Baking Experiments as Therapy, Example 1: Chocolate Chip Bourbon Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Bourbon and See’s Chocolate Chips

To diffuse some leftover adrenaline from fighting off an attempt by someone with a knife to get in my door in the middle of the afternoon last Thursday, I did one of the things that I find comforting. Bake something. Get in the kitchen, measure things, put ingredients together in a certain manner, take care with the oven. Baking is therapeutic, a restoration of order, however limited.

So there were two baking experiments, both examples of something known and something unknown.

Example 1. Try somebody else’s recipe for chocolate chip cookies with bourbon in the dough along with the vanilla and the usual ingredients.

I’d never made a chocolate chip cookie with real bourbon in it, but I once had a Swiss dark chocolate truffle at Lessiter’s in the Prince’s Arcade on Picadilly that had bourbon in the filling and it was divine. I don’t drink bourbon but bought a mini bottle of Maker’s Mark last week just so I could test the recipe one time, and have enough left over for a different recipe if the one I found didn’t suit.

My daughter stopped off at See’s Candies on her way up to comfort me, and picked up a bag of their semi-sweet chocolate chips, which are delicious and melt the minute you look at them. Special cookies should have special chips and See’s chocolate chips are wide and disc-shaped, unmistakable. I told her why I needed them. As can be seen in the photo, some are stirred into the dough while others are stuck on it.

The known was the taste combination of good chocolate, bourbon with some well-beaten eggs, sugars, vanilla and dry ingredients. The dough was everything I wanted in flavor, texture and aroma. The cookie tasted okay when it was warm. How could it not? Excellent ingredients, warm cookie, melting chocolate on the lips. But it did not pop, only hinted at the two tablespoonsful of bourbon in the batter, and it was a single batch. The texture, when cold, was not a fit with my dream cookie. They are not terrible. People will eat them. That’s a known.

But I’m going to freeze the rest of the dough. It’s far too tasty to waste on cookies that are less than perfect. Some prefer regular cookie dough to the cookie anyway.

That top right one sure looks happy. See that smile?


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