to sit 24-72 hours before baking.
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups dark chocolate chips, such as Guittard 63% cacao
  • Freshly ground sea salt
  1. In a medium bowl , whisk together your flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Bread flour gives the cookies a chewy texture and prevents them from spreading all over the pan and into each other.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars together for about 3 minutes with mixer on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time, completely incorporating each one into the creamed butter and sugars before adding the next one. Mix in vanilla.
  3. With mixer on low, slowly add in your dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. With a spoon, fold in chocolate chips. Wrap dough in parchment paper and place in an airtight bag or container. Refrigerate for at least 24 and up to 72 hours. DO NOT skip this step. This is where the cooking chemistry between the gluten and the egg works its magic.
  5. Once the dough has rested the appropriate amount of time, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough and inch or so apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of sea salt. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until golden brown with the tiniest bit of "uncookedness" in the center. Pull from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for a minute or two. Move cookies to a cooling rack and let rest until room temperature. Eat and enjoy.


  1. Courtney Cook Hopp says:

    I can still feel the moment somewhere in the shadows of my mind, when I passed Mom up!

    PS – I would like a few cookies sent my way, please.

  2. Those cookies look delicious. The recipe looks similar to one I used on teh 'dreich' day from the Honey and Jam blog. And I'm totally with you on the ratio of chocolate to dough – one time you CAN have too much of a good thing – I cut the quantity by a third – although I was using a bar of 70% from the fridge chiselled into chunks – good choc chips are not so available in UK.
    And I know how you feel about your oldest overtaking you on the door-frame markers! My 13 year old son sky-rocketed past me last year – now he's at least 6 inches taller and threatening to pass his Dad too! it's such an odd feeling when your child rests their chin on YOUR head when you share a hug – but once you get over the shock it's lovely!

  3. croquecamille says:

    Hi, just found your blog via the Food A-Z group on Flickr. Love your photos! I think I passed my Mom up when I was 12, too. 🙂 I grew up in Portland, but now I call Paris, France home. They could really use a good chocolate chip cookie around here!

  4. Court-Yeah, well, I never had that experience. 🙂 And, perhaps I'll bring a dozen of these to the wedding weekend, if you've been a good girl.

    Helen-So glad I'm not alone in the chocolate to dough ratio quandary. I cannot believe your son is 6 INCHES taller than you. I'm still in shock mode but I suppose that eventually you get used to having them reach down and muss up your hair like you once did to them.

    Croquecamille – I've been following your blog as well…thanks to Flickr. So glad you've enjoyed mine.

  5. Lisa Field says:

    Love this! Thanks for allowing me to immerse myself in your blog – I could lose an hour reading but for now I must go, as I need to make many mini herbed cheese balls for a party tonight…! As I recall, we owe each other a coffee date. When you're free in the next week or two let me know – would love to chat! Take care, Lisa

  6. Lisa, You are so sweet. Hope the cheese balls were a hit and I look forward to coffee!