Cookies and Community
I love making chocolate chip cookies. When I was a kid my mom regularly made chocolate chip cookies on a slow day or when she was craving some chocolate. I remember helping her some…but of course no matter how much I helped, I remember always eating what she made.
When I went to college, each semester a gift box would show up with chocolate chip cookies made by mom. I wanted to share with others this gift from home.
While I was in college, a friend of mine invited me over to make chocolate chip cookies. When I got there, I asked if she had everything…in which she responded, “I just got the break and bake kind, we don’t need anything else.”
I no longer speak to this person…
I could not believe you could take something that is so wonderful and simple and reduce it to something fake and artificial, created in a factory.
When I first got into ministry I started making chocolate chip cookies as a part of bible studies. I started doing it…and just kind of never stopped.
For almost 15 years I made chocolate chip cookies almost every week during the school year.
I’m not sure how many cookies that is, but over the past year, I’ve had to fix my mixer 3 times because it has reached the end of its journey.
So long, good and faithful friend. You mixed well.
The recipe I have used is one that I worked on over time. I used several different recipes that others had perfected and then I slowly refined it to become what I use. The recipe that works for me based on the wisdom and experience of others.
These cookies also take time to make well. Even if you had all the ingredients on hand, it would take at least 2 hours…minimum…
And when I make these, I rarely eat many…if any…myself. I love to share them with others.
We’ve been talking about sabbath over the past several weeks. We’ve looked at the idea of stopping, of resting, and of delighting. We’ve been challenging people to take a countercultural step and sabbath. This means we stop working and busying ourselves, we spend time resting in the one who created us, redeems us, and sustains us, and we delight in God and the blessings of God.
To practice sabbath does not save us, but it restores us, it heals us, it brings us life in a way that we all desperately need.
In the New Testament it is not a commandment, but an invitation to experience something that will bless us and others in ways we cannot even imagine.
As I was thinking about delight on sabbath I was reminded of these cookies I make. Practicing sabbath is not something we figure out, or get instantly. We can take tips and tricks from generations of people who have been practicing it before us and refine it to what works well for us.
Practicing sabbath is not fast. It is exactly the opposite of that. It is slow. When we practice sabbath, we pause the rhythm of our daily frantic life and delight in God and in the blessings of God. This means we linger, we take time, we enjoy good food and good conversation. This day is not a weekly requirement for our body and soul, but it reminds us of the garden, when everything was perfect and helps us to look forward to eternity, when all will be restored.
So I guess…it isn’t necessary, but why wouldn’t we?
It’s like PTO for our soul left on the table…
The other thing is, sabbath is something that is meant to be shared. Of course, moments in the day can be spent alone resting, delighting, and worshiping, but we are meant to operate in community. Find others that are desiring more, who want to stop, who want to gather around a table, with good food and drink, good cookies and conversation, and see how that reminds you of the goodness of God.
Be gracious with yourself as you try to navigate sabbath. Recognize most things in life take time and are not always easily done the first time…but rarely are things that are easily done worth doing or last.
If you haven’t tried practicing sabbath yet, I would encourage you to try this week. Choose a day or a portion of a day. Most Christians choose Sunday. I work on Sunday, so our family does Saturday. Really any day will work, just try to make it consistent. I think 24 hours is the best, but start with what you can do.
4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, whatever you can do, is a great place to start.
Have a way you open your time. Maybe that is reading of a Psalm or thanking God for all the blessings you have. We often light a candle, eat great food, sit around a bonfire, and speak blessings over our children. That is simply encouraging them in ways we see them growing, characteristics we see in them that are like Jesus, and how they are living out loving God and their neighbor. It sounds fancy, but it is simply celebrating them and noting where God is working.
You can begin with something simple that feels like a clear starting point. Enjoy a meal or watch the sunset or sunrise. Find some way to kick it off that is intentional and meaningful. If you are single and have some hesitations of doing this by yourself, see if there are others in the Chapel or you know that will practice with you. If you have others you are trying this with, invite others in. We are not meant to do this journey alone.
Throughout history, do you know how the Hebrew people have been able to withstand so much? Because they banded together. They united as a community. They reached out and shared with one another.
The early followers of Jesus did the same thing. They cared for those who had less, they invited them in, they enjoyed the blessings they had and shared them with others. Sabbath is a weekly reminder to do this. To stop and share what you have with others in a way that restores you, gives you life and does the same for others.
Sabbath isn’t just a day off…it is day that changes your week and ultimately your life.
Our sabbath day is the best day of the week. One that we love, that we crave, that we notice when it gets missed.
I want to encourage you to practice this week. Just try.
And if you need something to do, try my cookie recipe. I included it below.
If you want to follow along in our Sabbath Experiment, I invite you to check out our webpage, thechapelatseaside.com/sabbath
We have lots of resources, recommended books, additional teachings, podcasts, and more.
Let us know if you have any questions or need anything. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Andrew’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
- 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip chunks
- Start with 2 sticks of cold butter. Use the unsalted kind…unless you don’t care about heart disease and love the flavor of salt. Now if you have an awesome stand mixer, put them in cold. You can cut them up into chunks, but most stand mixers can handle the strain. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can slightly soften the butter…but don’t totally melt them. Add the two sugars to the mix and let them whip up together. This is called creaming the butter and sugar. Let it go forever. Like they should be almost white.
- Once the butter and sugar are sufficiently mixed, add the vanilla. Now I love vanilla, so don’t use any cheap kind and don’t skip out. 1 tablespoon is plenty…but if you have a vanilla guy or you have connections to the underground vanilla extract world, put more in. Then start to add your eggs one at a time. Supposedly there is a good reason why you do them one at a time…but I don’t know why…just do it. You will likely need to stop your mixer and scrape down the sides a few times in this process.
- Now onto your dry ingredients. Put in a large measuring cup or a bowl the flour, the baking soda, and the salt. Some baking scientist will argue with me, but I like to do heaping measurements for these ingredients. I am not a scientist…so I cannot sufficiently argue for this. The reason why you add heaping measurements is because more flour and more baking soda gives more lift to your cookies. And who doesn’t love a bit of saltiness in their cookie?
- Once you add the dry to the wet ingredients it will start to thicken up the dough. Push through, but don’t over mix it. When all the flour mixture starts to get wet, start to pour in the chocolate chips. I like all 3 varieties, but you don’t have to use them…just know…you may live the rest of your life wondering “what if?” …but your call.
- Now, this is incredibly important, once everything is mixed together, cover the dough and put it in the fridge. It needs to rest for at least an hour, but I like to have it rest closer to 24 hours if I can wait that long. Something happens with the fats and flour and flavors all working together and when it bakes from a cold state it tends to leave the cookie softer in the middle…but once again I am not a scientist. Resting for 24 hours does something to the cookies…huh? I’m noticing a theme…
- After the cookies have rested, preheat the oven to 375 and scoop out the cookies on to a sheet pan. Don’t grease the pan, just put them straight on it. I recommend about a 2-table spoon scoop, but you do what works for you. Leave plenty of space for each cookie. They will spread out some, but not a ton.
- For your first batch only cook about 4 cookies for about 9 min. Keep an eye on the cookies and keep checking. Add 1 minute at a time until they are finished. I usually end up baking them for 11-12 min, but you’ll need to see how your oven works. After they have a slight golden-brown top, not shiny, and have lifted, they should be done. Pull them out of the oven and let them rest for about 5-7 min on the pan. This finishes the cookie on the bottom. Move them to a cooling rack and in about 4 minutes they will be good to go.