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I’ve always been a baker. For as long as I can remember, the art of measuring and sifting cups of flour has brought my spirit so much peace. From meticulous egg cracking to attentively creaming butter and sugar together, I have come to look at this practice—yes, baking is a practice—as a time of self-care and solitude.
My first baking accomplishment was the basic, chocolate chip cookie. A simple recipe that, at the time, I didn’t realize would become a fan-favorite amongst my family and friends. I followed the recipe to the letter, making sure to correctly measure, chop and gently fold the ingredients into the mixture. There was something therapeutic about stirring these ingredients—all with different textures, smells and looks—together to make something cohesive and undoubtedly delectable.
And the scent. If you ask me what the most wonderful scent in the world is, I’d tell you without hesitation that it will always be the smell of freshly baked cookies, still warm from the oven.
Cookies, I came to realize, are a powerful thing.
I was fascinated with the power that a fresh plate of cookies could hold. It brought old friends, new friends, complete strangers together, if only for a moment, to share in a moment of complete joy. With each bite, I watched others come together, and my heart would explode with excited glee.
At 17, I started my first entrepreneurial endeavor with my baking skills. I sold freshly made cookie dough in tubs and chewy cookies of all sorts—sugar, peanut-butter, oatmeal-cranberry, and of course, chocolate chip. My parents supported me by providing the funds—I made close to nothing at my part time job—and clients. They brought the order forms to work and their colleagues did their part to support my ambitious venture. I made close to $400 that month—just in time for the Christmas season!
But it was then that I realized baking for profit was harder than I thought. Most orders were done with care and precision, cookies baked and packaged neatly in their tins. But some—let’s just say they were lacking in the precision and care departments. A few mixed orders here, and some under stirred cookie dough there—my first attempt at a real business wasn’t at all a smooth one. Thankfully, no peanut butter allergies were exacerbated in the process.
Sometimes, that’s all you can really hope for.
I took away the fact that I enjoyed baking simply for the purpose of serving others. No contracts, cash payments, time constraints necessary. Baking, I decided, was my preferred method of self-care. The act of giving away my baking, another.
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
These are a crowd favorite of all my friends and family! My god-sister says these are "man-catching" cookies. It hasn't worked so far, but I'm hopeful! This simple recipe is sure to be a hit for your next potluck or after-dinner (or before) dessert.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter unsalted, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar packed dark brown
- 1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 12 oz package of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a mixing bowl, combine and stir dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and salt) together.
In a separate bowl, using a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla together until creamy. Add eggs, beating them in well.
Add dry mixture into the creamy mixture, using a cup measure to gradually stir in. Mix well until all flour is combined into wet ingredients.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (optional). Drop about 2 tbsp of dough onto un-greased baking sheet about an inch and a half apart.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned at the top. Remove from sheet to wire cooling rack. Allow to set for 5-10 minutes before enjoying!
I think recognizing our capacities as human beings is a skill that takes a lifetime to fully develop. But what a privilege it is once we discover it. Perhaps I will realize my dream to become a baker, own a shop and actualize it one day. For now, you can bet I’ll be here, creating and following recipes to share with my loved ones and strangers alike.