Remember the Friends episode with Phoebe’s cookies? Monica wanted Phoebe’s grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe as an engagement present. After realizing Phoebe had lost the only copy of the recipe, they slaved in the kitchen for hours trying different combinations (“Don’t try batch 16”) of egg, sugar, butter, and flour to recreate the recipe. At the end of the episode we learn that Phoebe’s grandmother’s cookie recipe was actually the recipe found on the back of Nestle Toll House chocolate chips. There is nothing wrong with handing down a family recipe which was found on the packaging of a baking product.
Last night with my friend Taunya, we dusted off the recipe for my Gran’s cookies and made what seemed like one hundred cookies. The recipe isn’t really a secret, but I am a believer that the way my grandmother prepared the cookies is the secret. I don’t know how many times I helped Gran make cookies, but each time seemed special as I watched her hands move carefully through the ingredients. She would pull up a stool for me to stand on and dress me in a hand made apron. Gran had this ceramic bowl with blue and pink stripes on it. I was often unwilling to wait while the butter softened, so she put me to work setting out the cooling racks, or lining the cookie sheets with aluminum foil.
The “secret” recipe came off a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda. I think I remember Gran telling me when I was a kid that my great grandmother discovered the recipe. Gran probably made thousands upon thousands of the buttery cookies, especially since she made cookies with all of her grandchildren. Making them as well as eating them is a family tradition. A few years back, well maybe it was a decade or two; my Aunt Wanda collected all the family recipes and compiled them into a handy dandy cook book. In “Family Jewels” my aunt tells brief stories about each recipe. The cookie recipe is my favorite; let me share it with you… You can find it on Arm & Hammer’s website. It is neat that this recipe is still being published.
Have ingredients at room temperature
- 2 ½ cups of plain flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
Cream the following until fluffy
- ½ cup butter or Oleo (don’t know if anyone still uses Oleo)
- ½ cup Crisco or vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir in dry ingredients and till mixture is smooth
Blend in 2 tablespoons of milk
Drop by teaspoon onto greased baking sheet. Flatten with bottom of a glass dipped in oil and then sugar.
Bake at 400°F for 10 – 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. (I only needed 6 minutes)
Makes about 5 ½ dozen 2 inch cookies
You can mix chocolate chips, raisins, coconut, or nuts. You can also top the cookies with whole pecans, sprinkles, or my favorite cinnamon.
This recipe is very special to me. I am sure there are thousands of people who use this recipe each day. It may not be a gourmet recipe, but it is special to me and my family. In an effort to connect with my mother-in-law I gave her this recipe at Christmas. She didn’t get it. I guess most people don’t get it. Just like most people don’t get Christmas. We live in a rush, rush world. An easy bake, slice and serve culture. However, it doesn’t matter if it is Nestle Toll House or the break and bake cookies from the freezer section of your local grocery store, as long you are cooking with the ones you love. That is what is important.
I enjoyed baking with Taunya. The cookies are delicate and sweet and my husband thinks that anything is good with butter. He wants to create a new butter marketing slogan, WWPDD – What Would Paula Deen Do? She uses lots of butter! Use this recipe or another, buy some butter, and find a kid and make thousand of cookies tonight!