Today marks my 2-year anniversary of moving into my awesome downtown apartment. Crazy to think about that passage of time – how I’ve become more myself (I think), how I’ve lost a bit of weight, how I’ve become (maybe too) comfortable on my own, how my family unit has shifted, and how I can sit back and notice little changes I’ve made along the way.
Happy 2 years to me!
In other news, on Monday night I did something I hadn’t done before in this apartment: I made cookies. In fact, I made chocolate chip cookies to participate in a bake-off at my job on Tuesday.
I feel like my cookies are really good. But I was unsure how they would come out with this previously unused-to-bake-cookies oven. And then, as I began to prepare the dough, I realized another potentially fatal oversight: I no longer owned an electric mixer. I am still rather flabbergasted by this realization. I have always enjoyed baking, even if I don’t do it very often, so I am confused with myself as to what my thought process was when I chose to either a) not bring it with me in the move or b) donate it at some point before or since the move. I don’t have room for a standing mixer, but the handheld one was fine. That’s a mystery I may never solve.
But I powered on, thinking that if they didn’t turn out well, I wouldn’t take them to work. The first obstacle was the butter. It is supposed to be softened and then beaten with the sugar, then the eggs are added one at a time. To avoid the pain of my hand falling off trying to hand-beat softened butter, I just went ahead and melted it. The dough was soupy. I was worried.
By the time I added the flour, I was pretty sure these were not going to be my best effort. But when everything was mixed, and still slightly viscous, I put the whole bowl in the fridge in hopes that it would gain some stability.
I proceeded to bake the first batch. They didn’t look quite the way I’m used to them looking, but they tasted good. I kept going. The oven was running pretty hot, so I reduced the baking time. I think when all was said and done, I baked about 3 dozen cookies. I loaded them into containers and hoped for the best.
Tuesday morning, I took them into work, where my friend, Mike, had one after we got back from coffee. He was very complimentary (he actually had two). Then my boss, David, had one and he was not only complimentary but went on and on (as only he can do!) about the ratio of chips to dough and crisp edge to soft middle. I had one to test against my own standards, and I was happy with them, although still not totally pleased by their looks (too crinkled).
Right before the tasting contest, a guy from IT was helping me out, and I offered him one. He took one bite and asked for another. He also commented about the chip ratio and said they had a great flavor. He said he thought I should win.
Of course, I also had a running text conversation about every detail with my mom and sister which made it all the more fun.
All 10 contestants’ cookies were plated and numbered so no one knew whose was whose (except the gal who organized it). Because I am an admitted cookie snob, I didn’t taste nor did I vote. Cookies are a thing for me. I won’t just eat any random cookie (regardless of flavor). I have my (ridiculous) standards. It was good fun to see all my co-workers eating cookies and seriously considering taste, texture, etc. As they ate, we determined to have 2 categories: traditional and creative. This event was a first for us. We’ve done potlucks before but never a competition.
The organizer announced she’d tally the votes and send out an email with the winners. I had a meeting. It was a rather important one so I couldn’t just check my email randomly, but the second the meeting was over, I checked.
I was the winner!
Well, technically, I was a co-winner, getting the same number of votes in the traditional category as another contestant. BUT. In my head (and now for you to know), here’s how I see it. Everyone was supposed to vote for both categories. After the meeting, David was telling me that he had voted for #4 (I was #7). Well, #4 was the winner of the creative category. That baker had added orange zest & cinnamon to her cookies. So if David only voted for one cookie, his other vote would have gone to me based on his reaction to eating my cookies that morning. PLUS. My co-winner had used cashew powder in the cookies (not traditional!) AND the rumor I heard was that he didn’t actually do the baking, his wife did. SO.
Welcome to my “did Lardass have to pay to get in?” kind of mind. If you don’t get that reference, it’s from the movie “Stand by Me.” It’s a great scene with Gordie (Wil Wheaton) telling the story of how a boy (who people called Lardass) got revenge on his bullies in the form of blueberry pie-eating contest that ends up in a “complete and total barf-o-rama.” After he tells the story, Vern (Jerry O’Connell – who grew up super hot!), famously says this line. It’s something my ex repeatedly made fun of me for – coming up with these trivial questions or details that, to me, seem so important to the knowing of a story.
I was the winner!