Monday, January 9, 2012

Kisses Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies





The 'more is more' mentality when it comes to food is pretty bizarre, if you really over-analyze it.  No one says: "you know, Casablanca is a pretty good film, but it's awfully short, so why don't we see Lawrence of Arabia instead?"

However, people tend to equate 'more' with 'better' when it comes to food, although they deny it.  Oh, they swear that Weight Watchers is wonderful and they know so many friends who lost SO much weight counting points, and how they love that they "can have anything they want, as long as it's portion-controlled."

Then watch them get excited when the kid at Five Guys accidentally gives them an extra-large serving of fries in their bag.  Because, you know it is still a single 'serving size' if the underpaid employee dishes it out to you, regardless of the fact that the bag contains enough potatoes to have quelled the entire Irish potato famine.

I'm half-convinced that is why so many people like to go out to eat.  Somehow calories don't relate to ounces (or pounds) of food if it's put on your plate, making it 'okay' to over-indulge.

After my parents divorced, when my father would take me out to dinner sometimes, he'd always call the day before.  I'd be crestfallen when he did, because I knew that it meant both that I would be starving and I would gain weight.  Here is why: "I hope you're not eating," he'd say.  "We're going to have a big meal."  My father liked to order several appetizers, and an entree which also often included a salad or soup.  The bread basket was also obligatory to eat (again, because if it wasn't okay to eat bread with a heavy meal, the restaurant wouldn't have served it).  Of course, Chinese restaurants don't serve bread, so my father would have to make do with the crispy fried noodles.  He'd always order a side of fried rice, along with the white rice that was served, to make sure that we had 'enough' to eat.

If I didn't match him, bite for bite, he'd get very angry.  Once, I ordered a vegetable plate and didn't eat bread because I wasn't hungry (I had 'caved' and gone out for pizza with friends the night before and hadn't much of an appetite).  He sulked the entire meal.  Because if someone overeats along with you, the calories don't matter, either.

It never occurred to my father that it might not be fun for me to starve myself into a hypoglycemic fit and overeat. Large, heavy, late meals were considered normal when he was a teen in America, after surviving the famine in Greece during the war.  When I lived in the same household as him, it wasn't unusual to see him sprinkle a half a container of grated cheese sprinkled on top of an Everest of white and red pasta and sauce, followed by a hunk of blue cheese and several apples for dessert. He ran, and atoned for his indulgences through exercise and periods of abstention.  However, it took me many years to appreciate the fact that 'more' of something did not equate with 'tasting better.'   Because while I had trouble 'not eating' according to my father's late-dining schedule, I had no problem tucking into a jar of Chunky Skippy and some cinnamon raisin bread, or half a box of Dunkin' Donuts.

And yes, during my adolescent dieting years, I was one of those women who used to stand in line at the Tasti-d-Lite and order a LARGE container of whipped, aspartame-saturated low calorie fluff (although not apparently as low-calorie as it was advertised) and heaven forbid the guy gave me less than a mountain of the processed goo.  It's pretty amusing in retrospect if you walk past any 'low calorie' fro-yo place--I've seen very thin NY women devouring  PINTS of the stuff in public in the summer.  "But it's ONLY 10 calories an ounce!"  So what if it makes you vaguely ill and full--yet still leaves you hungry at the same time?

Exercise pretty much saved me, and I learned that to enjoy exercise, I had to eat moderately, and healthfully.

 As a 'eat to live, rather than live to eat person' now who finds it physically uncomfortable to overeat, I no longer ride the blood sugar roller coaster, and eat plenty of vegetables, protein, and regular meals, and stop when I'm full. Er, most of the time, with the exceptions of some foods like roasted cauliflower, salted cashews, cheese, and peanut butter...and a few others... anyway, it took many many years of trial and error to learn: 'if it is offered in unlimited quantities (buffet, free food at work)--beware!'

These cookies are incredibly easy to make for a quick treat, and are perfect as a portion-controlled snack.   And, dare I say it, so cute!  Baby cookies!


Kisses Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies (half batch)

Adapted from Hershey's

--makes 24 cookies--

Ingredients

1 stick of melted butter (I used salted)
2 1/2 tablespoons PLUS 1/2 teaspoon of light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons PLUS 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate semi-sweet chips
24 unwrapped (ha!) Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kisses

(Note: You could substitute other flavors of Kisses, other types of candy, or even leave out the Kisses if you'd like to try your own variation)
Autopsy shot

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Line one baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Beat the butter, sugars, and vanilla together until smooth. Spoon in the flour until incorporated into the wet mixture.
3. Fold in the chips.
4. Using a cookie scoop, portion out a small lump of dough (using slightly less dough than will fit in the full scoop). Mold around one of the kisses. Repeat until all of the dough and all of the kisses have been used.
5. Bake 10-12 minutes until very slightly golden at the edges.  Cookies will look slightly underdone.

5 comments:

  1. I was thinking, "hey, there's not much sugar in these cookies; I should try them!" and then I realized they're 50% candy. Foiled again.

    I have to admit I feel a little put out when someone I'm eating with doesn't eat much. For me, sharing a meal is a way of showing affection for someone, so when the other person isn't eating, it feels weirdly personal, even if I didn't do the cooking. The opposite also holds in that I can't accept food from people I dislike. When I was in college and had a work-study job, my horrible boss would routinely bring in home-baked scones and insist that the whole staff stop what we were doing and eat them while praising her. They weren't bad scones, but whenever I could get away with it, I'd claim to be saving it for later and then would pitch it as soon as I left work.

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  2. @flurrious--what an interesting point! You know, I think you're right--part of the issue I have with some people's cooking is personal ('it's not your turkey, it's you') and it makes it hard to stomach eating the item itself. I do have to say that quite often I have very different tastes from people I don't get on with, so that makes it easier to some degree. And yes, regarding presentation--any time someone expects you to FAWN over them because of what they make is pretty nausea-inducing.

    The cookies are admittedly not 'diet' cookies, but to lessen the caloric load, you could eliminate the Hershey's Kiss--although Kisses are pretty low in calories, as candy goes...

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