While things have been going smoothly since landing in Wellington, the past few days I’ve been constantly reminded that I am, in fact, not a Kiwi born and bred. This all came about due to my desire for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
I love these cookies and make them often in the winter as they’re warm, fluffy, and utterly delicious. As we’re going into winter down here, my body was like, “Time for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, Julia!”, so off to the store I went.
On the whole, NZ groceries are fine. Yeah, they have weird ass ice cream flavors and don’t keep their eggs in the chilled section, but there are also some sweet finds such as passionfruit yoghurt, Manuka honey muesli, and all the lamb you could want. But when I traipsed to the baking section, lo! To my dismay, their chocolate chips were not in fact chocolate chips – or rather, they were, but not American style choco chips – you know the ones, the perfectly sized, semi-sweet drops of chocolately goodness. Well, here “chocolate chips” are barely better than chocolate shavings. Their “chocolate drops” are comparable to American mini chocolate chips, but they have no regular sized ones. It goes from their mini drops to chocolate buttons (same same as our chocolate melts for making candy and dipping stuff in). They also don’t have semi-sweet, only milk, dark, and white chocolate. Sigh. So, what should’ve been an in-and-out stop for semi-sweet chocolate chips turned into quite the ordeal involving comparing all the chocolate filled bags in the baking section and asking a completely clueless stock boy who seemed to have very little enthusiasm for life or chocolate.
Now, for the other vital component of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies – the pumpkin! New World didn’t have pumpkin puree, but they also didn’t have any kind of pie fillings. “No big deal”, I thought, “I’ll just go to Countdown after work.” Well, dear readers, I searched all up and down the baking and canned fruit aisles of Countdown and, you guessed it, no canned pumpkin! I asked a much more in-the-land-of-the-living clerk for assistance. While her colleague searched the computer system, she went hunting down the aisles, as well. Neither of them thought they had anything other than pumpkin soup. (Side Note: NZ really doesn’t do sweet pies like Americans do. You can sometimes find apple pie filling, but that’s about it. Their savory pie game is on point and I’m a huge fan, but they need to up their sweet game 20 notches.) As we were scanning down the search screen and I exuberantly smacked the Libby’s Pumpkin Puree entry in delight and relief, the lady walked back towards us with a can in her hand. They apparently have a few cans in the International section, and the 15oz can cost a pretty $7. It’s a good thing she brought it to me, though, because when I went to the International aisle I couldn’t find it to save my life.
Two trips to two different stores, a bag of mini chocolate “chips” and a $7 can of pumpkin puree later, I have the final ingredients for these scrumptious cookies. Though next time I might just buy a bar of dark chocolate and puree the damn pumpkin myself.
However, my ordeal was totally worth it because these cookies are just that damn good!