I love baking.  When I was a little girl, it was the sweet stuff I craved most. My family used to joke that I had more than my share of sweet teeth.  So it’s no surprise that my first ventures in the kitchen were of the baking variety. 

I still thrill with joy at the sight of a perfectly flipped pancake or an expertly executed chocolate-chip cookie. 

The holidays are especially fun because there’s a good excuse to go overboard on the baking.  And plenty of appreciative people to share with.

On Monday, I turned my kitchen into a one-woman cookie factory.  I baked four different varieties.  Chocolate chip, white chocolate chip with pecans, shortbread, and pecan shortbread.  No tellin’ how many actual cookies. 

Let’s see, my chocolate chip cookie recipe supposedly makes 5 dozen.  And I did that twice.  Then there were the two shortbread varieties, probably another 2 dozen a piece.  So that adds up to around 14 dozen.  Which for some reason sounds a lot bigger than 168. 

Then I piled them all up on my collection of cake plates to share as party favors for my husband’s work party that we hosted. 

I wish I’d gotten a picture of them.  As I’m remembering them now, I could just kick myself for not taking a picture.  All the crystal sparkling and the stacks and stacks of cookies.  A Christmas wonderland to be sure.

I wish I could share them with all of you, but since I can’t, I’ll share my beloved chocolate-chip cookie recipe. 

Remember how I said the best part of food is the stories?  This recipe is so dear to me because it sort of represents that coming-of-age era when you begin to make your own decisions and do things for yourself.  I remember watching tv one morning probably Regis and Kathy Lee or something and they had this lady on that I had never heard of (Mrs. Fields) and she was going to share her “Star Chips” cookie recipe. 

During the commercial break, I grabbed a blank 4×6 card and a purple pen.  I wrote down every thing she said.  This was my cookie recipe and I was going to wow my family!

I still use that card to jog my memory but I mostly have it memorized now.  But it’s a hoot to look at that youthful handwriting in purple ink now covered with the kitchen splatters of a million uses and remember how big I felt.

Here it is:

Cream together 1 Cup brown sugar, 1 Cup white sugar, 2/3 Cup butter, 2/3 Cup shortening.  In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 Cups of flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder. 

To the creamy mix, add 2 tsp of vanilla and two extra large eggs.   I buy large eggs and use those just fine, but sometimes I add three.  Just depends on how I’m feeling. 

Then mix the dry into the creamy. (This is known as the creaming method, by the way.)  Once that’s good and mixed up, add in your chocolate chips.  1 bag, semi-sweet or milk. 

Refrigerate for about twenty minutes.  That gives you enough time to clean up your counters and pre-heat your oven to 375. 

Once your kitchen’s clean again, pull out the dough and some baking sheets.  Spoon them on.  Okay, everyone says a tablespoon full, but you don’t measure each one so what good is that?  I say, ping-pong ball sized.  Maybe slightly smaller than that, but there’s no need to roll them into balls.

Then bake them for. . .should I even say it. . .twelve minutes.  Don’t set the timer.  I know, I know.  You think you need the timer.  But the timer doesn’t tell you if they are perfectly done at eleven minutes or ten minutes and forty-five seconds or twelve minutes and thirteen seconds. 

Your nose knows.  When you smell cookies.  Check them.  They should be just turning brown on the edges and just sort of beige in the middle. 

They should not look like they are done-done.

Take them out and let them rest for just a minute or two on the pan, then remove to a cooling rack.

So there you have it.  My cookie recipe.

You can try it, but they’ll never be as good as if I come over and bake them for you, so you may as well just get a room ready for me and preheat your oven.

I’ll be over in a jif.