My little brother came home from college for spring break, so naturally I made chocolate chip cookies.
Chocolate chip cookies are hardly a secret. The basic recipe for chocolate chip cookies is on the back of most packages of chocolate chips. The beautiful thing about them is how many people find them delicious. Put out a plate in most places heaped with chocolate chip cookies, and they’ll disappear with alacrity.
I had a friend who, when he felt people needed a boost, would get up at five o’clock in the morning to bake chocolate chip cookies. He would bring in large bagfuls of them to our workplace. We would all crowd around in anticipation.
One of the things I find interesting about chocolate chip cookies is that, even with the same recipe, my cookies are different than my friend’s cookies, and different again from my roommate’s chocolate chip cookies. I like mine soft – so soft that they’re quite bendy. They tend to be thin, too. My friend’s cookies were always much thicker, and perfect for dunking in milk.
No matter what the cookies look like, though, I always equate chocolate chip cookies with home. It seems like these are the first cookies parents might bake with their children. Certainly they are the cookies I remember making most during my childhood. My mother liked to bake them into bars rather than cookies, with mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. My brothers and I liked to eat them no matter what shape they were in.
My father, though he doesn’t bake, has another take on chocolate chip cookies. He sometimes jokes that his mother always burned the first tray of cookies in the oven, so that’s the way he likes them. Since this is the opposite of how I make them, he often leaves them alone for a week or more, until they’ve hardened into the appropriate crunchiness.
Chocolate chip cookies are what I baked during the first weekends I came home from college as a freshman. I would be in the kitchen stirring up a batch, telling my parents about how classes were going, or about my roommate or the marching band. It was like I could let go of a heavy load with each pass of the spoon through the dough. Now, I don’t make them as stress relief. Mostly I save them for special occasions – like my little brother coming home.
He seems to like them best fresh from the oven, after all the work has been done. There’s something, I think, about melted chocolate chips that is almost irresistible. Personally, I love making the cookies. I’ve always liked to steal tastes throughout the process – which is exactly what my mother told me not to do when I was little. So far, it has not made me sick once…knock on wood.
With cookies, I’m trying to let my little brother know that I’m glad he’s home. Because of class, I can’t spend much time with him, but I know that when he comes down in the morning hours after I’ve left, he’ll have chocolate chip cookies waiting for him.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 package chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Soften the butter, and cream it with the sugar. If you think butter is too expensive to use all the time, you can use one stick butter with one stick margarine. This achieves a butter flavor and texture but is a little cheaper.
Stir in vanilla and eggs.
Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. I’ve confused baking soda with baking powder before, but that’s not right. Stir into butter and eggs mixture.
All that’s left is to add the chocolate chips. I like mini chips because that means the chocolate is more spread out, but any kind of chips are fine.
Drop, at about a spoonful at a time, onto a baking sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes. A shorter baking time means a softer cookie, a longer baking time is a little more firm.
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