I have a handful of memories from when I was very young. My oldest memory comes from when I was only eighteen months old. I was laying on the table in a doctor's office as the doctor hovered above me, putting stitches in my chin, the damage the result of falling and cracking my chin open on a stone fireplace. I do not recall any pain or suffering, but I do remember my mother singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star while rubbing my foot to soothe my cries—a snapshot of tranquility in a scary world for a young child. I have often been curious why this particular moment caught in my mind, both vivid and cloudy at the same time.
Perhaps it is a reminder of my mother's love for her daughter.
On my third birthday, my mother gave me the independence to choose the outfit I would wear for my party. I remember standing in the laundry room, surveying my choices with excitement. I felt so proud of the pink, frilly outfit I chose. It may have been a simple decision for my mother, but the freedom felt so special to me on that day. I wore my polka-dotted dress with confidence, spinning around to make the edges of the gown flare up.
After my sister was born, I remember sandwiching her between my cabbage patch dolls while she slept, believing she might need some friends her own size. When she awoke, she looked to her left and right and let out a terrified wail. Not expecting her reaction, I found her frightened cries hilarious enough to send me off into a fit of giggles. The moment was amusing enough to hold onto for many years to come.
And, I fondly remember the first time I stole a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven.
I couldn't have been older than four or five. It was a cold winter night and the house was filled with cozy warmth. My mother made a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies, leaving them to cool on the counter's pull out cutting board. After she left the room, I paced back and forth in front of them, wanting a cookie, but feeling guilty that I didn't have permission. I ended up stealing one before my mother came back to check on them. I hid underneath the table and ate my forbidden cookie in silence, hoping that if my mother came back into the room, I would be hidden from her prying eyes. I did not think far enough ahead to realize that my mother would notice that a cookie was missing, but the crime had already been committed. Even so, I was satisfied with my quiet defiance.
My early memories hold moments of independence, rebellion, silliness, love, and chocolate chip cookies—a portrait of a happy, healthy childhood.
Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookies are a twist on the traditional chocolate chunk cookie. Dark brown sugar, ground ginger, and a hint of molasses lend a dark and spicy undertone, adding a new dimension to the cookies. A surplus of chocolate chunks gives these cookies a little attitude. Warm from the oven, these over-sized cookies are soft and chewy, gooey from the melted chocolate, and much too easy to make disappear.
Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookies
Yields 1 dozen large cookies (or 2 dozen standard size)
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 113 grams) butter
2/3 cup (130 grams) dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup (75 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces (170 grams) chocolate, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, molasses, and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold in the chocolate chunks.
Form cookies using 2 tablespoons of cookie dough (or 1 tablespoon for standard sized cookies). Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.