Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I spoke with someone today with enthusiasm about my new blog, and he said “Most blogs last a month.” Then I told him that I have a plan. I’m going to post regularly for an initial period of six months. That’s the commitment I’ve made to myself. From there, if I still love it (which I will) I’ll keep going.

Finding inspiration to write regularly can be challenging. Here I am, just a month into this, and there are almost thirty postings under my belt. My boyfriend Russ commented that I write my blog like I write letters (we used to write real letters to each other in the early days of our long-distance couple-hood. It was nice.). He said it’s like reading “letters to the Universe.” I love that. Not so much that it’s a romantic notion (it is) but that he realizes that this energy is sent out to anyone who might enjoy reading it. He gets it, and I hope my blog’s so-far few (and hopefully soon, more) readers will get that, too.

I realize I need a hook. Something that grabs and holds you for a while. Yesterday’s brownies a la Katharine Hepburn brought in some new readers. Yea! Lest you wonder if I’m running out of enticements, don’t you worry. There’s more up my flour-dusted sleeve! A lot more.

Knowing your (or your bff’s) weakness for chocolate, I’m bringing out my best – CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! This is my recipe, inspired by the Toll-House original but adapted over the years, from the days when these came right out of the oven the moment my kids got off the school bus. Yeah, I know, I was June Clever-ish back in the day, except I didn’t wear a house dress, my house was never as neat as hers, and Ward was no where in sight! I was no perfect house-wife, and for their later school years I wasn’t a wife, and soon after that, I didn’t have a house! Regardless of the situation, our home was always a little bit messy, but my kids have nice memories of home-baked chocolate chip cookies!

There’s no need to buy pre-made cookie dough with all the artificial who-knows-what and now, with recent recalls due to strange organisms, you’re better off with the real deal. These are easy to mix up, and you can even form the cookies and then freeze the little nuggets in a zip-bag for that instant fix at a later date. Almost as good as the manufactured thing!


2 bars butter, softened
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (or 1 ¼ c. a.p. flour with 1 cup oat flour* or whole wheat flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Add-ins if desired: ½ cup chopped walnuts, white chocolate chips, raisins or craisins

*oat flour can be made by whirling oatmeal in a blender until it's a flour consistency.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter with vanilla and sugars until light and fluffy. (If you don’t have a mixer, you can melt the butter, let it cool a bit, and stir in the sugars and vanilla. It makes a more caramel-type cookie). To the butter/sugar mixture, beat in eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, mix flour with baking soda and salt and blend into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate and any other add-ins.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Flatten just a bit with two fingers, not too much. A little squish. Bake until just beginning to brown at the edge, somewhere between 9 and 11 minutes depending on your oven and whether you like them bendy or crispy. You can tell they’re done when the center of the cookie loses its gloss. Don’t let them get too brown.

Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes. Finish cooling on rack or paper towels. Depending on size, makes about 3 dozen.

Fill the cookie jar. Bake more cookies. Repeat.

Bonus: Freeze eight (or more) of the cookies. When frozen, take two at a time and fill with softened vanilla ice cream so that there’s about an inch of ice cream between the cookies. STOP! You can’t eat them yet. Wrap these up and freeze again until the ice cream is hard, at least a few hours or overnight. BEST ice-cream sandwich ever!

Next blog: Getting ready for the 4th of July: An impressive Ice Cream Cake anyone can make!

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