milk&honey cafe

Sunday, March 21, 2010


chewy chocolate chip cookie

Case 1: I was at a eatery downstairs at my work. A new girl, she seemed to be, was ready to serve me. I politely asked for two kinds of salads: a beet/avocado salad and a pasta salad. I'm never satisfied with just a leafy salad, so I was banking on the tuna and pasta to fill me up. I guess the girl didn't hear me properly, because when I went to go pay, I noticed that she gave me a romaine salad instead of the pasta. When I was just about to alert her, I saw her boss walk by. She looked so nervous. I didn't want to embarrass her, so after a brief moment of hesitation, I just smiled and took the leafy greens. I was hungry again in 1 hour.

chewy chocolate chip cookie

Case 2: It was 10:15 pm. I was just leaving my office after a looong day of work. I was exhausted and yearning to be in my bed. The next bus that takes me home was at 10:40. I knew I wouldn't be able to catch it via walking or street car, so I decided I would take a quick cab ride to the station. I rushed down to the street and flagged a cab. 10:25. I quickly asked to go to Union station while he's yapping away on his bluetooth head set. 10:29. We're almost there but he seemed to be taking his time. I asked myself whether I should tell him to hurry up a bit. I concluded that maybe it wasn't nice to rush the driver. 10:33. Felt nervous, but thought 'I can get there on time. I can just run out when he takes me to the corner.' 10:36. There were 3 cars in front of him making turns, the right lane was empty but he wouldn't take it. "Do I ask him to hurry it up? Do I?" 10:38. SHOOT. 'I'm going to miss it I'm going to miss it'. He was still taking his time. I finally decided to speak up. "I'm trying to catch a 10:40 bus. Could you please hurry a little bit?" He finally heard the urgency in my voice and quickly dropped me off by the station. 10:41. I watched my bus ride home drove away in front of me. Next bus came at 11:40.

chewy chocolate chip cookie

Feeling frustrated yet? Unfortunately, I have many many more instances of being too "nice", which makes me think if it's actually me being genuinely genial or me just being incompetent in speaking up. And I'm not just talking about little things like salads and taxi rides – but bigger things, like with relationships or the working world. In some ways, I feel that it's actually an act of benevolence: I'd rather feel discomfort than impose that on someone else. Sometimes I take the blame or stay quiet, believing that one way or another the truth will surface. But in other ways, maybe I'm just plain wimpy to stick up for myself.

chewy chocolate chip cookie

Truth is, it's a bit of both. I'm sort of a "big picture" person, so I often easily persevere little things when I see the greater good in it. I know that even if it feels a little unfair or disadvantage me right now, somehow it will benefit me or someone else in the end. On the other side, truthfully, I am scared. I know that when I speak strongly about something, that means I need to take responsibility for the consequences. It's not always easy to stick up for yourself, you know. If you're going to challenge something, you better be ready to fight. And when it comes to fighting, I'd rather lose to avoid it altogether.

chewy chocolate chip cookie
chewy chocolate chip cookie

So am I a saint for being able to stomach personal discomfort for the benefit of someone else or am I a loser for being completely non-confrontational? Hmm.. I guess it comes down to balance. I think it's about developing confidence and assurance in myself, while being considerate and attentive of others' needs too. In the end, it's about finding my own voice, while also being able to harmonize with the people around you too. I think that's where my solution lies. :)

chewy chocolate chip cookie

Speaking of balance, let me tell you about a perfectly balanced cookie. This cookie is a solid combination of chewy and crispy and soft and dense. The delicious cookie dough is matchless with the abundance of chocolate chips. The recipe, carefully crafted by Food Network's Alton Brown, was specifically engineered to be the "CHEWY" cookie, using bread flour (additional gluten), melted butter, higher ratio of brown sugar, and extra drop of moisture from milk. Pop the dough into the fridge before you bake it, and it really is the perfect chewy cookie. I made these at a cottage with friends, and they couldn't stop raving. They couldn't stop moaning with delight. Now, that's nice.

The Chewy

recipe from Food Network
yields 2 1/2 dozen


2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

3. Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

chewy chocolate chip cookie


  1. (and it's so good to see you're back)

  2. First of all ~ LOVE Alton and this cookie looks like no exception to that rule.

    Second ~ It's a good thing to be nice! Kindness matters. Period. : )

  3. these look delicious! my first batch of cookies turned out to be a flop- i've been meaning to bake them once again and looking at your pictures, i am v tempted to try again!

    your post about being 'nice' struck a chord. i'm naturally non-confrontational so i make peace. but i recognise there's a difference between making peace and to grin and bear it. and i get upset with myself when i hide my feelings even though i may highly disagree.

  4. Sarah, I can completely relate to you. I used to struggle speaking up when it came to little things...not wanting to make the other person feel bad or create an inconvenience. But after meeting my husband 12+ years ago I realized I needed to learn to speak up, particularly when I was being wronged intentionally, etc. It isn't always easy but it has become a lot easier for me...I think it is wonderful being a nice person, but I think learning to speak up is a good thing, too. And I think there are ways in which you can do it without offending the other person. Just my 2-cents! :) And those cookies look amazing...will have to try it out.

