Happy Blogiversary to Me!

You might have heard me mention the boots my BFF bought me for a penny. Ask and ye shall receive: here they are!

You might have heard me mention the boots my BFF bought me for a penny. You wanted a photo. Ask and ye shall receive: here they are!

Miles run yesterday: 4.5

Passwords computer programs expect us to remember:59

Chapters my writing group has critiqued in my novel: 19

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Shoot. Someone’s already done that.

Anyway, happy blogiversary to me! It’s been one year since I started posting at Writing by the Numbers, and I really appreciate everyone who has climbed aboard for the ride. Thank you for reading!

I never thought I would blog or share so many details about my life or get to know so many virtual people.

This year, I have blogged about:

how to make the best chocolate chip cookies,

how lightning struck our TV,

how my son was starting middle school,

how my daughter persuaded me to wear dresses,

how I surprised my mom when I was 5,

how I touched a strange woman’s bathing suit,

how I got all ninja on an imagined carjacker,

how ennui and pee go together,

how we should write real letters more often,

how the world could end, and

how I managed to lock myself both out of and into a variety of places.

I also turned 40, wrote a draft of a novel, started looking for a full-time job and ran many, many miles. (I should have kept a better account of that.)

I have enjoyed getting to know those of you whose blogs I visit regularly, and I appreciate the comments and support you have shown to my blog. If there is something you would like for me to write about more (or less), feel free to drop me a line.

And if you are reading this, give yourself a pat on the back. You are an awesome individual.

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Tips for Making the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World

Not perfect. But still the best in the world.

Chocolate chips eaten in the writing of this blog: 12 25 31

Cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the best recipe: a heaping 2

Cookies you must give away out of each recipe so you don’t balloon up and negate all benefits of exercise: 16

Here I am, saving the world, one chocolate chip cookie at a time. This is my Valentine’s Day gift to you, my five loyal readers. Love and happiness be yours today!

To gain something from this post, you must trust me. You can’t actually taste these cookies through the computer, but I assure you they are good. Very good. So good, in fact, that you do not need to do what I see people doing all over the place… searching for “the perfect” chocolate chip cookie recipe. As in most great children’s books, the recipe is already within your grasp. Please, just go look at the back of a bag of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips. The pure and true chocolate chip recipe is right there. I promise.

Now, you may want to substitute in some really amazing chocolate. That’s fine. No problem. But you will want to follow along on the back of the bag as I break down the best ways to bake a perfect wonderful batch. Here are my tips, from the ingredients to the execution of the recipe:

1. Use salted butter. I am not advocating a high-sodium lifestyle. I do not want anyone to drop over, lifeless, after following my explicit instructions. But trust me, going against the recipe’s “unsalted” butter may be the best thing you ever do.

2. Use 2 heaping cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Don’t be a perfectionist (more on that below). Add a few extra chips. Your friends will thank you. I will say, however, I once went overboard with the chips, and they lost all structural integrity. Two heaping cups, not three cups, folks.

3. Get rid of your perfect, new cookie sheets. In fact, get rid of your perfectionistic tendencies, period. I’ve watched several people attempt chocolate chip cookies. They’re usually disappointed. One thing I’ve noticed: you can’t be a perfectionist. This type of cookie is perfectionist-averse. Brand new cookie sheets are slippery, and the cookie dough just spreads right out, making a flat, thin, lifeless cookie. Use your oldest cookie sheet that you don’t want your friends to see, like the underwear you save for when your spouse goes out of town and you can just lounge around on the bed eating cookies and watching “Say Yes to the Dress” marathons. The cookies will grip the sheet and hold their shape better.

4. Don’t overmix your dough. If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, use the paddle attachment, not the whisk. You’re not whipping up egg whites, you’re gently mixing cookie dough.

And once you’ve added the dry ingredients, only mix the dough until everything is just combined. Again, now is not the time to be a perfectionist. The flour does not like to be beaten to a pulp. It likes a gentle back rub; easy does it. Thick and lumpy: good. Smooth as a baby’s bottom: bad.

5. Pile the tablespoon full of dough on the sheet in a rough tower. Do not, I repeat, do not roll the dough around in your hands and try to make a perfect circle of perfection. It may work for some perfect Martha Stewart-bot out there, but trust me, it doesn’t work for the rest of us. Leave the rough edges of the dough alone. It will keep the cookie from flattening out as it bakes.

6. Take the cookies out of the oven before they look done. Many, many people make the mistake of waiting until the cookies look completely cooked through before removing them from the oven. This will leave you with tough, flat cookies instead of the cakey, puffy cookies I know you want. Ignore all intuitive feelings about waiting. This is one instance where you will be rewarded for taking quick and decisive action.

7. Try to avoid eating them all by yourself. I know… tempting. But you could make some cookie-deprived friends very, very happy.

Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all!