Overnight Cookies – A Tale of One Bored Veterinarian

Normally, waking up to a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies is no less than a miracle. As in:

  1. It rarely happens
  2. God plays a strong role

But in this case, there’s something more peculiar at work. Something which, although just as awe-inspiring, doesn’t give you the same warm and fuzzy feeling that a genuine miracle engenders. I speak, of course, of the emergency overnight shift of a veterinary intern program.

Let me explain.

My wife is a veterinary doctor, and has chosen to do a one-year internship in which your chosen animal hospital puts you through hell in order for you to learn the ropes of modern veterinary medicine. This hell includes several two-week periods where you must start work at 7pm and leave work no earlier than 9am. These periods are called “emergency overnights” and they are painful.

Flipping your sleep pattern to accommodate this schedule results in all manner of situations, not the least of which is attempting to maintain that schedule during your “intermission” two days (really nights) off between weeks. And it was during one of these nights that the cookies mysteriously arrived.

Evidently, after a marathon movie schedule of Lars and the Real Girl, Legally Blonde and (God help us) Legally Blonde 2, my wife still had a few hours before daylight, when she would allow herself to go to sleep. So, acting on the suggestion of a friend, she decided to bake.

With only half the amount of butter needed, and a small bag of mini-chocolate-chips, my overnight domestic diva turned out some surprisingly impressive cookies. In fact, they were so close to my great aunt’s gold standard cookies, that I had to wonder what she did differently to achieve the effect.

First, she said she melted the butter (accidentally), which I would have thought would make the cookies thin out too much. What made up for this, and I really think this is the big secret you’ve been waiting for, is that she mixed everything by hand. She used only a large wooden spoon – no electric mixer – so as not to wake her slumbering husband.

Not only was this extremely kind and conscientious of her, but it resulted in the elusive “moist but crumbly” cookie consistency that we had always been searching for.

So there you have it, cookie fans. The best piece of baking advice since Betty Crocker:

MIX BY HAND!

Your significant other will thank you in the morning. And maybe even write a blog post.

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2 responses to “Overnight Cookies – A Tale of One Bored Veterinarian

  1. If you’re in a hurry, you can cream the butter and sugar with the mixer, as long as you work in the flour & dry ingredients by hand – beating the flour overdevelops the gluten, which is what ruins the texture.

  2. Ah, that makes a lot of sense! I knew there was some science behind cookie texture.

    Thanks to your explanation, I will never use a hand mixer with flour again.

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