Friday, April 22, 2005

Chocolate Chip Cookies - Georgian Style

I once read somewhere that if you are homesick, you should try to make a favorite dish to make yourself feel more "at home".

Well, we are not really homesick (yet) but Dave and I have both been wanting some chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chips are practically unheard of in Georgia. You can sometimes get them at the commissary, but the last time I was in there they only had white chocolate chips (ick, pooey). Luckily, our airfreight arrived, and tucked in with our clothing, shoes and assorted other "essentials" were 3 Costco-sized bags of chocolate chips. YAY.

But wait, the chocolate chips, baking soda and even a bag of powedered sugar was in the airfreight...but where in the samhill is my brown sugar? My brown sugar obviously did not make it into an airfreight box, so it is sitting on a cargo ship somewhere on it's way to Antwerp. And then from Antwerp to my house. I may not see my brown sugar until the end of June. HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES WITHOUT BROWN SUGAR? (You may have noticed that I really, really, really want them now)

Last week Dave and I head out to Goodwill (the large German-owned supermarket in town) and, be still my heart, they have brown sugar! We snatch up a bag quicker than you can say "cookies!" and cart it home with us. I am giddy with the thought of baking cookies. I love to bake and I can't wait until my house is filled with the scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. What a great way to make the house feel like a home.

Oh, but you didn't think it was going to be that easy did you? Oh no no no. As I start assembling the ingredients for the cookies I realize that I don't have (a) vanilla or (b) anything resembling a cookie sheet. Now my need for chocolate chip cookies has eclipsed just "wanting" them. Now the idea of having, nay of making, chocolate chip cookies has reached quest-like proportions.

Tuesday I go shopping with Roland and at the local "Continental" supermarket I ask him to enquire of the staff whether or not they carry vanilla. Oh, yes they do! But not like the vanilla in the pretty brown jar on the shelves in the states. Oh, no. This vanilla is a small packet (which only costs 10 tetri; roughly 5 cents US) of powder. How does one use this? How does the powder translate into the one teaspoon of LIQUID vanilla I need? No one can tell me.

As for the cookie sheet? I have given up searching for one. But, I have not given up on my quest for chocolate chip cookies. Tonight I decided to break out the pyrex casserole dish and make chocolate chip cookie BARS. I carefully gathered up my ingredients: chips, flour, sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, baking soda and I started mixing and combining to the best of my ability (by hand, my much-loved Kitchen Aid mixer is on the slow boat. Probably nestled up next to my brown sugar). Of course, the butter here is sold in bricks - no nicely wrapped sticks that are pre-measured for your convienience. The brown sugar I bought? Well, it was sugar and it was brown, but it wasn't really American-style brown sugar. And the vanilla? I just dumped in a whole package. Oh, and I forgot to mention the flour I bought here! I have no idea what kind of flour I bought. The package was entirely in German, so I have no idea if it was all-purpose, self-rising, bleached, clue.

I made the cookie bars anyway, and they didn't turn out too bad, but they didn't really taste like home.


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