November 30, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Kindgergarten, 1978


I'm pretty sure mom took the photos that day.

Pigtails. Bell bottoms. Chocolate milk.

And since it was around Christmas, chocolate chip cookies. Tollhouse, usually. Made with sticks of salted butter.


Back to Basics


I picked up a bag of Ghirardelli semi-sweet. The recipe posted on the bag would be my guide, just like Tollhouse.

We didn't need chocolate chip cookies, though. We were still hammering away at a batch of coconut oatmeal. But when the kitchen is quiet, it's difficult to remain idle. So, I set the butter out to soften.

I thought about mom. How we'd make a batch of chocolate chip cookies around Christmas every year. Half with chocolate chips. Half, walnut only, for grandmom and pop pop Bill.

Lining tins with paper towels and stacking the cookies carefully for family and friends.

I'll do the same this year. I want to keep things simple and nostalgic, because it feels good to keep things simple and nostalgic.


Weight and Chill


Once the dough was just mixed I scraped down the edges with a rubber spatula and pulled out a soup spoon.

I placed a scoop on the scale. 1 1/2 oz.

I quickly rolled the dough and placed it on a plate.


When the last ball had been rolled I stuck the plate of chocolate chip cookie dough balls into the fridge to chill while the oven came up to temperature.

They would bake for 7 minutes. I would open the oven door and rotate the tray. The cookies would bake for 7 minutes more.

In order to allow for even spread and uniformity, only one cookie sheet took up residence in the oven at a time. And between each round, the cookie sheet just used would cool down while the other cookies baked.

There was a rhythm. With just a minute left for the cookies in the oven I would proceed to place the next round onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, delicately smashing the balls down with the palm of my hand.


  1. Tracy, chocolate chip cookies, and the memories of them, need no special reason.

  2. I so agree. Simple and nostalgic does feel good. I remember my mom baking toll house cookies...

  3. today must be cookie day! between yours and Nichole's Chocolate Chubs and Barbara's Chocolate Sparklers I'm ready to abandon all things and bake.

    such comfort in the rhythm of baking..

  4. Tracy: as food bloggers, we tend to veer for the new... but I agree with you -and Denise- and am slowly realizing that simple and nostalgic is very, very good.
    "There was a rhythm" is my favorite sentence in the post.

  5. Wendi - You are right.

    Denise - I would always sneak a little bit of the raw dough...

    nancy - The rhythm sets me right.

    Michele - :)

    amelia - I think it's my favorite sentence too.

  6. I think it's great that you made chocolate chip cookies, and that it was a holiday tradition for you growing up. It's funny, I've been trying to find some WOW recipe to make and take to a cookie swap this weekend, but honestly, these are classic and there is so much comfort in classic, simple, unassuming. They are the unsung rockstar cookies.

  7. Nicole - Last year I spent tons of time researching cookie recipes and test baking, it was brutal. While I was happy with the results it would have been simpler and just as satisfying to bake a couple batches of chocolate chip. Comfort cookies.

  8. This post is so beautiful. It has made me remember those times in the kitchen with my mother. It's funny how a moment plus a passage of time will reveal how special it all was afterall. I loved seeing your photo.

  9. alexandria - I love how these little moments are tucked away, revealing themselves at just the right time :)


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