When Thunder Strikes, There’s Storm Cookies

May 29, 2013   |   0 Comments
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When I was a little girl, my mother baked Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies whenever a thunderstorm struck.  To this day, at the first crack of lightning, I turn giddy.

But is this the charming story I told my children about thunderstorms?  No.  Unfortunately, no.  I told them the story about camping in the woods – waking up to a storm coming down over 8-year-old-me, the sky lit like day, and an electric flash scorching the tree three feet from my head.  When the first thunderstorm of spring hit last week, Beluga ran to my arms and buried his head in my neck.  For the first time, I saw my son afraid.  So I told my boys about Grandma’s tradition.  We promised to make Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies the next time lightning strikes.

This afternoon, the sky darkened as we lounged on my bed.  A crack of thunder rolled over New York City.

Mingus recognized the sound, “Thunder!”

I look at him with a knowing glance, “Do you know what that means?”

“Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies!”  Beluga peeks out of our duvet, looks at me, and scurries to the kitchen.   Mingus tells me, “I’m going to stay here,” and he lays, gazing out the window.

Within moments, Beluga and I drop butter in a bowl and pour sugar on top.  Andy asks, “May I add more sugar?”  “Sure.”

“I got some out!” Beluga declares triumphantly.

As he works, he mumbles.  I lean in to hear his little voice narrate, “I make my hands dirty… I grind sugar with butter… I’m making fire truck cookies…”  Let me translate for you:  when Beluga says “fire truck” as an adjective it roughly means “better than anything you adults can imagine”. Cracking an egg is a tricky business for a two year old.  he takes his time to ensure the success of his fire truck cookies.

To avoid hurrying him, I step out of the kitchen to check on Mingus.  He has flopped over, and put himself down for a rainy day snooze.

Back in the kitchen, I deliver each ingredient to Beluga.  Then, he delivers them to our mixing bowl.  It’s a team effort.  Almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt, vanilla.

I ask, “Would you like me to help you mix with the spoon?”

“No! No! No!” Beluga chants.  Then he pauses to clarify, “To make fire truck cookies, you mix with your fingers.”

Despite his theory, it’s clear that “mixing” is not high on the priority list of wannabe firefighters.  He shamelessly gobbles cookie dough.

And the next moment, he hops up and declares, “I want to clean my hands!”

The rain pours down.  I tidy the kitchen as my toddler sprays water this way and that way, waters our herbs and creates a miniature waterfall down the front of our cabinets.

With the oven up to temperature, Beluga shuts off the water and reclaims his role as chef   And with renewed appetite, he says, “I’m going to eat some!”

The subject of thunderstorms has been forgotten.  And all is right in the world.

Storm Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
These cookies roughly follow the basic formula for drop cookies. And that formula is powerful because once you know it approximately, you can stop measuring. Check off each ingredient, know that the dough should be gooey firm and still sticky and you can wing it. The cookies may be crispier or chewier depending how much butter and flour you use, they may rise more or less depending on how much salt and baking soda gets into the dough, but – regardless – the result will be delicious.
  • 2 Sticks of Butter
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  • ¼ Cup Cocoa Powder
  1. Before anything, turn on your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. The first step, making cookies with kids is to set out all the ingredients.
  3. Then, mash the butter and sugar together. To do that, a child can unwrap the butter, put it into a microwavable bowl and nuke it for 30 seconds. Then, pour the sugar on top. I wing the amount, but if you are less experienced, place a one cup measure into the butter bowl and pour the sugar in. The bowl will keep the sugar from going everywhere and the measurement will be close enough. Then, using their fingers or a spoon, a child can mash the butter and sugar together. This is called “creaming the sugar” and we never fail to do a lot of “tasting” in the process.
  4. The next step is to crack the eggs into the bowl. If it is the first time your child has cracked eggs, it is useful to do it in a seperate bowl, so that it is easier to fish out the pieces of shell that may drop with the egg. My two young boys find their hands to be much more effective mixers than a spoon, when they try to beat the eggs into the sugar.
  5. Then slowly add the flour by using a ½ cup measure to scoop the flour out of the bag and into your bowl. After each scoop, mix all the flour in.
  6. To finish the basic dough, adult assistance is helpful. My kids have a heavy hand with salt and vanilla extract – two ingredients that are totally wonderful, but disasterous in large quantitiy. I typically add them on the fly as the kids mix the chocolate in. Otherwise, I premeasure and place the ingredients in little condiment bowls that they can pour in themselves.
  7. Then mix in the cocoa and chocolate chips – an optional step, which is less optional when the kids chant, “Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate!”
  8. You may have wondered when the leavening agent goes in, and the answer is now – at the end. A lot of mixing after it goes in makes it less effective, so as the kids finish their stirring/hand mashing, I sprinkle it overtop and whip the batter a few times around. A high-end pastry chef might have an issue with this technique, but I’ll tell you it works.
  9. Either grease a cookie tray with butter, or lay a Silpat on top. Then spoon 2 inch round drops of dough onto the tray at regular spacing. On our little Silpat, I fit 6 cookies at a time.
  10. Unfortunately, cookies require heat. An adult can pop the tray in the oven for 6 minutes, making sure the cookies are golden brown at the end. Sometimes an extra 30 seconds is needed if the oven lost too much heat when the door was open, so use your judgement. Then let the cookies rest for a miunute and use a spatula to transfer them.
  11. Enjoy!



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