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  • Thursday, July 23, 2009

    My Chocolate Chip Cookie Lesson

    By Jane Rumph

    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. (Psalm 118:8 NKJV)

    Still no brown sugar. I stared at the cupboard again, as though by my gaze the box I sought would materialize. I can’t believe I didn’t put brown sugar on my last grocery list, my mind sputtered. Now late at night, my batter of chocolate chip cookies for tomorrow’s party sat half-finished.

    You idiot, I berated myself. You knew you were low on brown sugar after making cookies last week. Can’t you keep a simple grocery list? Then another inner voice joined the conversation. Calm down—it’s not the end of the world. Besides, you can add molasses to regular sugar and it’ll taste fine.

    As I mixed the batter using the substitutes, I pondered my internal rage. Since childhood I’ve wrestled with a perfectionist streak. It has helped me be organized and capable but left me disappointed when others fall short of my standards. I lived by the motto, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

    I could see, however, that this motto often betrays me. I’ve often refused help in fear someone else will bungle things. Consequently I neglect the mutual support of friends. Moreover, I tend to place unfounded faith in my own competence. Failure brings self-loathing, because the only one I trust let me down.

    I slid the first cookie sheet into the oven, and the truth began to dawn. In my fallen humanness, I’m no more trustworthy than anyone. If I can do anything well, it’s only by God’s grace. And when I fail, I see more clearly that perfection and reliability come from God alone.

    My thoughts turned to the brothers and sisters whose help I so often spurned. Funny, I thought, if I learn to trust God to meet my needs, I might discover that those who are willing and able to serve are channels of God’s blessing. And as I stop laying such a burden of perfection on myself, I might find it easier to live with my flaws.

    The aroma of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies filled the kitchen, and as they cooled I sampled one. It tasted fine.

    Dear Lord, help me release my self-reliance. Teach me how to put my trust in You—and the ones in whom Your Spirit lives.

    Jane Rumph is a freelance writer and editor from Pasadena, California. In addition to books that she has edited or co-authored for others, her own titles include Stories from the Front Lines: Power Evangelism in Today’s World (Xulon) and Signs and Wonders in America Today: Amazing Accounts of God’s Power (Regal). Visit her web site at www.janerumph.com.

    © 1990 by Jane Rumph

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Preheat oven to 375ยบ.

    2/3 cup shortening
    2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup brown sugar (packed)
    2 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    3 cups flour
    1 teaspoon soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup chopped nuts (e.g., walnuts)
    1 package (11-12 oz.) chocolate chips*

    * For sweeter chips, use milk chocolate chips instead of semisweet. For more intense flavor, use dark brown sugar instead of light brown.

    Directions: Cream together shortening, butter, and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Stir soda and salt into flour, then add to batter and mix well. Stir in nuts and chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, or until just set and starting to brown. For chewy cookies, remove from oven while still quite soft, allow to cool briefly on baking sheet, then remove to rack or paper towels to cool completely. Cookies will firm while cooling. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

    Cooking tip: You can make an easy brown sugar substitute by adding 1/4 cup of molasses per cup of granulated sugar.

    So for this recipe, which calls for 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar, you could substitute 2 cups granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses. You can go up to 1/2 cup molasses with each cup of white sugar if you really like an intense dark brown sugar taste.

    Published in What I Learned from God While Cooking (Barbour, 2006, Cristine Bolley, ed.)