Thirty-four years of chocolate chip cookies and I’m not even close to growing tired of those little rounds of chocolatey-studded comfortable heaven.
Well, thirty-four years might be slightly inaccurate. I’m not entirely sure I was fed a chocolate chip cookie in my first year of life. But it wouldn’t surprise me if it made the First Five Solid Foods list. At all.
Chocolate chip cookies have been my Maman’s go-to dessert as long as I can remember. And for good reason. Hers are completely perfect. I say ‘dessert’ but they have certainly counted as countless breakfasts, lunches, dinners and any time of the day or night snacks over the years. Not for lack of real food. Just my lack of discipline with her cookies.
Vivid memories of a certain day, about three years ago, go on record indisputably as my worst food day ever. And I use ‘worst’ strictly on principle. I decided to bake cookies. Not unusual. But for whatever reason on this day- between raw dough, warm out-of-the-oven cookies, and cooled ones still waiting on wire racks for their rightful resting places- I ate between sixteen and eighteen cookies. As close as I could figure. And I’d probably already eaten my usual Oatmeal Squares breakfast.
Quick mental math kicked on in my head: adding the ridiculous number of calories I’d just consumed, plus breakfast I’d already eaten, subtracting for the (thank goodness) about three hours of exercise I was doing daily at the time… and the sum equalled my eating only a can- yes, a southern seasoned can– of green beans for the entire rest of the day. Worth it? Every last mushy, olive-color bean… yes.
And I’m fairly certain these same chocolate chip cookies scored me friends all through middle and high school. My Maman was subtly brilliant- she brought them to every football game, every band competition… everyone knew- and loved- her cookies. But she would argue to this day that I had incredible friends- which I did- solely because I was a perfectly lovely teenage girl.
I’m compelled to disagree here. I was the quintessential nerd in every sense of the word. If I did bloom, it was most assuredly late. I played saxophone in the band, wore glasses and braces, was plagued with worse-than-average teenage acne, and had utterly untamable frizzy hair in the Alabama humidity. I probably reached my adult height of 5’10” by the age of fifteen. And I was smart. Really smart. Generally, a socially deadly combination for any teenage kid. But somehow, I had friends. And my friends had cookies.
As strange as it sounds, I don’t remember ever actually making cookies with my Maman when I lived at home. But I do remember having her recipe, neatly copied on a 3×5 card and taped to the inside of my kitchen cabinet door. The door closest to the mixer, of course. And every time I’ve moved, that little card, now yellowed with transparent spots of butter stain, has followed me.
And I may have tweaked this or that over the years, but essentially, here is Maman’s Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Yeilds 5-6 dozen cookies. I guarantee it won’t be too many, but you can halve the recipe easily if you really don’t like to share. Or you’re afraid of a can of green beans.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup butter-flavored solid vegetable shortening
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, room temperature is best
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 cups chocolate chips (milk, dark, mini, chunks… or combo of whichever you have)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- With a mixer, cream the butter, shortening, sugars and vanilla until light. Add eggs until mixed well.
- Add the rest of the dry ingredients, except chips, and mix until evenly combined.
- Stir in chips, and scoop or portion into balls. Dough can be chilled at this step for a few days. Chilled dough will also yield a taller cookie.
- Bake at 350F until edges just begin to brown but centers still look not quite done. Carry-over cooking from the hot pan will finish the center for a few minutes after removal from the oven.
For a comprehensive description of the science of the chocolate chip cookie- how to make a thin crispy one or a taller cake like one or various other tweaks to create YOUR perfect cookie- check out this brilliantly written blog, complete with incredible cookie photos: The Science of the Chocolate Chip Cookie. I don’t know Baker Bettie, but this article is a winner.