Mr. Foodie and I are officially on spring break! Woot! Well we still have work to do, but we decided to utilize this spare time to also work on some projects we’ve been putting off since the wedding. First, I officially became Mrs. Azar today! It only took two plus hours at the social security office, but here I am – newly wed and newly named. We celebrated by having lunch at the grocery store because shopping for groceries when you are ravenous is never a good idea. My first meal as an Azar? Indian food! Oddly, Mr. Foodie had never even tried Indian food before meeting me. Or crab legs, artichokes, and thai food. He gave me his name and I gave him only the best food in existence lol
Our other spring break goals include a major deep clean of the home. We did a pretty good job before we moved to have our fl keys adventure, but a deep clean is a good idea at least once a year. And why not do it during spring when you can leave the windows open? Our cleaning goals include a cat bath, so Onyx is in for a treat. We also plan to work out every day – something we started doing roughly every other day a few weeks ago. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my energy levels. It seems to help with stress as well. I’m just happy I can get through 30 minutes of yoga again without wanting to die.
We also, of course, have some cooking projects for the week, but honestly we are pulling back on ambitious cooking a bit so we can focus on these other things that we’ve wanted to accomplish for what seems like a long post-wedding while. Easter *is* coming up though, so you can be sure there will be some delicious eats in our future.
Before spring break started, I promised my students that I’d bring chocolate chip cookies in as a treat. These are the kinds of kids that are used to being bribed for everything, so I was careful not to attach the treat to some kind of reward for doing what they’re supposed to be doing. It went pretty well. These cookies are my grandma’s recipe which looks very similar to the basic one on the back of any chocolate chip bag, except in two really big ways: 1) Grandma uses shortening instead of butter and 2) We use half the amount of chocolate chips.
These might seem like tiny adjustments to an otherwise common recipe, but for me, they make a huge difference. In the first place, using shortening will give you a chewier, more cake-like cookie which is my preference. In the second place, I do not have a huge sweet tooth (unlike Mr. Foodie), so I like my cookies to be semi-sweet or salty-sweet. Reducing the number of chips in the cookie lets the buttery (slightly salty) flavor of the cookie dough shine alongside the sweet/bitter chips.
I remember visiting a friend in Germany and having her produce a box of “American” chocoloate chip cookies – each one was packed to the gills with chocolate chips, and I just laughed, offering to make her my version. Even one of my students was like “Ms. Ravy, did you make sugar cookies AND chocolate chip cookies?” Because some look like they don’t have any chips in them. They gobbled them up just the same and were somewhat shocked when I told them that I made them from scratch.
Mr. Foodie was over the moon when I made these, of course, but most of them went to my colleagues, students, and extended family. I like making baked goods and giving them away – and not just because I’m trying to be healthy. My preference for baked things is to have a taste right out of the oven, when it is still a bit warm and fresh, and then gift the rest. That small, simple experience is ephemeral in nature, and so it seems more valuable than shoveling week old cookies into my mouth while I’m watching netflix.
Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 C Shortening
3/4 C Brown Sugar
3/4 C Sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 C flour (more/less depending on texture)
water (as needed)
Semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (to taste)
Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Mix together the shortening, both sugars, and eggs. Add vanilla, salt, and soda – mix. Add flour 1 cup at a time until the dough forms – it should not be too wet or sticky, but if it ends up too stiff, add a little water as necessary. Add the chips in last and mix until just combined. The amount depends on your taste – 1/4 of a bag works for me in this recipe, but you can also eyeball it. Using a regular spoon, scoop a meatball-sized bunch of dough and put on a lined sheet pan. Keep some space between the cookies since they will spread a bit while baking. Baking time can be between 8 and 11 minutes depending on the size of your cookies, the type of sheet pan you are using, and how hot your oven gets/stays. My rule is to keep an eye on the edges – once they turn brown, pop them out, let them rest and then put them on a drying rack until completely cool. If you let the cookies get totally brown, they will be tasty for a few hours and then get as hard as bricks (but my grandpa actually prefers them that way, so to each their own) 😛
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