It was 5th grade. We were having a bake sale at school. My mom thought I should make the cookies myself. She gave me the recipe and I went to work. I watched the cookies bake in the oven and they grew larger and larger until they covered the entire pan. I took them out of the oven, let them cool a bit, and tasted them. They were disgusting. Instead of putting 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in the cookies, I put 1/2 cup.
And so it was that I developed an interest in cooking. Being the overachieving perfectionist that I was (and still am), I couldn’t stop until I mastered the chocolate chip cookie. My cookies became quite popular at bake sales as the years went by and I moved on to other culinary adventures. These cookies are special to me and I have gone back and forth on sharing the recipe. I might be a little bit selfish when it comes to these. They are my perfect chocolate chip cookie. Others might disagree. Every home cook needs their go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. And each home cook has their different ideas about what makes for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Here’s my version for you to try out. You never know, you might fall in love.
Cooking Time: 5 minutes prep, 10 to 12 minutes bake
Yield: Approximately 2 dozen cookies
1 cup fat (lard, vegetable shortening, or butter)*
1 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups milk chocolate chips (Ghiradelli or Guittard)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together fat, brown sugar, and white sugar.
3. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
4. Stir in baking soda, salt, and flour and mix until it forms a nice dough. Stir in chocolate chips with a spoon.
5. Use a large spoon to portion out a cookie size. Use your hands to quickly shape into a dough ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Make 24 cookies.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.
7. Remove and cool on the sheet for 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
*So what’s the deal with the different fats? Each fat will produce a slightly different result. Vegetable shortening happens to be my go-to choice of fat. The melting point provides for minimal spread of the cookie, meaning, the cookie still has a nice amount of thickness to it and won’t spread out as much when it bakes. Today’s home cooks are straying from the trans fat of vegetable shortening. A good alternative is straight lard which provides for a similar result. Butter can also be used, but the melting point is different and will cause a lot more spreading, resulting in a thinner cookie. My friend Mel over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe has done a lot of experimenting with butter temperature if you want to go the butter route.