Graduation is today. Notice the lack of an exclamation point.
I’ve never felt so incredibly underwhelmed about graduation. It is likely due to the fact that after every previous graduation (highschool and undergrad) I had the next step solidified, but now I am in limbo. It is a very helpless feeling not knowing whether you will get a job soon, where you are going to live, or how you are going to pay your bills. I am in a constant state of (barely) subdued panic. Of course my family has offered to take me in during my down time but I can’t expect them to pay my bills too (as I will likely need to rent a storage unit until I know where I am moving). Thankfully, I have been saving some money over the course of my 6.5 years in grad school and am hoping it’ll be help tide me over. Definitely not enough to live off of for longer than a month though. Transitioning to the real world stinks.
Also, despite the fact that I have been looking forward to moving out of Memphis for years I am now not liking the idea of leaving. Driving into lab the other day it struck me hard that all the people and things I love about Memphis will soon no longer be at my finger tips. Eventually I hope to be moving closer to those that I had previously moved further away from, but it doesn’t change the fact that moving sucks. I’ve been here for 6.5 years and it feels like I am being suddenly removed and my day-to-day life is about to implode. All of these realizations have been putting a damper on my ability to be excited about graduation. (Although I must admit it’s been hard not to flap my wings around like a bird in my graduation regalia – such huge sleeves!)
As a distraction, I have been working on perfecting my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for quite some time now. I nailed it a couple weeks ago but had to remake them because my friends inhaled them when they were in town visiting – a good sign though! And probably a smart idea to make sure I could reproduce them anyway. What did I do differently than in the past? I made some small changes that didn’t effect them too much such as reducing the brown sugar down to 1 cup and increasing the white to 1/2 cup. I have alternated between this and the original and haven’t noticed much difference. I also used mini semisweet chocolate chips instead of a mix of the regular sized ones, but type doesn’t matter it’s the quantity. I did notice however that when I once made these with only 2 cups (instead of the usual 3) they spread out more. The chocolate must aid in binding the dough together. I also felt like I got more consistent results using silicone baking mats versus parchment paper, but not drastic enough to swear off parchment.
The biggest changes came with refrigeration and the bake time. I refrigerate this dough for at least 24 hours and have had great results even after being in there for a week! The next tricks are to make the dough balls slightly taller than wide, to reduce spreading, and finally – underbake! They will be very soft to the point that if you try to move them off the cookie sheet right away they will mush up. Be patient and let them cool for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Finally, I found that they were even better the second day after being sealed in an air-tight container.
Two years ago: Ron’s Chili
Three years ago: Oven-Fried Onion Rings
CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg + 1 yolk, room temperature
3 cups mini or regular semisweet chocolate chips (or 1 cup each semisweet, peanut butter, and white chocolate chips)
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients in three batches until just blended. Fold in the chips by hand.
- Rolls 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball that is slightly taller than wide and place on a plate or tray. Cover tightly and chill for at least 2 hours, but overnight for best results (I’ve refrigerated for up to a week).
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with silicone baking mats (or parchment paper); set aside.
- Place cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 8 minutes or until edges are barely golden (will look underbaked). Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Source: Adapted slightly from my Big, Fat, Chewy Multichip cookies.