At sixty-five I forgot how to make my formerly fantastic Toll House Cookies. What’s happening to me?

I really messed up my last batch of chocolate chip cookies. This was SO wrong. Once upon a time I had amazing cookie baking tricks and a reputation to maintain. After a while baking chocolate chippers was like riding a bike. I knew how to do it and they were always awesome…

Until they weren’t.

On March first I made our neighbor, Brian, a batch of my Toll House cookies for his twentieth birthday. I’ve made them for him regularly and successfully in the nearly four years we’ve lived here.

But on March first something went horribly wrong. The cookies ran together in a big mushy mess. I managed to scrape them onto cooling racks, whereupon the middles dripped through the wires to the counter below. They were a dismal embarrassing failure.

I blamed it on humidity. I blamed it on the oven, the ingredients, the alignment of the stars. I blamed it on everything but human error. (ie myself)

I should have started over. Instead I chose to go with, “Well, it’s the thought that counts!” When I was able to kinda’ sorta’ move from racks to platter I displayed the least unfortunate ones on top. Brian ate them without complaint but Brian is twenty. Twenty year old boys eat everything without complaint.

Meanwhile my daughter Mo–the cookie baking hot-shot show off–keeps posting Instagram photos of her baking products. Snickerdoodles, Toll House, Oatmeal Raisin, chocolate ones with sinfully delicious looking chunks. This pictures shows perfectly browned, uniform French-bakery-shop-worthy beauties.

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Her latest miraculous cookies.  She likes to taunt me by sending these pictures.  It’s a good thing I love her.

How is this possible? I’m the cookie person in this family, dammit.

Finally I broke down and confessed I had lost the touch. I asked Mo for advice.

“Are you using a cookie scoop, Mom?” …..huh?

“What about silpat matts?”….and those are? My deaf ears translated that as “thilfad”, then “willgab”. She finally spelled it out “Stephen, Igloo, Lady, Patio, Alice, Too bad/so sad/can’t hear.”

“Do you have half sheets?”  This one I actually knew about from Ina Garten.

“Furthermore it’s best to weigh ingredients rather than measure by cups–flour settles. A cup isn’t always a cup. Oh by the way the best temperature is generally 350 degrees other than for chocolate chip, which I bake at 360.” ….again, huh?  I thought 375 degrees for chocolate chip cookies was a hard and fast rule.

All in all I figured out I really don’t know squat about cookie baking.
Immediately went to Amazon–bought the aforementioned scoop and silpat mats.

Today I decided to dive back into the cookie dough. I didn’t have ingredients for chocolate chips, plus I was still too cowed by my recent failure.

I made peanut butter cookies instead. I even snuck in some of Jim’s closely guarded Dove Dark Chocolate mini candies. The results? Not bad. Not as gorgeous as Mo’s though. Guess my next purchase is a scale for weighing the flour I can’t eat. Celiac Sprue, no gluten allowed….which is a good thing because I shouldn’t be eating cookies anyhow.

Check out these yummy confections. Yay me! No they aren’t as uniform as Mo’s, but I’m just a beginner.

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