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My Big Fat Oreo Experiment

The cookies I baked for my daughter tasted like crud, but I had fun doing it. Let’s hear it — really! — for the joys of ADHD impulsiveness.

Sometimes life’s lessons come in somber robes with majestic fanfare and dramatic lighting. For me, however, life’s lessons arrive in a clown car that just ran me over. I’m not complaining. The randomness that ADHD introduces into my life is often entertaining. I’ve learned to go with it. Sometimes the randomness yields new adventures.

Take a recent shopping trip. I had three things on my shopping list. Three things. I can remember three things. I was driving and couldn’t jot down notes, so I committed them, sort of, to memory. What could go wrong?

OJ, popsicles, and…was it Oreos? Oh, hey! I wanted to make homemade white-fudge Oreos for my 15-year-old. She loves them. I was on a cooking adventure. How hard could it be? Just buy some white chocolate chips, melt them on the stovetop, dip in the Oreos, right? Well, not quite. My adventure went something like this:

“Oh, crud! It’s burning,” I shouted.

“What are you doing over there?” asked my 15-year-old daughter.

“Wait! It’s turning brown! I’m caramelizing the white chocolate. That’s OK, right?” My daughter looked at me as if I were babbling nonsense. “No, this doesn’t look OK,” I said. “Shouldn’t this be getting soupier?”

The white chocolate started to brown on the bottom like pancakes while getting lumpy in the middle. I frantically searched the Internet, and I found a recipe. You know, that thing you’re supposed to start with?

“Oh! I need shortening. Yeah, that looks good! Let’s put some more in. Maybe some water? There! Perfect consistency!” So much for recipes. I knew my first attempt was a disaster, so I only dipped six cookies.

Fifteen minutes later the cookies were cool and ready for consumption. They looked exactly like the store-bought ones, except for the lumps and brown coloring. I pulled the first one off the cookie sheet and offered it to my daughter.

“Here, honey!”

“What the heck?” she said. “They’re so ugly!”

I love ADHD diplomacy. At least she was smiling when she said it. I announced that I had made them for her. She bit into one, and ran to the sink.

Were they that bad? I’m usually an excellent cookie baker. People ask me to make them cookies. I’m good. Oh, yeah. I’m a cookie ninja. I was so confident that I didn’t even taste them before sharing. Then I popped one in my mouth to see what she was complaining about. “Ugh, tastes like barf! What the heck!”

As I leaned over the kitchen trashcan to spit out my so-called Oreos, my 12-year-old year old patted me on the back and said comfortingly, “I guess you aren’t a very good cook, Daddy.” My 15-year-old and I laughed long and hard. It takes ADHD to fail this grandly.

Obviously, I’m a good cook. I feed my girls all the time, and bake perfect cookies, too. Sometimes experiments go awry, especially ones born on a whim. I told my kids we shouldn’t be afraid to follow an ADHD whim and do something for the fun of it. I tried something new and failed, but I wasn’t upset. I enjoyed myself. It’s easy to focus on the negatives of ADHD, but that impulsiveness can lead to enriching experiences and new flavors. Even the mishaps have their upsides, not that we can eat laughter.