I Killed the Chocolate Chips

by Denice Hughes Lewis on October 15, 2015

I killed the chocolate chips. Again. That makes me a repeat offender. The first time was bad enough. Doing it again was plain stupid. Which brings me to a horrible insight. Am I unable to learn from my mistakes?

How to Avoid Mistake Number 1: Don’t be in a hurry.

It all started last night. I had no sweets in the house. My chocoholic self needed chocolate chip cookies. Immediately.

I’ve fooled around with the traditional Nestle Toll House recipe so I use rice flour, honey and melted butter instead of the traditional ingredients of white flour, white and brown sugar and shortening.

But the recipe calls for softened butter, the perfectionists among you say. The crux of the problem. I live in the Northwest and it doesn’t soften enough to make my old mixer or me happy.

And I do have to add more flour so the batter is less runny. It’s worth it to see the melted pot of gold. And herein lies the problem. Melted butter and honey are very warm.

How to Avoid Mistake Number 2: Learn from previous errors.

I knew what happened to chocolate chips in batter that was too warm having done it once before. This time, I even felt the bowl and hoped that it wasn’t too hot.

How to Avoid Mistake Number 3: Don’t just hope.

I poured the 16 ounces of chocolate chips into the batter. (I know it calls for 12 ounces. I told you I was a chocoholic.)

One stir was all it took.

Warm butter (even when mixed with everything else) melts chocolate chips faster than you can remove them. If you want marbleized cookies, go ahead. If you stir too much, you’ll get chocolate cookies. While both kinds are fine for my husband, I like to savor chewy chocolate chips.

Alas, now I have a double batch of designer cookies–snickering because they know I’ll eat them. There is no joy knowing there are no chocolate chip morsels.

Which leads me to wonder how many times in our lives we choose to do something the same way when we know it won’t give us the results we want? What good is hoping that this time it might be different? What is it going to take to make us stop repeating our mistakes and learn from them the first time?


by Denice Hughes Lewis on May 15, 2014

The toughest thing about being a writer is accepting the fact that you have to revise. A LOT. It’s the only way to write well. It’s all fine and dandy to get that great inspirational idea and put it down on paper as fast as possible. That’s just the first step. Revising is what writing is all about–choosing the perfect word or words to express that exact emotion,  idea, phrase, visual. Writers have a lot more in their heads than they put down on paper. That’s why we need critique groups, friends and family who will read our stuff. Once the first draft is finished, the hard work starts. You can’t avoid it. You can’t hope it goes away and somehow the words become great while you’re sacked out on the couch with a bottle of wine. Accept the fact that you can make your writing better. One word at a time if necessary. Don’t be afraid to cut your words without mercy. When you have done everything you can, hire an editor. It will be the best money you have ever spent. It’s impossible to see all the things you need to fix when you have been working on something for days, weeks, years. Choose your editor wisely. One you can trust. One you will listen to. One who understands what you want and knows about the craft and art of writing. Good luck.

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