  5. i really need to try these! also, i'm the same as you--often too nice. i usually just let things slide b/c i know i'm adaptable.

  6. i know what you're talking about...
    it's great to hear from you again though and the cookies look amazing!

  7. That is exactly how I am. I really do try to be not too nice but I guess its just in my nature to be nice to everyone. I've found that part of the time it doesn't really get me anywhere which is really frustrating.

    Those cookies look amazing by the way. I'll be making them sometime soon.

  8. Love this post. It's so hard to find the right balance isn't it? Between cookies and life.

  9. You just described quite well a lifelong struggle I've had. I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I sometimes wonder how much my Asian upbringing has to do with this aspect of my personality. But I agree that balance is the key and am myself trying to gain more confidence to stand up when it's important without losing the real kindness that makes up a key part of my self identity. As for the cookies, your look absolutely delicious. I tried this recipe once and ended up with crispy butter puddles. I probably measured the flour wrong and will just have to try again :).

  10. I know exactly what you mean about being too nice! But it does pay off in the end.
    These cookies look amazing!

  11. It's good to see there are so many "nice" people here :) Sometimes it seems there are too many selfish people in the world and I especially think it was nice of you to save that waitress from embarrassment. Balance is necessary, though, and I've found with practice that you can find a solution that works for everyone most times. The cookies look amazing!!

  12. Be nice and assertive. You don't have to be mean to let people (who are there to serve you as in the examples of the restaurant and cab driver) know that you need something specific. Get in the cab and say, "I need to catch the 10:40 bus from Union Station."

    I used to be 'nice' all the time and then get home and feel like a doormat. Or that I got the shaft for selecting that business. Played that "I should have said..." game with myself. But as I've gotten more experience I've learned to speak up for myself a bit. I stay patient, do not interrupt people, ask for help when I'm confused, and let folks know what I need. I watch my tone and volume and try to avoid confrontations but let them know that one of us has made an error.

    I'm born, raised, and live in the south. I was brought up to be a lady. Study communication techniques, and you may find better ways of asserting yourself nicely

    Cookie looks great, btw.

  13. i totally get what you're saying, and i'm grateful to know that i'm not the only one who feels this way. It's such a problem sometimes, and i want to fix it. But i'm learning to appreciate the way i am.

    (i love your blog, and the cookies)

  14. oh man! i felt your pain in your two cases in point. i guess at the end of the day we all pick our battles, and you've chosen to keep mum sometimes to not be rude/inconvenience someone else. and it's great that you do that - but it's also good for you if you be a little selfish once in awhile ;)

  15. Sarah, i feel like i'm exactly the same way - are we just more patient than others? after all, patience is a virtue.. or is it just that we're weak? Are we just more sensitive, or do we realize its more important to pick our battles and accept people for who they are?

    oy. those cookies look amazing! you're a wonderful photographer

  16. i saw these in your flickr stream and was stunned: photos are gorgeous and cookies look delectable!

  17. Sarah,
    I just want to tell you that I love your blog so much. It's refreshing, fun, and always provides a great outlook on life. I completely understand what you mean about being too nice. I often have that same problem...don't want to offend anyone. But, I guess like your cookies it's good to be nice and assertive at the same time. I guess it's never too late to make a New Year's resolution. Maybe I'll give it a try. But, thanks for being nice and thanks for keeping up with your beautiful blog!

  18. Hey Sarah,

    Love the blog! I made your chewy cookies.. well, tried to. They seem to flatten quite a bit and look more like a mini pancake than a cookie. SAD. Any tips that could help?


  19. dear sarah, i totally totally totally know how you feel. i guess i really hate confrontation and putting the burden on the other person so i rarely speak up, which is bad sometimes.

    i found your blog recently (via the post on how to frost cupcakes). i seriously love everything about your blog-- the photos, the look and feel, and the cupcakes!

  20. how odd!

    i always try to pop by your blog and see what's new, but I hadn't in a few weeks. Today I told myself I'd bake cookies and scoured the internet and came across this recipe, then, now, as I wait for the dough to chill, I remember you and see this! funny.

    but my batter is much much more watery than yours... then again, I'm in the philippines and it's crazy hot now, so maybe thats why. :) lovelove your blog :)

  21. Oh these cookies look SO delicious!

    I can totally relate to your story. I like being nice, and non-confrontational, but sometimes it can be very, very frustrating.

  22. There is no such thing as TOO NICE!

    I just made the cookies, by the way. They were delicious!

  23. There are things as too "NICE". Sometimes my colleagues take my paitence for granted by pushing my work aside and delaying them as much as possible while working on jobs that other people gave them at a later time just because they are more assertive.

    In the end, my work is always done in a hurry, delayed and second rated.

    I hope I can continue to be considerate to other people but sometimes its just too hard...

    Lovely cookies btw...

  24. used regular salt, all purpose flour (lol i didn't sift it (too lazy!)), salted butter.. and it still turned out great!
    -- thanks for posting another great recipe! ^_^

  25. Thanks for making these. I tried the recipe. Turned out awesome. Nothing like the smell of freshly baked cookies. I like mine crunchy at the sides and chewy in the middle. Yum!