Cookies in the parking lot


I don’t bake much, but recently had an extra bag of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips and decided to try my hand at cookies. I simply followed the recipe on the back of the bag. Perhaps accidentally, they turned out amazingly delicious. I put them in a Tupperware and decided to take them into work. On the way, I gave out a couple at Roos Roast coffee shop and humbly accepted the plaudits.

Walking into work from the parking lot, I nimbly balanced the Tupperware in one hand while carrying my briefcase in the other. The wind was ferocious, made more so by the Venturi effect (the intense gusting of wind forced between taller buildings, such as at an intersection). Well, dang if one of those gusts didn’t carry my Tupperware right out of my hand and flip that container open when it hit the parking lot. A dozen of my prized cookies scattered on the pavement, and the Tupperware lid rolled like tumbleweed.

I looked, aghast. I thought about the five second rule. I debated whether that rule applied in a parking lot, where cars’ tires have applied a steady coating of whatever they’ve picked up from the road, such as mud or animal carcasses. I briefly wondered if that might make the cookies offensive to vegetarians. The cookies looked good, but still … they were lying in a wet parking lot.

Gingerly, I picked one up that had been perched on top of another, and nibbled an edge. It was amazing. I decided against, however, gathering the cookies back up to serve my co-workers. It probably took me longer to make this decision than what is considered normal and decent; but eventually determined to make another batch.

So I sadly left the wind-scattered cookies in the parking lot. A couple hours later, they had been comically flattened. I posted a photo on Facebook with an appropriate lament, for these tasty morsels, that would never be sampled…

… my Ghirardelli Parking Lot Cookies

1 10 oz. bag of Ghirardelli Bittersweet (60% Chocolate) Baking Chips
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup each granulated and packed brown sugar (recipe calls for ¾ cup each)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional; I did not use any)

1) Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside.

2) In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color.

3) Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Mix on low speed until incorporated.

4) Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.

5) Drop by tablespoon onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

6) Heat oven to 375ºF. Refrigerate dough until oven preheats.

7) Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until just brown around the edges. (I like them slightly undercooked, but then again, I still eat raw dough.)

8) Slide parchment paper off cookie sheets and let cool.

These are also excellent if the cookies are refrigerated before serving.

A few weeks later, I did make another batch. I used semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet, and ran short of flour. They spread all over the pan and were too sweet. I served them at work with a disclaimer: the parking lot cookies were better.


Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard, and Walker PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil rights litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for “Current” magazine in Ann Arbor. He occasionally updates his blog at