baking history :: not chocolate chip {life}

cookie and crumb.jpg

Something has changed for me and baking. Look, I'm not a baker (that's my mom) and I never will be, but I have had a bit of a shift in my baking kitchen. Before, baking felt like such a production to me. All that precision and the measuring and the flour and vanilla extract (Don't get me wrong, I love vanilla extract.). It felt like lots of moving parts and bits and pieces spread out across the kitchen island and lots of steps in the recipe and dishes to clean up after. Dishes for Neel to clean up after.

Like I said, a production.

But things have shifted a bit somehow. Before, baking was never something I would have attempted without much forethought, after dinner when the dishes were done and put away. Not on a weeknight when the homework was heavy and the evening was drawing close. You can't start a production when the day is nearly done, can you? It's different with these cookies. Brown Sugar Spice Cookies. Well. There you have it. Adapted from a recipe by Joy the Baker, these cookies have been described as being like Toll House Cookies without the chocolate chips. The dough always was the best part, really. That molasses-ey taste of brown sugar. And the spice? Cinnamon and ginger. That is all. Just another layer of flavor that shows that these are not your average cookie.

The first batch I made were perfect. For me and Neel, at least. Just a hint of sweet, they were more spice cookies than sugar cookies. Cal noted the difference and was less impressed. Oh, he ate them, but. They could have been sweeter, I guess.

So last week, once the dishes were done and the evening was dark upon us and the only sound was the scratch of Cal's pencil on his algebra homework, I said, "Maybe I should make cookies." And then I looked at the clock, saw that it was after 8 PM, and decided I was tired. And Callum said, quietly, "Oh."

Well. These cookies might just be worth pulling out the mixing bowls and the flour and the eggs, even on a week night.

Especially on a weeknight.

And when I went to make them sweeter, I knew I still didn't want them too sweet. I'm not a fan of fruit in cookies, so that eliminated raisins or cranberries. Chocolate chips would, I thought, overwhelm the spice. Too much sweet. But toffee? Now maybe we're onto something. A little nutty, a little sweet, toffee bits might be the perfect addition to our Brown Sugar Spice Cookies.

Turns out it was.

Brown Sugar Spice Cookies, adapted from Joy the Baker

2 C all-purpose flour

2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t ground ginger

1.5 sticks (6 oz.) butter (I used salted), softened

1 1/4 C brown sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1 egg

1/4 C or more, toffee chips, depending on taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a stand or hand-held mixed, blend butter and and sugar until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl, and then add the egg and vanilla extract before blending one minute more. Once blended, add the dry ingredients all at once to the butter and sugar. Blend on low speed incorporating all of the flour. Once the flour disappears, add the toffee chips and blend the rest of the way with a spoon or spatula.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This will make the dough easier to work with.

Using baking pans lined with parchment paper, drop tablespoon size balls of dough onto the sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Cool in the pan for 3-5 minutes and transfer to a wire wrack to cool completely.

They'll keep (unless you have boys) for about 5 days in an airtight container.

One last note, we're not gluten free, so it's pretty obvious that this recipe isn't either. Because we aren't I haven't paid much attention to what goes into modifying recipies to make them gluten-free for all my dear friends who are cutting gluten out of their own diets or those of their kids (I'm looking at you, Christine!). If you have any suggestions for me, pass them along and I'll do my best to incorporate, but remember, I'm no expert!

Oh, and you guys know I baked cookies just so I could play with my new lens, right?