Two-Word Love Story
Bear hug. Bubble bath. Road trip. Fresh flowers. Date night. New book.
Mine is warm cookie.
I love cookies. I’ve always had a stash of store-bought ones safely tucked away in the freezer, ready to be heated in the microwave or toaster oven whenever I needed a bite. And, throughout the years, I’ve realized that I often want one during particularly bad days. Some people turn to retail therapy, others to binge-watching TV shows. I turn to cookies for comfort.
The past few months, I’ve noticed that I’ve been having one cookie too many. To say that I am stressed is an understatement. I’m anxious about a lot of stuff: from things as mundane as a growing to-do list and the clutter that’s taking over our home, to thoughts as deep as being a good mother and leaving a legacy. These hang like a huge raincloud over my head, nary a rainbow in sight. And on those days, I don’t like myself much.
Except when I pull a cookie from my stash and sit down to enjoy my treat. With my mouth stuffed with warm, sweet crumbs and a sip of strong, milky coffee, I say goodbye to my worries, if only for a few minutes. I find that after indulging, I feel like myself again and have newfound energy to soldier on. Maybe it's from the sugar rush or from the caffeine kicking in. Or maybe it’s because of the few minutes of solid R&R. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that I’ve carved out a precious pocket of me-time in an otherwise frazzled day.
I thought nothing could beat my ever reliable, ready-in-a-jiffy frozen cookie-caffeine buzz combo. That is until one of my food blogger friends introduced me to the wonder that is frozen cookie dough.
She would have a batch of rolled out dough in the freezer, waiting for when her kids’ craving would strike, so that all she’d have to do is line up the frozen balls on a cookie sheet and bake them in the preheated oven. Hello, freshly baked cookies in 15 minutes! If you think about it, frozen cookie dough is a lifesaver: Kids coming over for a visit? No problem! Need a birthday gift for teacher’s birthday tomorrow? No sweat. Impromptu potluck dinner with friends? Let’s go. And in my case, bad day looming ahead? Bring it on.
It’s fairly easy. First, prepare the dough using your favorite cookie recipe. (Note that not all cookie doughs freeze well. Use doughs with a lot of butter or fat in them like shortbread and drop cookies—think chocolate chip, crinkles, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter cookies. Delicate cookie doughs like madeleines and macarons don’t freeze well.) Next, scoop the dough out using an ice cream scooper or spoon, roll the scooped up dough into balls, place them on a plate or baking sheet, then chill them in the fridge for an hour or two. Finally, put the dough balls in a zip-top bag and pop them in the freezer. (Don’t forget to label the bags.) When you want a cookie (or two or three), just take the frozen dough and bake as directed. It’s minimum effort for maximum gratification. Why take the extra steps to freeze my own dough, you might ask? Because there’s a world of difference between a freshly baked cookie and a reheated frozen store-bought one.
These days, when I’ve got the blues and don’t feel quite like myself, I take a time out, bake a frozen dough ball in the toaster oven, and I’m on my way to cookie bliss. I sit down with my favorite Vietnamese iced coffee, savor the cookie’s crunchy edges and gooey molten chocolate chunks, and feel my worries melt away. At that point in time, all that matters is how yummy the cookie is and how happy I am to be well enough to enjoy it. I start to count my blessings and realize that I have everything I need in the world, and that all that matters is now. Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Now. That’s the power of my warm cookie, of my two-word love story.
So, it’s important for you, too, to have your own—movie marathon, clean house, online shopping, beach getaway—because maybe, just like me, all you might need is one warm cookie to love yourself again. — Paulynn Chang Afable
Cookie Dough Recipe
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
Step 2: Beat the brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, yogurt and vanilla extract with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until well incorporated. (Turn off the beaters and use your hands to help combine if needed.) Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula or mix them in with your hands.
Step 3: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Microwaving the flour to 180 degrees F may reduce the risk of foodborne illness associated with eating it raw or undercooked. This eggless dough can also be baked. Roll tablespoons of the dough into balls. Space evenly out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until the bottoms are golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Recipe Source: The Food Network
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