Tuesday, December 28, 2010


My brother is much older than me. His birthday is on Christmas day. He has always felt cheated. An engineer with Agilent, he is an incredibly smart man. He's also a teddy bear of a brother. Smart, successful, talented - he is impossible to buy presents for. The family has always suffered at Christmas - not only having to come up with a Christmas gift but also a birthday gift for the "impossible to buy presents for" guy. Thankfully, we stopped exchanging Christmas gifts a few years ago. His birthday still rains terror into our hearts. Luckily, he and I hit on the perfect solution for each other. He loves my chocolate chip cookies. It is our mother's recipe that she found off either a Nestle's bag or Crisco can many, many years ago. So, every year on Christmas eve, I bake a batch of cookies for his birthday. I even hold out a half cup or so of dough - his favorite part! Perfect...

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Cream together shortening and sugars and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt, and add to mixture. Add chocolate chips and walnuts (optional). Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly golden on top.
Makes around 3-4 dozen cookies. Less if you eat the raw dough!

For all you purists, I know it will be difficult, but do not substitute butter for the shortening. We have tried it. It's a completely different cookie. The shortening makes it.

Important tips:
Use shortening. Go heavy on the flour. Organic or pure vanilla extract makes a huge difference. Eggs should be room temperature. If you like more dough than chocolate, go light on the chips.


Happy Birthday, Mikey!

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