As a spectator, my choice in champion boxers has been everything but stellar. Recently, I was hoping the kid from Mexico–the one with the cinnamon hair, would win the match. Let’s just say that after viewing this fight, I was glad that I wasn’t in Vegas and putting my money down on who I hoped would win.
On September 7, 1996, I was at Caesar’s in Las Vegas. I had just bet $40 on Bruce Seldon. Minutes after handing the guy my money, all these people left the casino in masses. Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldon was over. I still have my souvenir T-shirt with Tyson’s menacing face printed on the back. Don’t ask me why I kept it all these years, but it’s still in excellent condition.
To make things worse, I took a taxi back to my hotel that night, and I noticed a well-dressed man crumpled in the street. The police had not arrived, but the traffic continued to pass the man. He lay motionless. My gut told me that there was no hope for this individual.
That night in my hotel room, I found out that the man in the street was Tupac Shakur. The rapper had been shot, and he died in the hospital only a few days later.
Fame is not a guarantee. Anywhere. Not even in Las Vegas.
So some 17 years later, I am sitting on our friends’ couch. We are watching a PPV, and the main event is Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
By the time the fights started, all of us were occupying three sofas that surrounded the big screen TV. Those of us who favored Mayweather brought the drinks. Leaving the Canelo fans to bring the desserts. It didn’t matter. This was one of those parties where you leave feeling stuffed. Our hosts provided us with generous servings of beef burritos, Spanish rice, guacamole, salsa, and brownies. And they made sure you went home with some burritos and brownies to last you the rest of the weekend.
I have not baked anything for months. You might say that the thrill is gone. I baked a lot when I retired. I was good at it, and I baked for the applause.
I was also known for my charity baking, but county environmental laws changed all of that. Sacramento frowns on homemade goods that are either sold or given to the public. I was a retiree on a fixed income. I didn’t want pay to rent a professional kitchen to bake my cookies, cakes and pies, so I quit baking.
I decided to bake several dozen cookies for the Mayweather vs. Canelo fight. It took me half a day to measure all the ingredients into bowls. I also put the oatmeal and nuts through my blender until they had fine texture.
I burned two dozen cookies because I didn’t hear the timer. I was busy with another project. When I had my several dozen cookies, I still had a lot of batter left. I still have this in the refrigerator, and will probably move it to the freezer for future batches.
The cookie recipe that I use is an Internet recipe that I used since 1995. Some people call it Mrs. Fields. Others call it Neiman Marcus. They both have similar stories and different sources.
I’ve found this particular recipe to be very dependable, and I’ve used it for personal and charity baking for years. It’s a recipe that produces more cookies than you’ll probably need. Either cut the recipe in half or freeze the cookie dough that you won’t need right away. The baked cookies also freeze well when kept in freezer bags. Once these cookies are frozen, you can take what you need. Here are my recipe changes:
- I cut up one bar of chocolate and add it to the cookie dough. The recipe asks that you use a six-ounce bar of chocolate. I thought that was chocolate overkill.
- I add two tablespoons cocoa or instant coffee to the mixture.
- I cream the butter and sugars, using my KitchenAid mixer.
- A chef once told me not to use a mixer when it comes time to cookie dough. Some cooks rely on their mixers when they mix cookie dough, but the chef told me that a mixer will put too much air into the dough. I will cream the butter and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy. I use my hands to mix in the remaining ingredients. It takes time, but this is how I do it.
- I like smaller cookies that are closer to the size of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. Use a small ice cream scoop, a coffee scoop or a tablespoon to measure your cookie dough.
- I like crisp, flat cookies. I usually flatten the balls of cookie dough between my hands. Once I place it on the cookie sheet, I smash them with a fork (in two directions). For some reason, I did not get flat, crisp cookies this time. I figure I’d have better luck when the cookie dough is partially frozen.
The Mrs. Fields/Neiman Marcus Recipe
The recipe, even after all these years, may still be found on the Internet. You’ll also find that Mrs. Fields and Neiman Marcus have their own cookie recipes on the Internet.