I tried making cookies for an after school snack once, when Wolfgang was 6 years old.
Now, I’m a fairly decent cook and a pretty awesome baker, and had made this particular recipe countless times since I was allowed to use the mixer at 8 years old.
But I was off that day. I burned batch after batch, some beyond recognition. I don’t know why I wasn’t setting a timer, or if I had and just missed the alarm, I don’t recall.
I do recall sitting on the floor in the kitchen with a plate of charbroiled cookies, crying because I was just trying to hold it together as a single mom and trying to do something nice for my son.
I felt a little hand on my shoulder as Wolfgang lowered himself to the floor and slipped a cookie from the plate.
Before I could stop him, he took a bite (and to his credit, did not grimace).
“These aren’t bad momma,” he said with a mouthful of cookie. “Maybe next time I can help you watch the oven.”
He’s been like that his whole life. And he still volunteers to eat the slightly burned ones, as it seems I still burn the same recipe on occasion.
He’s been my sidekick and a ray of sunshine, through better and worse, and now…today, he enters his final year of high school.
Today is the last first day of school I will ever spend handing out school schedules to him and his friends. The last first day of school where I can make cookies and have them warm with a glass of milk when he gets home.
The last first day of school where I can still call him “my baby” and not be a totally huge weirdo.
He and I have made it through nearly 18 years of his life and now we start to transition into a life where we are separate and he no longer needs me.
I’m totally crying as I write this, btw.
So I’ll make cookies for him for one last First Day of School so he can sit at the kitchen table and tell me about his day and I can still pretend to check his homework.
Even if his math homework looks like hieroglyphics to me.
Last First Day of School Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2-1/4 cup unbleached flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temp, but still firm not mushy)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (light brown is fine, but dark brown is HEAVEN.)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips
- flaky sea salt (like Maldon)
- Try not to cry into the flour, salt and baking soda as you combine them in a bowl. Set the mixture aside and go find some kleenex.
- In the bowl of your mixer (or using a wooden spoon, if you’re super hardy and need to pretend your tears are from the effort), beat the sticks of butter like you’re trying to beat your emotions back over your eldest child growing up so quickly.
- When the butter is pale and your feelings sufficiently in check, add the sugars (one at a time) and beat until combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, and mix on a low speed until combined. Add vanilla, and mix again. Go find more kleenex because you’re still leaking from your eyes.
- Go find the flour mixture, wherever you put it when you went to go find Kleenex. (Check the front room, that’s where mine was.)
- Remember you forgot to preheat the oven, and set it to 375º.
- Slowly (and using a low speed on your mixer) add the flour bit by bit to the butter mixture until it’s all mixed together.
- Mix in the chocolate chips and try to not let your tears drip into the batter.
- Chill (both you and the dough) for at least 15 minutes, but no longer than 45. You want batter that won’t melt before you cook it…and you need to collect yourself.
- Scoop tablespoons of rounded dough onto the cookie sheet.
- Bake for about 9 minutes (don’t forget to set a timer while you’re trying to not cry in front of your teenager). Use cucumber slices if you have them on your eyes while the cookies bake.
- When you pull them out of the oven, sprinkle the flaky salt on them right away. Try not to eat too many of them, if they are actually for your kiddo.