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Liz’s chocolate chippers

A terrible baker takes on a family legacy

Whenever my family is invited to a party, there’s always an expectation that my mom will bring her famous chocolate chip cookies. To be honest, it’s probably the only reason we get invited places.

Affectionately called “chocolate chippers” by my little cousins, my mom’s cookies have been a staple in my diet for as long as I can remember. They’re perfect – puffy, impeccably textured and absolutely loaded with chocolate chips.

Though I’d helped my mom make them many times, I’d never attempted to bake her recipe myself – mostly out of fear of ruining them.

Until last week.

The funny thing is, my mom actually just uses the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip bag – it’s not technically unique to her. But she has a special process that makes them turn out so perfectly, and I tried to stay as true to that process as possible.

The recipe calls for:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 cups chocolate chips

  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional; I personally don’t use them)

To start off, you’re supposed to soften the butter in the microwave. But I forgot to do that, so I just tossed it in a bowl with the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract and struggled to mix it all together.

After mixing for what felt like forever, my mixture looked like chunky mashed potatoes with gravy, so I let it sit for a while and moved onto mixing the rest of my dry ingredients.

In another bowl, I mixed the flour, baking soda and salt; then I combined the two bowls. My mom typically mixes the ingredients by hand, but I’m not as muscular as her, so I used a mixer.

I gradually added the chocolate chips as I mixed, and after a while, it started to look exactly like my mom’s classic dough.

Once the dough was fully mixed, it was time to employ my mom’s secret method: put the dough in the fridge and let it chill for three hours.

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My mom typically chills it overnight, but I didn’t have that kind of time, so three hours had to do. I’m not sure why chilling the dough makes such a difference, but my mom swears it’s what keeps them from flattening.

After the dough finished chilling, I made 12 little balls, placed them on a baking sheet and popped it into the oven. The recipe says they should bake for nine to 11 minutes, so I left them in for 10.

To my delight, they held their shape well – they looked just as thick and chip-packed as my mom’s. 

But, looks aren’t nearly as important as taste.

I was hanging out with fellow assistant editors Abby and Sean while I baked the cookies, so we all tried them together. The general consensus was that they were decent but, oddly, a tad salty. 

I think I may have added too much flour, which caused the lack of sweetness, but overall, I’m proud of my first attempt at my mom’s iconic cookies.

But even if I do eventually perfect the recipe, they’ll always be better when my mom makes them – especially since her company is a major part of what makes them so great.