As I sit on my stoop, shaking my cane at young whippersnappers and pigeons, embittered by how easy they have it today (pigeons especially), my mind drifts to a pithy thought:
“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint”
Hesiod, 8th century BC
You see, my brother is a sophomore in high school, and thus taking one of my all time favorite classes: AP European History. That's where it all started for me, my nerdiness. And like Samson's locks, my nerdiness gives me my strength, perceived or real. So when I find out my brother is A) not as taken with the Hapsburg Empire as I was (Oh Franz Joseph, will you never learn?!) and B) he gets to rewrite papers at the end of each quarter for a new grade, you could imagine my distress. Not over the Hapsburgs as much as this paper situation. Grace??? Mercy??? Who ARE these teachers? Second chances didn't exist for Napoleon, so why should they exist for sophomores? Wait...bad choice of comparison.
For the past week I've been helping my brother edit his papers for this quarterly grace period, and it has been difficult. Henry is a wonderful writer, so editing hasn't been the problem. It's the idea that he gets a second shot at something I had to have perfect and ready the first time. It's how the generation before "copy and paste" must've felt. It's how my dad probably feels when he sees me hit the delete key. "Ugh, I had to use charcoal from the hearth and write by candlelight! Imagine trying to delete that!" I think he used to grumble. But while Henry was working on his papers, I was working on my baking, and this idea of resubmitting for a new grade seemed surprisingly appropriate.
The thing is, I've never been in love with my chocolate chip cookie recipe. They're efficient and delicious, but not the earth shaking cookie monster craze inducing discs of joy I want. So, I've tinkered a bit, and have a new, improved recipe. These cookies are exactly what I want in a cookie. Indulgent, rich, buttery, perfect ratio of chewy to crunchy, and most important, chocolatey.
I've made a decision to cut my brother and myself a little slack and slouch off this curmudgeony attitude. Sorry Hesiod, but there's nothing wrong with a little innovation and progression, especially if it leads to reflection and growth. So, for a second grade, I've revisited the classic Chocolate Chip Cookies. Here's hoping I've raised my B+ to and A+!
For 2 - 3 dozen cookies
8 oz butter, softened
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup dry oats (not the quick cooking kind)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, or semi sweet chocolate, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a food processor pulse the oats until very fine. In a mixer, cream the butter with the sugars on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla extract until pale. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, adding the oats, and beat into the butter mixture at low speed until just incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and continue beating until mixed. Drop medium sized balls (1-2 oz) of cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Allow to cool for a minute or two (if you can!) and enjoy.