Right now, you probably have no idea how much you should feel indebted to Ruth Graves Wakefield.
Although there’s some debate about whether or not it was an accident, Wakefield was the inventor of that little drop of heaven known as the Chocolate Chip Cookie. It’s difficult to imagine my life without Chocolate Chip Cookies, so I won’t try to. I’ll just remind you that, prior to the 1930s, the Chocolate Chip Cookie did not exist, which is a tragedy. It’s also a tragedy for those who still don’t enjoy this (definitely American) treat. Even worse a fate is that which those allergic to chocolate must face. (And for all of you who just don’t like chocolate… I have no pity. There is obviously something seriously wrong with you, and I suggest you visit your doctor immediately.)
One of my fondest memories from my childhood is baking with my mom, specifically when she taught me her Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. It was the first—come to think of it, still the only—recipe I memorized, and I made it again and again, changing a few small things to come up with what I think can’t be improved upon. I’ve tried other recipes, and they’ve been good. But this. This is the recipe.
And because it’s Christmastime, I also made them with red and green food coloring. Yummy—and festive!
Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 bag semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
Pinch salt, if desired
Preheat oven to 375 F. Cream butter, white sugar, and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to butter-and-egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Fold in chocolate chips, and use a spoon to place about 2-3 tablespoonfuls worth of dough roughly shaped into a ball onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until lightly golden. (Check oven frequently, however, as these cookies burn fast.) Let cool for a few minutes after taking cookies out before transferring them to a cooling rack. If a slightly saltier taste is desired, sprinkle salt over cookies right after they come out of the oven.
Yield: This recipe makes about 40 medium sized/large cookies and 60-72 small cookies. But who wants to make small cookies?
The great thing about this recipe is that it can serve as a good base. Substitute some oats for flour, add raisins, and you’ve got Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Add some butterscotch or peanut butter chips. Replace some of the flour with cocoa powder. There are so many places you could take these cookies.
Or you could not. I prefer mine simple. And I cherish these cookies now especially, because in January we’re going to try a month-long sugar fast. I know. I realize this is probably going to drive me slowly mad, but congratulations, you get to see it! I’ll be chronicling my journey here. It may be somewhat entertaining, if only because I don’t think I’ve ever gone that long without any sugar at all. My hope is that at least someone will be laughing about it.
So for now, as I bite into this gooey, chocolatey cookie, I’m just trying to enjoy this moment… while it lasts. And I certainly hope you enjoy these cookies. My mom deserves all the credit!