Good Enough for Me

It is a fairly well-known fact that cookies are one of my all-time favorite foods. I’m not a cookie expert or a cookie connoisseur; I’m probably at the bottom rung of cookie enthusiasts. But I love cookies. For the most part, I haven’t met a cookie I didn’t like. What’s not to like about them, first of all. Sugar and butter and flour, a pinch of salt and some vanilla, then whatever else you want. Then they’re portable. Then just one can be a single serving, or a few, or dozens. Whatever satisfies you in one sitting. Whatever your mood.

Like I said, for the most part, I haven’t met a cookie I didn’t like, with the exception being a couple of weeks ago. It was in the shape of a candy cane. Two strips of dough twisted together, with one of the strips dyed red for effect and then the whole braid bent like a crook. When the cookie was in the oven, I assume it flattened and the cane took on a certain thick, squatty cuteness.

It was part of a pile of cookies of similar coloration and shape. This pile was on a cookie tray, and the cookie tray was on a table of at least a dozen other types of desserts and an assortment of cookies. The dessert table was the centerpiece of a party. The party was about to end, and the host encouraged everyone to pack a goody bag.

The goody bags were blue cellophane. I took a couple of red velvet mini cupcakes, a couple of peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss on top, a couple of Christmas tree shaped sugar cookies, and the candy cane cookie.

The bag made it home. But I dug into it within a few minutes of closing the door behind me. All the other cookies were good. Quite good. Then came the offense to my palate I can never forgive. It was a crime against cookies I’d never expected in my life’s experience with cookies. It didn’t taste right. It was bitter. Then the aftertaste was worse. It made me a little sad.

To be fair, it wasn’t the cookie’s fault it tasted weird. It would have been fine as a regular sugar cookie, but it also had a slight mint flavor. It could have been the food coloring that reacted with the mint extract that made a poor cookie, or because it wasn’t a chocolate cookie the mint was an unwise choice from the beginning. A simple frosting would have done the trick.

All I know is I couldn’t finish the cookie. A single cookie. That’s just wrong. I’ve never not finished a single cookie. I’ve turned down more cookies, but I’ve always been able to eat an entire cookie. A. One. Singular. How traumatic. How shameful.

It’s a shame that my first truly negative cookie experience was a Christmas cookie. All the gingersnaps and chocolate peppermint chocolate chip and decorated sugar cookies and lemon bars and fudge come out of hibernation and into their full glory during the holidays. It’s as if maybe someone tried sneaking the candy cane cookie travesty into the mix of awesome cookies, thinking no one would know the difference. Or maybe someone thought they’d give that cookie a second chance to fulfill its purpose. Or maybe someone thought those cookies were actually quite good and maybe I’m just a cookie snob.

I doubt it.

Oh, cookie that looks like a candy cane and wants to taste like a candy cane but cannot succeed because it tastes like dirt or minty sweatsocks, I’m sorry, but it’s time to retire.