They say hindsight is 20/20. I believe this to be true.
They say if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I also believe this to be true.
They say if you use the right ingredients, your cookies will be delicious.
OK, that one I made up. But you know what? It’s true!
Every year about this time, I get the urge to make my Nana’s vegetable soup and bake cookies. I tend to only do this – make soup and bake cookies – in the dead of winter. I have no idea why this is, but when the urge hits, I just go with it. Usually, I stick to chocolate chip cookies. Because my chocolate chip cookies are awesome. They’re so awesome that an ex-boyfriend who broke my heart into a million pieces and then stomped those pieces into a bloody pulp once called me clear out of the blue to ask what the secret ingredient was for my chocolate chip cookies. Because he was making them and they “just didn’t taste right.”
There is no secret ingredient to my chocolate chip cookies. I just follow the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House bag of chocolate chips. But he didn’t need to know that. So, I told him he wasn’t worthy of my secret ingredient and hung up.
And that, my friends, is what they call closure.
But this year? This year, in addition to making my awesome chocolate chip cookies, I was also determined to conquer the Crinkle.
Immediately following my initial Chocolate Crinkle Cookie disaster, I had determined the oil was to blame. The recipe called for vegetable; I’d used canola. I would not make the same mistake twice. If the recipe demanded liquid lard then, by God, liquid lard it would be. Clearly, certain cookies weren’t meant to be made healthier.
But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d done something else wrong. And I thought it might have involved using four full bars of unsweetened chocolate when the recipe called for four squares. I had a sneaking suspicion that a “bar” did not equal a “square.”
But as I once again stood in the baking aisle of my supermarket pouring over the racks of different baking chocolates, I once again felt confusion – not to mention a frustrating sense of deja vu – stealing over me. This time I had, in fact, seen the boxes of unsweetened baking chocolate squares that screamed “8 INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED 1oz SQUARES!” (It was almost as if they were taunting me. And I swear, they weren’t there the last time.) But four 1oz squares just didn’t seem like a lot of chocolate for a recipe whose very essence was its chocolate-ness. I mean, it’s even in the title: Chocolate friggin’ Crinkle Cookies!
So, I did what any normal accomplished cook who can read a recipe and has a modicum of common sense would do. First, I stood there in front of the chocolates and carried on an internal argument with myself over whether these baking squares were indeed the baking squares I needed. Then I called my mom, whose recipe I was using, and argued with her about the same thing. Then finally, I heaved a big sigh and bought the damn squares.
I went home, made the dough (using all the correct ingredients), and stuck it in the fridge to chill overnight. And when I retrieved it the following morning, it looked considerably more cookie dough-like than my last sludgey concoction. Witness, a side-by-side comparison:
The dough on the right looks more appetizing, yes? It was also much easier to form into balls to roll in powdered sugar.
With my first cookie sheet filled with perfect little balls of what I sincerely hoped was powdered chocolatey goodness, I slid it in the oven. After three minutes, I couldn’t stand the anticipation anymore and took a peek. Nothing had really happened. After that, I was too scared to look again until the timer beeped and the cookies were ready to come out. And when they did…
Four more batches yielded the same ideal outcome. Success! I was so happy. And I wasn’t the only one.
Yes, The Hubs finally got his cookies. The world will rest easier tonight.
Bottom line? If you want to make Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, then I recommend using vegetable oil and four 1oz squares of unsweetened baking chocolate. If, however, you would like to create a lifetime adhesive for your dentures (it tastes like chocolate!), a substance with which to lay the foundation for a very sturdy house, or a lethal weapon that could crush a human skull with one blow upside the head, then mix a half cup of canola oil and four whole bars of Hershey’s unsweetened chocolate with sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.