As I planned this post, I found myself wishing for a fun story of how I started making these cookies. Unfortunately, I don’t live a life of glitz and glamour, so I mostly imagine I found the original recipe somewhere in a cookbook my grandmother gave me or in one of my many 4-H cookbooks and have turned it into my own over the years.
But I do remember one of my first times sharing them. As an junior in the secondary English education program at Ohio State, we were charged to create a memorable lesson to teach high school students the value of editing and revising in the writing process. I’d regularly made these cookies for several years prior to that, so connecting my two loves of teaching and baking was second nature. I had my classmates learn the value of editing and revising by providing them with a version of the cookie using a recipe where I had ‘mistakenly’ confused the sugar measurement with the salt measurement (revising) and written several of the directions without proper punctuation, grammar or antecedents (editing). So instead of tasting a cookie they anticipated had been made with 1.5 cups of sugar and a teaspoon of salt, they were (going to) munch on cookies made with 1.5 cups of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Um, yeah. That was one of the funniest moments in college. The starting center for the university’s basketball team was one of my classroom partners that year, and I will never forget the look on his face when he shoveled half of that cookie into his mouth and promptly spit it back into his hand.
The lesson was an absolute success–especially when, for a treat, I revealed that I’d made a second batch of cookies for them that had been made with (what I’d hoped) the recipe they’d successfully revised and edited. I did get a few shifty side glances and a lot of long sniffs before they nibbled off the warm, crispy edges, just to make sure I’d used the corrected recipe. But that only lasted a moment before the cookies were devoured in a cloud of crumbs and chocolate in only the way college kids can appreciate homemade cookies.
Maybe it was the lingering sharpness of the salt in their mouths that made them ooh and ahh over the real cookies? I guess I’ll never know. But a year later when we were all student teaching in different locations throughout the city and coming together each week at our advisor’s home, someone would inevitably ask about the cookies. Had I made anymore? Could I bring some next week? I often did, and those were some good times.
Multiply that moment by twenty years and that batch of cookies by, oh, at least 300, and you’ll have the lifespan of this cookie recipe and all the mouths that have loved it. I’ve made them for family gatherings, football teams, basketball coaches, bake sales, staff meetings, student lessons, birthday parties, tailgates in half a dozen different states and ‘just because’. I’ve had teachers from my first year of teaching 20 years ago (in a different district) send notes home with my hubby (who still teaches in that district) asking me to send in a batch for a staff potluck. I had so much success with this recipe that I sold them by the baker’s dozen over a two-year period at my last job (order on Monday, delivered on Thursday) and made enough money to upgrade my oven and stove at our old house to a two-oven kitchen.
Now those are good cookies! While I can’t promise you money and fame with these cookies, I promise there will be many good memories created when you share them with the people you love. After school, after dinner, anytime…enjoy!
Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened but not melted
1/2 c. shortening (I use butter flavor Crisco sticks)
1 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
21/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
2 c. chocolate chips (I used mini chips for this recipe)
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil sprayed with nonstick spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening and sugars until light and homogenous. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, until creamy. Add half of flour and mix until completely combined, then add remaining flour, salt and baking soda. Mix only until combined.
Stir in half of chocolate chips with a wooden spoon or spatula. Be sure to scrape dough up from the bottom to make sure chips are throughout dough. Stir in remaining chips until mixed in.
Using a small scoop or tablespoon, space dough approximately 2″ apart on cookie sheet. Be careful not to crowd dough. Bake for approximately 11 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and center is not quite set (if you like chewy cookies) or set (if you like crisp cookies). Remove from oven and allow to cool 2-3 minutes before cooling on a cookie rack.
After portioning dough, dough balls can be frozen on the sheet then stored in the freezer in heavy duty freezer bags for up to 30 days.