Chocolate Chip Cookie Escapade
As the unmarried sister, I was known to last only a few hours, max, with a gaggle of children. All five of the young'uns were entrusted to my care while the parents went off Christmas shopping.
The youngest was in love with my Irish Setter, who shared my low tolerance for the attentions of avid, but overly enthusiastic youngsters. To escape, she crawled behind the couch. So did my youngest sister's youngest. Unlike my "child", he was unable to crawl out the other side successfully. The couch was old, but solid. By the time I had him extricated, he was in tears.
"I know what would make him stop crying, Auntie," proclaimed a sincere four-year-old pixie.
When I gave her my attention, she continued, "Cookies and milk."
Doubtfully, I confided, "We have the milk, but no treats before supper."
The oldest, who had scooted a chair over beside the counter, announced matter-of-factly, "The cookie jar is empty."
The blue eyed four year old tugged on my sweat shirt. "We could bake cookies."
Doubt covered my face.
"I'm my mother's little helper. We do it all the time," she cajoled winfully.
"Uh... No, Chris! You'll fall!" Grabbing the boy by the back of the t-shirt as he dangled face down into the space behind the couch, I noted that my dog was again there. The youngest was crawling toward her. Another cheery young face blocked her usual avenue of escape, so she headed sideways on underneath.
Foreboding flushed my face.
"Cookies," pronounced the pixie. "If you and I bake cookies, everyone will settle down and watch cartoons," proclaimed the future politician.
The oldest held up the "Bambi" VHS tape they'd all uniformly rejected not five minutes earlier as too boring. Watching my eyes to see if the deal was on or off as I stood a suddenly cooperative Chris upright on the floor and Andy backed out from behind the couch under his own steam.
"Okay," I relented, "as long as you're SURE your mother lets you do this."
A chorus of assents echoed down the basement stairs as they trouped to the TV and popped the tape in the VCR.
"I’m known in the family for making a pretty mean chocolate chip cookie. Of course, we all use the TollHouse recipe on the back of the bittersweet chocolate chips, but once as children, I accidentally got distracted as I was pouring vanilla into the shortening and eggs. How much did I use? Tip the open bottle over the bowl about as long as it takes you to turn your head, then turn it back. I can attest, everyone will notice the difference. For years, I wouldn’t tell the “secret”. Who wants to admit that their vaunted “expertise” is nothing more than an accident?
Toni and I proceeded into the kitchen, where she scooted the chair over to a bare spot on the counter and began to climb up.
“First you gots to get out the right stuff,” the blond haired tot announced gravely surveying the strange kitchen of the third sister in the triumvirate of which I am the eldest, and her mother the middle one.
Opening cabinet door after door, drawer after drawer produced a bowl, measuring cups and spoons, mixing spoons, spatulas, canisters of flour, and granulated sugar, baking soda, a bottle of vanilla, a container of Morton’s table salt, the all important Toll House chocolate chips, but no brown sugar. (Call Lou to see if she can remember where she kept it in Country Club Manor. I pick up the phone to dial, glance at the clock. 4 a.m. zzzz Done at 9:45 the next evening so I didn't wake her up. Turns out, she was awake last night at 4, but asleep early the next night... Just her bad luck! She claims she kept it in the same cabinette as the white sugar and the flour - above the dish washer with the cutting board top. So, why couldn't we find it? I've forgotten the details, just remember that it was a problem. I don't remember having eye trouble back that far...)
Much egg cracking, butter blending, flour fluffing, and ingredient mixing ensued until at long last, a batch perfect chocolate chip circles decorated the tabletop.
Returning to the scene of the crime, I filled the sink with warm, soapy water, plunged in the empty bowl and spatula, then glanced over my shoulder. Not a tyke in sight, but the last cookie on the very edge of the table, the one closest to the living room, had disappeared.
"No snacks before a meal," I hopefully announced to the empty air as I moved cookies onto the table, beginning with the easiest spot to reach - the edge of the table.
The buzzer rang, promptly producing Toni. Back on her chair, she scooped more dough onto the cookie sheet, precisely spacing them across the front. I rotated the sheet so that she could reach, then we carefully placed it just so in the oven as I steadied her with one arm.
When the buzzer next went off, the end cookie had again disappeared. In a bit more angry voice, I griped, “Who won’t be hungry at supper tonight?” vowing to keep a closer eye on the table, since I’d now failed twice to catch the guilty culprit.
When the bowl was finally empty, both it and the spatula found their way into the cooling water.
By the time we’d finished the baking, the entire tabletop was nearly completely covered with delicious looking cookies, not a burned one in the bunch. The only negative other than the flour coated four year old and pile of dirty dishes and pans in the sink nearly double the normal amount I’d have used to do the deed alone - a total of five cookies had disappeared. But on the fifth, I finally caught the thief in the act.
Talk about feeling chagrin! “Look, Auntie! Your dog likes chocolate chip cookies! Her neck’s so long she can sit still by the end of the table and lick off the corner one as soon as it cools!”
(Text from Mac Pro now colated with the MacBook Pro version.)