The Cookie Crumbles


This tale of a cookie begins with pancakes.

It was Christmas morning and I was entirely to my own devices.  Except for possibly popping out to see Star Wars again, I had no responsibilities or obligations that would necessitate my leaving the apartment.  I was going to watch the Rankin-Bass trinity (Rudolph and the two Santa Claus specials), Die Hard, Gremlins, and then a good chunk of the Godzilla marathon on the El Rey network.  I was going to play the new computer RPG I’d gotten on the Steam sale.  I was going to get down and organize my X-Wing collection.  Just a happy, lazy day doing whatever I damn well felt like.

And for starters, what I damn well felt like was pancakes.  A great big stack of pancakes with syrup.  Which I managed to cook without incident, something not nearly as unremarkable as you might think.  Then, being the half-assed homemaker that I am, I put some dish soap into the bowl I’d used to make the batter, ran some water into it, and left it to soak for a while.  Also known as “forgetting about it.”

Later, I decided the day called for baking cookies.  What could be more Christmas-y?  Rudolph on the TV and the air filled with the smell of baking dough and chocolate.  Perfect.  I’d had some cookie dough in the freezer for a while thanks to a co-worker selling it for her daughter’s school fundraiser, and this seemed like an ideal time to finally bake them.

I began pre-heating the oven.  The instructions specifically said not to thaw the dough, so I proceeded to pull the bag from the box and tear it open.  Now I have to give credit to Otis Spunkmeyer for using only the sturdiest of plastic for the cookie bags, because this sucker didn’t want to give up its doughy rewards.  So I pulled harder.  And harder.  And finally, the bag tore and the nuggets of cookie dough sprang free.

Right into the bowl of soapy pancake water.

What followed was a string of expletives that would have made the Old Man in A Christmas Story blush.  And, much like the turkey in that film, it was gone, all gone.  No smells of baking, no soft, gooey cookies fresh from the oven, no late night snacking, none of it.  Washed away in a tide of grayish bubbly water.

Except I’m more stubborn than that.  I quickly rinsed off the dough, which gave it a slick sheen as it was now also slowly defrosting.  Then I madly dabbed it with a paper towel, which succeeded into getting most of the water off, but which also succeeded in getting little bits of paper stuck to the dough.  So I moved on to a dish towel, and that seemed to dry things to my satisfaction.

Now the decision:  did I go forward with this?  I had the oven heated up.  There was no re-freezing the dough at this point.  I looked at the dough, and couldn’t see anything outwardly wrong, aside from the knowledge it had until recently been soaking in some horrible liquid.  But surely rinsing and then baking for fifteen minutes at 350 degrees would cure all ills, no?

So I decided to try baking two cookies as a test.  If they turned out fine, I’d put rest in.  Hopefully, I scooped two of the pieces onto a baking tray, placed it in the oven, and waited.

The smell coming from the oven was decidedly delicious.  Maybe I’d pulled this off after all!  The time went by, the cookies came out, and they looked, well, like cookies!  And smelled wonderful!  A Christmas miracle.  I anxiously waited for them to cool down, then took a tentative bit.  It was warm and chocolaty and gooey and everything I had hoped for.  I downed the second one and I was euphoric.  I’d saved the day.  I would have cookies after all.  I would not pay attention to that slightly nauseating aftertaste of dish soap I was now somewhat subtly detecting.

A few minutes later, it was no longer subtle.  Baked into my goodies was the undeniable note of Publix brand dish soap.  And more than a little hint of watery pancake batter.  Now all mixed together with warm cookie dough and chocolate sitting in my stomach.  Which was definitely not a fan of the experience.  Sadly, shut off the oven and consigned the remaining dough to the trash.  Then sat down to wait for what I was sure would be the horrible vengeance my body would exact upon me.

That day, I watched the Rankin-Bass trinity, Die Hard, Gremlins, and then a good chunk of the Godzilla marathon on the El Rey network.  I played the new computer RPG I’d gotten on the Steam sale.  I got down and organized my X-Wing collection.  And I had this horrible, soapy mess making my stomach a bloated balloon all afternoon.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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