It usually starts somewhere

On 30 September 2012, my sister, Jennifer, and I were at Walmart picking up a few things and like all trips to Walmart you have to practice utter caution when walking in the door. I was only going in for a few items which I do not remember because of the experience itself. I can tell you that it was that trip that started it all.

There we were walking down the center aisle leading back to the bread and milk which the items that I usually need when I go into the store for things on random days of the week. Those are typical items for me. I am pulling a vague recollection that we were heading to the bread aisle. There it was though, that center aisle shelf that had been moved and freshly arranged with the new holiday items on display. It might have only been the end of September but they were not missing a beat and they knew how to woo and entice shoppers that walk past that portion of the store to anything on their way.

The item that caught my eye of course was the “Rollback” sign that was sticking out of one of the shelves. Normally, I would just give these things a passing glance, but this particular sign just happened to be underneath bags of chocolate baking chips. How can anyone pass that kind of “rollback” up? Since we had recently experienced a severe chocolate baking chip shortage at my house where I had to rush to the store, mid-cookie making process, to get more of these things I stopped dead in my tracks.

Alright, I will admit, it was only partly that fresh memory that made me take a sudden and abrupt pause in my step. The fact that it was under the Hersey’s Special Dark Chocolate Baking Chips just pushed every ounce of self control out the door. Those bags of chocolate chips were calling my name. They were sitting there on that center aisle shelf calling me, taunting me, mocking me. There was no way I could resist them. Two of those Special Dark Chocolate Baking Chips just hopped right into my cart. I bent to their pleas and there they were in my cart as content as could be. My sister folded too.

Now of course, you know it cannot stop there because right next to those are the Cinnamon Baking Chips. I had never seen them before. Immediately my mind went straight to, “what can I get these for and try them in?” Once again, I found myself standing there with these things taunting me. There I had two bags of Special Dark Chocolate Baking Chips in my cart saying, “you know you want to” only to help reinforce the cries that were coming from the shelves. There was no more resistance. Two bags of Cinnamon Baking Chips Hopped in the cart too. Jennifer folded too. I was not alone in my lack of restraint.

Keep in mind that if I took these home, I was going to be in trouble for not bringing home real chocolate baking chips for real chocolate chip cookies. You know, for the tried and true, trusted chocolate chip cookies. I can play around and experiment all I want as long as there are the real things there for them to chow down on. They love their chocolate chip cookies. Alas, I wandered on down the baking aisle of Walmart and submitted to the reality that there were going to be at least four more bags of chocolate baking chips leaving with me in that cart that day.

I did get the other things that I did need. It was just the few moments of weakness where I could not resist the pull of that center aisle. Darn Walmart! They were at a decent price. They were certainly cheaper than I had paid for them just a couple of weeks earlier when I needed to rush out and buy them at Kroger. Look at me trying to justify it. It does not matter, there is no justification needed for me and Special Dark Chocolate Baking Chips. That is all there is too it.

All of that being said, it all started with these Hershey’s Cinnamon Baking Chips…

Once I got them home, the taunting did not stop. I thought I would just put them away in the pantry in my baking chip container and I would be able to forget about them for a little while. Just a little while. We are going into baking season after all, so not too long. The thought of how good they would taste in Oatmeal Raisin Cookies just kept coming to mind and I started craving Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I just could not take it anymore and I had to make some. That was just how it was going to have to be.

I do not normally make Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I like them just fine. I have just never gotten the impression from others in this house that they enjoy them all that much. They are the last to go and they would stick around for a little while. That is a good enough reason to think that they are not a favorite, right? They are just not my favorite to make. I have to admit that if given the choice between chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, I would probably take the chocolate chip first too. I like oatmeal raisin, but they can be bad if not done right.

It really did not matter, I was fully committed. I had the butter on the counter softening. I had two bags of Cinnamon Raisin Baking Chips to use up. I was craving Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that were to contain these baking chips. It was going to have to happen.

I pulled out my trusty, dusty, stained, falling apart cookbook and found the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe. I had used it before so I knew it was at least decent. I did not remember having any problems with it the last few times I had made it. Keep in mind this is not a recipe that is made often and in all honesty, I cannot remember the last time I made it. Frankly, it has been a while so my memory of problems could be sketchy at best. Usually, however, if a recipe is a flop I indicate that in the cookbook. I put a big X in the cookbook so that I do not waste my time with it again. There was no X on this recipe. There were no notes. I figured I was safe. There was evidence that it had been used before because there were stains on the page. I was good, right?

That was right up until I started putting everything together. It was coming together just fine. Of course I tinkered with the recipe. There was a vital ingredient missing. I added it. It is an ingredient that would not make a difference in the area that I had problems. If anything it would help improve the problem as it was a moisture ingredient. I had a dry crumbly mess in my mixer bowl. Totally not cool! I read back through the recipe and made sure I had put everything in. I did. Think. Think. Think. I clearly needed more moisture. What to do? I studied the recipe and stood there looking at my dry crumbling oatmeal mess in the bowl, thinking about what ingredient I could add that would be easy to blend in now that I had a completed recipe put together. It was not going in the trash! I added an extra egg. I ended up more with a sloppy glop of goo. At least it was not falling apart. It certainly was not the normal cookie dough consistency I was used to. This was not making me happy. I added a little more flour and at least I could scoop it into balls to get it on the cookie sheet to bake. Still I was not happy at all with the way the dough turned out. Still I took a leap of faith that it was going to turn out just fine.

I was really concerned looking at the gooey glop of Oatmeal Raisin [Cinnamon Chip] Cookie dough on the cookie sheets. Experience with past cookie dough that was not the right texture and consistency ends in bad results. Looking at those balls, I was thinking I was going to have Oatmeal Raisin [Cinnamon Chip] Cookie Balls instead of Cookies. I was honestly worried. I will confess to being worried. The other option was that they were going to spread out paper thin, but looking at that dough I was not getting those vibes. Nonetheless, I was still jumping with that leap of faith and we were baking that dough.

Surprise! They turned out just fine. That will teach me to worry about Oatmeal Raisin Cookies again. The dough just looks weird. It mixes weird. It looks weird. It feels weird. It acts weird. It is weird. That might be why I do not make them very often.

The best part is that they were absolutely delicious. The Cinnamon Baking Chips were just the right touch. I was initially afraid that they were going to have too much zip so I only put in half the bag for the test batch. The batch was small with a yield of only about 2 dozen cookies, so it was probably the right amount especially with the raisins also being in the cookies. They were perfect for the cookies. The right amount of flavor. Between the baking chips and the ingredient I added, the cookies had an absolutely divine flavor.

The cookies? They were gone within 24 hours. I will not confess to how many I ate. The kids at a lot. They all loved them. Ben loved them too. I will confess to eating the last of them. To my defense, however, I did share the last of them with a friend.

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