Blair A La Carte: Cookies for college students


Blair Dunbar, Columnist

What snack is more delicious than freshly baked, homemade cookies? Oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, snickerdoodle and sugar are all plump circles of ooey-gooey deliciousness. The best thing about cookies? They are relatively easy to make, even if you don’t have any fancy kitchen aids. No hand mixer? Just get a little creative.

A key step in virtually all cookie recipes is creaming the butter and sugar until smooth. This has always been my least favorite step. Butter and sugar tend to fly everywhere, sticking on walls and to the sink. The butter, if not at the perfect temperature when you begin, stubbornly fuses into big chunks instead of into a smooth mix. Obviously, if you’re lacking a hand mixer or some kind of beater, this process is even more challenging. I decided to do some experimenting.

The first key is making sure your butter is soft enough. Make sure to take the butter out from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you want to start baking. If the butter was frozen, take it out at least an hour before. You should pay particular attention to the softness of the butter if you have to cream by hand. The microwave is useful, but be careful. Only heat the butter in 10-second intervals. Make sure frozen butter is completely defrosted before placing it in the microwave.

As for actually creaming the butter and sugar, I have found that the best method is a three-part process. First, grab a knife and fork and cut the butter into the sugar. For those of you who don’t make pie crusts, this means just cutting the butter into smaller and smaller pieces until you have pea sized balls of butter and sugar. Next, grab a spoon and mush all the little pea sized balls together. Mush the balls until the mixture is as smooth as you can get it. Finally, add in the egg or vanilla or whatever liquid the recipe calls for into your bowl. The added liquid will allow you to whisk the mixture with a fork until smooth, kind of like pancake batter. As you start adding in the flour, the butter and sugar should cease to be discernible from the rest of the mixture.

Even if you do have a few little lumps here and there, you can push them down with your fingers when gathering the dough into small balls to place onto the cookie sheet. If you’re still worried, just add in a few extra raisins or chocolate chips or sprinkles even. That way, no one will notice. Cookies don’t have to be perfect to be delicious.