Chocolate Chip Cookie Two-fer

Cold milk, warm cookie. Nirvana.

There’s a chocolate chip cookie recipe I keep in my hip pocket, so to speak. Actually, I keep it rubber-banded to the canister of all-purpose flour in my kitchen cabinet. That’s how close I keep this recipe.

Originating in the kitchens of Hershey’s Chocolate Company decades ago, these cookies have been in my family forever, they mix up quickly, and they taste divine fresh out of the oven once the molten chocolate has cooled enough not to sear the roof of your mouth. They’re still tasty the next day, but less so.  The third day? Forget it. You’re eating crumbly cookies simply as a vehicle for hard chocolate chips. A cookie has to do more than that.

For flavor, keeping qualities, and chocolaty goodness, I want the Jumbo Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies from my dog-eared copy of a holiday edition of Everyday Food magazine (© 2006 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.). Then I trade the raisins for chocolate chips, toast the oatmeal, reduce the size of the cookie from jumbo to medium, and fill the cookie jar.

I happen to like raisins a lot. In a perfect world, I’d keep the raisins in recipe number two every time I make it. But too often I’ve found my last born eating these over the kitchen trash can like a squirrel consumes a nut, nibbling around the raisins so they drop into the can and away from her target: the chocolate. You’re going to work that hard to dodge the raisins? I’ll make you a cookie without them. (This time.) Not much I can do to change first born’s preference for the raw dough over baked, except sigh and hand over the bowl. She’s usually a little peeved that I scraped the sides too well.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Number One

1 cup vegetable shortening (non-hydrogenated)

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, broken into a small bowl

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 scant cups chocolate chips (Scant just means don’t fill the cup measure to the brim. Having too many chips ruins the ratio of chip to batter and is not a good thing, believe it or not.)

Prepare 3 cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the shortening, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; add to the creamed mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven to cool slightly on racks, then transfer cookies directly to racks to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

2 large eggs, broken into a small bowl

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread oats over the surface of a cookie sheet. Once oven is hot, put oats in the oven to toast for about 8 minutes. Watch carefully so that they don’t burn, and shake the pan to move the oats around a couple of times during the process. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven to cool on rack, stirring oats occasionally to speed the process. Once oats are cool, proceed with recipe.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Cut the sticks of butter into pieces into the bowl of an electric mixer, and add the brown and white sugars. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add flour mixture and beat just until combined. Stir in cooled oats, chocolate chips, and coconut.

Drop cookie dough by tablespoons onto 3 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake until cookies are golden brown and soft, about 15-18 minutes. Let cookie sheets cool for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to racks to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen. Variation: Reduce amount of chocolate chips to 1 cup; add 1 cup of raisins.

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