I wanted to use a different title; the real title, but I feared I might throw some of you off. The truth is: I have lice.*
After a whirlwind week of dealing with one kid with strep, another with sleep issues and teething and a husband out of town, let’s be honest: the last thing I needed was lice. I mean…really?
After I realized why my head had been itching with increasing intensity since Monday (for the record I thought I had bug bites from working in the garden) I decided to head to CVS, kids in tow (and after therapy of course) to buy some scary chemicals to put in my hair. What I had not planned on was the fact that I was alone with no other adults around. Let me tell you–I’m guessing treating oneself for lice has about a 40% efficacy rate, considering that you are literally supposed to go through your hair with a fine-toothed comb. Speaking of that…have you any idea how many common expressions come from lice infestations? That’s one, then there’s “de-lousing” an object (singular of lice is louse), “nit-picking”…I mean who knew?
The bottom line is that I was home with four/six kids, without adult help. I did my best, then I just started getting really skeeved out. (I bet some of you are feeling the creepy crawlies right now, aren’t you?) Sorry not sorry:)
My good friend came around at about that time, took one look at me and said that I should have some wine. After Benedryl just made me drowsy and incapable of staying awake to watch the kiddos, wine sounded grand.
With wine in my hand, I began to calm down. I realized that lice is a truly first-world problem, that I wasn’t going to die, and that I should stop panicking. In fact, I was reminded of this when I read the handy literature that came with the treatment box. It read:
The Facts of Lice
Step 1: Don’t Panic.
I tend to have a fairly wry sense of humor, so this made me laugh. Lice can easily fall into the category of the real Facts of Life, or moreover, the understanding that stuff in life happens and there’s little to nothing we can do to control it. Case in point: I believe now that I actually got the lice on Mother’s Day! Touche and c’est la vie all wrapped up into one pretty little package.
Fast forward five minutes. The wine was helping, but I needed something more. Anytime I feel off, with idle hands and the need to get something done, I turn to my kitchen. You can measure how severe the situation is by what I make.
Savory foods & appetizers = not so bad.
Pastry = pretty bad.
I had remembered (back when life was relatively normal five hours before) that one of my favorite bloggers, Siri from siriouslydelicious and the Today Show, had recently posted an awesome looking cookie recipe. She even dared to say that it was the best one ever. That’s a fairly sirious accusation! But what else was I going to do? Go hug 20 friends? Nope. I decided I needed the moral support and comfort that only a cookie could bring, and that is exactly what I got.
Meet The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie I Have Made So Far.
Both recipes looked good, but I was at the mercy of what I had at home at the time so my recipe is a bit different. Also, I love it, so I’m glad I had to use what was in the pantry & fridge at the time.
I tried three different ways of baking the cookie, due to the fact that the NYT instructions for chilling the dough were very specific. I wanted my cookie NOW, so I baked in three different batches: one right away with the dough at room temperature, 1 after the dough had time to chill for 24 hours (going into the oven shaped, dough cold), and finally 1 with chilled dough that had come back to room temp. I even tried pressing one batch down with a spatula half-way through baking to make sure it flattened out properly.
Here’s what I found:
The best method is the one I detail below. I’ve left instructions for baking times based off of how “done” you like your cookies. At the end of the day, though, if you’ve got lice and you just want to make some damn good cookies while drinking your favorite glass of Pinot Noir, these are highly respectable going into the oven without any chilling necessary.
Recipe for The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies I Have Made So Far
- 3 2/3 cups minus 2 Tbsp unbleached, all-purpose flour (King Arthur from the red bag)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp (I always keep room temp butter on hand–and lots of it!)
- 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated vanilla sugar (empty vanilla bean pods float in my sugar always-read about it here)
- 2 large eggs (if cold, warmed in a hot water bath in a cereal bowl)
- 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle but any brand will work–let’s not be snooty)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Beat butter with sugar for five minutes.
- While sugar and butter are beating, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and whisk.
- Crack eggs into the bowl that you used to warm them (drain water first) and add eggs to sugar-butter mix while the mixer is on.
- Once combined, turn off the mixer, add the flour mix all at once and carefully turn the mixer back on, stirring the dough until it just comes together.
- Add the chocolate chips, stir to just barely combine, and bring bowl over to the counter. *
- *At this point you should wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours if you have time. If not, skip to step #8.
- Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or piece of nonstick parchment or oiled foil. Use a large cookie scoop (2-3 Tbsp size) and spoon out dough (six balls to a baking sheet).
- If using chilled dough, remove cold dough from fridge and cut into squares (3 Tbsp worth of dough approximately for each square).
- Roll in your hands to make them smooth and shapely, arrange in 2×3 rows and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt for all the cookies.
- Bake as follows: for underdone, cookie-dough type cookies, bake for 18 minutes. For soft cookies, bake for 22 minutes & for crunchy, crumbly, sandy cookies bake for 25 minutes. Remember to play around and adjust because everyone’s oven is different.
Now if only I could stop cringing at the sight of mere lint and life would be perfect, or far from it-let’s be honest, but at least lice-free.
*FOR THE RECORD: I wrote this post and then waited to publish so as not to scare anyone who saw me after too, too much. Ha! I am now lice-free (hooray!) and have been for some time. But if you’re ever alone, with lice and a whole mess o’ kids and you need help-please call me=)0