The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday September 19th 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman. This column also appeared in “The Shelbyville News”.
Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies
How is everyone holding up during these very odd and difficult times? What have you discovered about yourself, and others, during this season of quarantine? It seems like a lifetime ago that I first heard about COVID-19. I remember hearing about it vaguely in February and then the chatter started getting louder and louder as the weeks passed by. In the back of my mind, looking back now, I remember seeing what was happening in China and thinking, “this will happen here next.” I did not want to believe it, of course, but I knew that it was a real possibility. When I first started knowing that things were headed downhill, and fast, was the first part of March. I went grocery shopping on March 4th and things were getting a little dicey. You could not find any cleaning products whatsoever and paper supplies were limited. One week later, on my next grocery trip on March 11th, the shelves were empty. I am not talking about an empty shelf here and there; I am talking the stores being completely emptied. It was a feeling I do not think I will ever forget. I remember seeing the look of panic in everyone’s faces and the eerie vibe everyone was giving off of uncertainty. I cried driving home that night as I said a prayer for protection and health during whatever times I could only imagine coming.
Over the course of the next few weeks, and now months, I think I have washed and sanitized my hands, clothes, personal space and car more times that I would like to admit. I have organized my pictures, my recipe files, my books, my computer files, my clothes, my Holiday decorations and my kitchen pantry – multiple times apiece. I have cleaned, scrubbed and mopped floors and dusted shelves. I have tried to reach out, several times a week, to my family and friends to check on their physical and mental wellbeing. Times are hard! And for whatever reasons, they seem to be getting harder. My heart goes out to so many people. For example, the teachers and students who are trying to keep their schoolyear as normal as possible, the independent business owners who are trying to keep their businesses afloat and everyone working on the front lines or who knows someone working the front lines. I know there are real problems going on, but I still try, and some days it is hard, to maintain a positive attitude. I want to reach out and share recipes, talk food, swap pictures and talk ingredient substitutions. Why, when there are real problems out there to talk about? Because it brings me some type of normalcy. It creates a safe distraction and space for me, and my readers and followers. The recipe I am sharing today was created during these times of uncertainty and they brought me a sense of safe, calming deliciousness. Bake these and take a little time to yourself to enjoy.
Crispy Rice Cereal Chocolate Chip Cookies
These are best made and eaten the same day they are made. Feel free to experiment and try your favorite flavors of crispy rice cereal to add to these amazing chocolate chip cookies! A secret ingredient that no one will guess!
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl cream together the softened unsalted butter and white granulated sugar. Once thoroughly combined, beat in the large egg and pure vanilla extract.
Beat in the salt and baking soda. Once combined, beat in the white all-purpose flour.
Add in the crispy rice cereal and semi-sweet chocolate chips and fold to combine.
Place tablespoon size amount of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2-inches between each cookie. Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 14 minutes.
Remove, allow to cool slightly and enjoy.
Ask and Answer: I have heard from several of my readers over the last few months, wondering how they can make their own self-rising flour at home. It is easy! Simply whisk together 1 cup white all-purpose flour with 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.