I drove over The Grapevine yesterday. For those of you who don't who what that is, The Grapevine, besides being a dance and a very popular MoTown song, is this stretch of Highway 5 in California. I have to drive it to get back and forth from back home to Los Angeles. I've done this drive probably hundreds of times in my life and I've always dreaded it. I think a lot of people do. You have to go throughout the mountains on a steep incline with a combination of giant semis and people fleeing Los Angeles. It's just not a good scene. While driving home late last night, I decided to just try and see things differently. Like what if I didn't believe the drive would be so bad? What if I thought it would be kind of nice? Noticing the cool air, all the stars that aren't visible from the city, the mountains at night. You know change my perspective to something positive instead of wondering if my car will break down without any cell reception, or if something is going to mysteriously explode. You know the normal paranoia of modern life.
You probably could've guessed that changing my perspective worked for me. Instead of being the menacing 30 mile stretch it normally is, I got a chance to appreciate all it had to offer and got some time to clear my mind and sort out some of the details about the past, like you do on long car rides when there isn't much else to do but think.
Sounds nice, right? But what does all this have to do with cookies? Well, I was thinking about my cooking blunders and they've almost exclusively happened while I was rushing, trying too hard, or just all-around not into it. So, yesterday while making cookies I took some time to just relax and enjoy making them, like I used to when I was a kid. What's the result? Better cookies. It might sound crazy, but I really think you can tell the difference between food made with love and food made out of obligation. You know, there are just those days when you make food just because you have to eat and there's nothing particularly special or exciting about it. As someone who learned to love to bake at a young age, it was always a good time to just zone out and focus on something else, like when you play an instrument or reading a book. Think of it as a break from your day instead of an extra chore to do. I've always believed whether you're a good cook or a bad cook, all comes down to the amount of attention and care you put into it. That doesn't mean you have babysit your food, but just, care and know when to leave it alone.
I know you probably have a busy life, but just think about it next time you sit down to bake, are you annoyed because you have to slave over a hot stove for yet another day or are you excited about what you're going to make?
This part of the dough is my favorite. Up there it's just butter and sugar, it's like playing with sandy play dough. I'm a big advocate of getting your hands in there when you're cooking, as you can probably tell by my fingerprints all over the dough. Standing mixers seem nice and all, but who doesn't love playing with dough?
I got this recipe from, SoFestive.com, read the about page. She tells a really sweet story about her mother always making every holiday special. I loved it. So sweet.
Here's what you'll need:
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 cup of chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup of salted pistachios - I used these pistachios. Having to open all these shells isn't as annoying as you might think.
- 2 whole eggs
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup of butter
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla - try making your own sometime
- I skipped the salt form the original recipe because the pistachios are already so salty. If you want to add the 3/4 teaspoon of salt because you like the contrast, feel free to add it in.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°
- Mix up white and brown sugar with butter. This is when I like to smush it around the most with my hands. At this point it's not too sticky because there aren't any eggs in the mix yet. So go ahead and blend it until you can't see the butter chunks at all anymore.
- Mix in eggs and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl mix up flour, baking soda, and salt, if you're using it. I always do this because you don't want chunks of salt of baking soda concentrated all into one cookie.
- Mix dry ingredients in with wet ingredients.
- Once it's all mixed together nicely and looks like super sticky cookie dough, go ahead and fold in chocolate chips and pistachios.
- Place the mix into a greased 13 x 9 baking sheet. Don't worry if your dough doesn't spread all the way to the ends of the pan. Mine was at least 1/2 inch away and after 5 minutes in the oven it spread out perfectly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Mine came out perfect after 27 minutes in the oven. You want them to look golden brown on top, make extra sure the center looks cooked. They'll be a little soft when they first come out of the oven, but will reach the perfect chewy texture after about an hour of standing.
Enjoy your cookies and if you're interested in buying any prints make sure to go see my new Etsy store.