So, your spouse/child/roommate/classmate/self has requested that you make authentic chocolate chip cookies (i.e. NOT chopped Dove cookies). While your cosmic twin expends virtually no effort opening a pack of break-n-bakes in Alternative Universe America, you’ll be whipping up a batch of homemade cookies with only a couple months of advance planning! Follow these easy steps.
Step 1 – Make Your Plan for Acquiring the Chocolate Chips
Start this about two months in advance. Options include having your mom send them in a care package (if it’s not summer) or picking up a pack during your upcoming visa run to Hong Kong.
Step 2 – Make Your Plan for Acquiring the Butter
You may only need a couple of weeks for this one. You could go with ordering on Taobao (be sure to put a Styrofoam shipping box in your cart, too), seeing if there’s enough foreigners to go in on a pifa order, or, you could make multiple trips to the supermarket, allowing for all the trips when they are out of butter, again.
Step 3 – Acquire Baking Powder
You can use local if don’t mind the funky vanillin scent. Otherwise, Mom/Hong Kong/Taobao.
Step 4 – Kill the Weevils
Freeze the flour to kill the weevils and their eggs. Sift all the carnage out.
Step 5 – Crush the Brown Sugar Chunks
If you think back far enough, you might remember living in a country where the brown sugar is mostly lump-free. But you’re not there now, sweetie, so get to work eliminating those crystalline rocks.
Step 6 – Wash the Eggs
Some people like to add walnuts, some people like to add M&Ms, but NO ONE likes the addition of poo or feathers.
Step 7 – Soften the Butter
If it’s winter, this may involve wearing the block of butter zipped inside your multiple layers of clothing in order to make use of your body heat. “Room temperature” is relative, friends.
Step 8 – Mental Math Gymnastics
Let’s see, 1 cup of butter (a measure of volume) equals how many grams (a measure of weight)?
Step 9 – Start Mixing!
You finally have all your ingredients purchased, measured, and ready to mix! Get out your hand mixer, plug that puppy in, and…
Step 10 – Stop Mixing!
But then the power goes out. Hmmm….switch to a wooden spoon, or hope this outage doesn’t last long?
Step 11 – Resume Mixing!
The power comes back on, and you rush back into action, hoping it will stay on long enough to both mix the dough and bake all the batches of cookies.
Step 12 – Bake the First Tray
No need to preheat the oven since it’s the size of a high schooler’s backpack. So, hey, that saved you a step! (You remembered to convert the baking temp in Step 8, right?)
Step 13 – Bake the Rest
Since you can only fit one small tray in at a time, this will take much longer than when you could fit multiple full-size cookie sheets in an oven. Upside is that your kitchen will smell like cookies for that much longer.
Step 14 – Enjoy
Finally! After two months of planning and lots of hard work, the cookies are ready!
Wait, you want a glass of ice-cold milk with those? Hmmm…that’s going to take a little more planning.
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September 9, 2015 at 11:19 pm
Great post. Sending you some of Dave’s awesome cookies by the next post. Just dunk in your tea to regain that soft just-baked texture.
September 10, 2015 at 8:32 am
September 11, 2015 at 11:10 am
Real, imported chocolate chips can be purchased at a foreign goods store for only $7 USD. Not to be found at the pifa though.
September 11, 2015 at 11:26 am
Carol, that’s great that you can get real chocolate chips at your foreign import store. Makes things a lot easier, though not cheaper.
September 11, 2015 at 3:12 pm
Haha! This made me laugh so hard. You write my life! 🙂
September 11, 2015 at 4:51 pm
Thanks, Samantha! Glad you can relate. 🙂
September 16, 2015 at 2:50 pm
This made my day. Subscribing.
September 16, 2015 at 3:59 pm
And you subscribing made MY day, ErinMP! 🙂 Thank you!
September 8, 2016 at 5:51 am
I visited my son in China a couple of summers ago. I learned some of those lessons the hard way. Just wish I’d crammed the suitcase full of chocolate chips to give to his co-workers!!!
September 8, 2016 at 7:03 pm
Thank you, Ann. There’s nothing like first-hand experience as a teacher, but feel free to share this with friends you know who will visit China, and ask them to bring chocolate chips! 🙂