Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sad? Eat a Cookie. Depressed? Get Help.

Sadness is emotional pain associated with, or characterized by feelings of disadvantage, loss, despair, helplessness and sorrow. Clinical Depressionis a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or longer. Here are the typical definitions for sadness and depression; while sadness can grow into depression, it is usually more easily dealt with.   Why am I writing about this on a food blog?  Currently I'm in an extremely sad place, but my cooking, photography and writing help ease the pain...I can deal.  For others though, the pain of their sadness is so intense, they need a professional; no matter what, help them get the help they need. 

Now when it comes to females mostly, there is the saying, "Chocolate cures everything" which is basically true.  I'm not going to get scientific here, but the gist of it is that chocolate stimulates your endocrine gland to emit hormones that make you happy.  It won't cure depression, but when it comes to stress and sadness, it helps to calm you down enough to allow you to assess your situations better.  Another thing you can do is be active, even if it is the simplest of tasks, or even trying out a new recipe; it gets your mind off of your sadness, even if just for a little while.  So what better way to deal with sadness  then to combine a chocolate chip cookie recipe with baking in the kitchen.  You're up, moving about, concentrating on a task and you'll end up with a delicious snack that will be lead you to your happy place.

This recipe will give you about 2 and 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies depending on how large you make them.  I usually make a ball of dough about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter and get the 2 and 1/2 dozen; less cookies, but larger cookies...less does equal more!  The cookies are soft and chewy, and if you do not keep them in an airtight container, they will get dry and crumble easily.  I also use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips; much larger than those morsels, more chocolate flavor and when they're all melty, you feel no pain, just pleasure.  The recipe is similar to the original Toll House recipe I posted with a couple of slight changes.

Chocolate (Ghirardelli) Chip Cookies


2 and 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter; softened, but not melted
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
1 and 1/2 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips


Preheat oven to 350F; I recommend using AirBake baking sheets instead of regular nonstick, or ones that need to be sprayed.  Whether it is cookies or biscuits, no sticking and clean up is with a damp, clean cloth.

Whisk the flour and baking soda into a large bowl, set aside.  In another large bowl, cream together the butter, white and brown sugars until smooth.  Add the salt, vanilla extract and eggs; on medium speed for one minute.  Continue to beat while gradually adding the flour mixture; scrape the sides occasionally.  When well combined, stir the chips in with a heavy duty spoon being careful not to break them.

Create balls of dough from 1 inch to 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter; place on the baking sheets 2 inches apart.  Bake cookies for about 10 minutes; edges will be browned, but still slightly soft in the center.  Let the cookies rest for about 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack for complete cooling.  When completely cooled, place in an airtight container.

Makes 2 and 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.

Feeling sad?  Bake a batch of these and watch the sadness melt away as the chocolate chips melt in your mouth.  Here's to feeling better!

Mary Cokenour

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