I’m just going to say it…
Chocolate Chip Cookies.
There is NO ONE PERFECT RECIPE.
Just like there is no one perfect pair of shoes, no one perfect car, no perfect mate, no one perfect place to live.
Because we are all different.
Our tastes are different. Our histories are different. Your brand of delicious may not be mine, and mine is possibly not yours.
But, we can all agree – Chocolate Chip Cookies are GOOD.
I fear this post may be long, so do bear with me. It has been ages since I have written from the heart. In fact, it has been ages when I felt like writing at ALL, and if you are a regular here, or used to be, I can’t thank you enough for sticking with me these past few months. These months when I have had little offer in the way of conversation, other than a recipe or two.
I used to be ME here.
I used to tell you about my life, and in the comments, you’d tell me about yours. And we became friends. I’ve met many of you, and I can call you up, or email, or text, or tweet, and we are friends.
But I’ve been quiet for a reason. Lots of reasons, actually. But one in particular.
I’m not me anymore.
Or maybe I am, for the first time in a long time.
As I write this, there are boxes of my things upstairs, packed into stacks. My closets are bare – my clothes stuffed away. I’ve started packing my trinkets, my kitchen appliances and spoons, whisks. I sold my house.
The very first house I ever owned, across from my grandparents, just a minute or so from my parents house. The house that I know from the inside out, literally, as I helped rip its walls off to gut it. I know the creaks and how the water shakes in the toilets when the wind is ferocious. I brought my baby here from the hospital. I have a door with his heights marked.
I sold my house. To Jon.
After 23 years together, it is time to admit that we are better off as friends than spouses. We are better off sharing Seven and not our lives. I grew up, it seems, with Jon, and I am so thankful for that. He is a great man, a great friend. He tried to love me the best he knew how, and I him, but in the end, it never seemed we were on the same page. No one is to blame. There is no fault. We are doing the best we can, and I hope things can stay as cordial and friendly as they are now. We want the best for our son. I want the best for my son.
So, I am moving.
I’ve never lived anywhere but here. From where I sit, I can be to every place I have ever called my home within 20 minutes. For 41 years, THIS is where I fit in…or tried to. And now, I am moving 1000 miles away. I am scared. Anxious, excited, but scared more than I care to admit.
It has taken a lot of soul searching. A lot of anguish. A lot of doubt, and then resilience, and more doubt, but I am ready. For too long, I have been living a half life. A life where other than being alive and well, I was unhappy to wake up in the morning. I didn’t laugh, or smile. I took jobs away from home just to breathe. No one was making me miserable, no one was to blame. It was me. I wasn’t going to get better, not without changing.
That change found ME.
Last year I met someone who made me smile. I felt a weight lifted, and I felt like the me I used to know. I’m not sure how long I had been missing – have you ever felt like that? Like you didn’t even know the sun had been behind the clouds until it popped out and warmed your skin again?
I felt like that.
So for the past six months, I have been sharing my life with this man, in Texas, where we just purchased a house. Tomorrow I leave for there, my last "Trip" before I officially move all of my things. We’ve opted to make some changes to the house to make it our own, so this next month will give us the time to do those things, as well as allow me the time to get everything packed, and now that I think of it, give me time to change my outdated About Page.
Will I be taking Seven?
That’s the biggest struggle of all.
Seven is my favorite thing in the world. He’s brilliant and witty and loves good music. He’s a terror and a BOY and he’s the damned sweetest thing you could ever want to sleep beside. And while I would LOVE to take him with me -as I know there are so many opportunities for him where I will be living, right now, I’m not taking him. He will summer with us there, in the new house, and hopefully he will feel at home and make friends and just get used to the fact that his parents are no longer a couple. He seems to get it already, as Jon and I have been apart for quite some time, but – I don’t want to assume or push. Once the summer is over, he will be coming back to Virginia for his 4th grade year, and I will fly back every 2 weeks to stay for half the month. He will fly to me as often as possible as well, but for now – he stays in Virginia.
This does break my heart.
On the flip side, it would break my heart worse to take him away from his very good and loving dad. It would pain me to know he couldn’t be with his Mommaw and Poppy (my parents) as I know how much I loved my grandparents and how much I miss them. I can’t just rob my son of these wonderful people, and Jon and my parents of him. I can share. I will share. It hurts, but I feel for now, until I am settled and he is old enough to make his own choice on where to live, Virginia is the best option, and I will bounce back and forth versus making HIM bounce back and forth.
Before it happened to me, I would have balked at the idea of a mother ever leaving her child. Same as with the idea of a spouse having an affair – no one REALLY knows what they would do until it actually happens to THEM. I weighed the options. I looked at it from all the angles. I struggled, I fought with myself. And it boiled down to me preferring my son have a happy, loving, affectionate mother who he spent 70% of his time with, versus an unhappy, angry, quick tempered mom 100% of the time. I want him to see his mom in love, and smiling. A mom who doesn’t run off to conferences or blogger events for the sheer opportunity of being away.
I want my child to know that I can be happy. That I AM happy.
And I made sacrifices to do just that.
Do I hope that next year he will come live with me? Yes I do. But I won’t push it. I will ask when the time comes, and I will hope. That’s all I can do. But even still, should he choose Texas, I will be the mom who drags him back to Virginia every single chance I get because he deserves two parents. He has TWO. l pray there is a happy ending for all of us. I pray that my family understands, that I retreat into myself because I fear their disappointment. It’s easier to hide than to know I disappointed anyone.
SO… what does this have to do with cookies?
These cookies are the first recipe I made while in Texas. I made them for the man who has taught me to smile again, the man that warms my heart like the sun warms my shoulders. I made them to prove I can still work. That I can find the me I used to be.
I started with what Bon Appetit Magazine called a perfect recipe, and I wanted perfect. I filled them with different types of chocolate – hoping to find the ingredients that appeal to some of all of us.
That’s what made me stop to think – there is no perfect.
There is only the hope of perfection, and the recipe that will please the majority of us.
At the end of the day though, choose what makes YOU happy. If it’s milk chocolate, do it. If it’s dark, okay. If it’s undercooked, underbake them. Make YOURSELF happy. If your face lights up with a single bite, you have found the perfect cookie. Don’t make them for everyone else, but do share.
Everyone else will eat them anyway.
Buttery Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes 18 large cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch ground coffee
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 ounce best quality dark chocolate bar, chopped
- 5 ounces milk chocolate chips
- 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Flaky sea salt, to top
- Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or Sil-Pat. Set aside.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and coffee in a medium bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the sugars until well combined and fluffy. Add the yolks and egg one at a time, scraping the bowl as you go. Add in vanilla and stir to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients in slowly – do not overmix. Add in the chopped chocolate and chips until uniform.
- Scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet and leave heaped. Sprinkle with flaked salt. Cookies will spread as they bake. Bake for 8-11 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from pan. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.
- Keep sealed in air tight container until ready to eat.
PS: I’ll introduce you to Mr. Texas at some point. Not everyone choose to live their life online, and I don’t want to drag him out here yet…let’s let him get used to me first. Hopefully he will. 🙂