While beautiful Christmas cookies decorate the pages of holiday magazines, I doubt many taste quite as good as soft, homemade, chocolate chip cookies still warm from the oven.
Although ready-to-bake cookies from the refrigerated case at the supermarket probably have their place, I am talking about made-from-scratch cookies, stirred in a bowl in your kitchen with staples you already have in your pantry.
For several years, when I taught a high school foods class, my students would crank out dozens of homemade chocolate chip cookies to sell to the student body during the morning passing period as a fundraiser.
We had a commercial mixer and we mixed batches using 10 pounds of flour at a time. It was literally a lesson in production. No need to advertise on baking days — the aroma of freshly baked cookies wafting down the corridors brought students, faculty and administrators to us in droves.
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Suddenly my students were heroes; everyone was scrambling to get in line to purchase chocolate chip cookies before the class bell rang. No one bought just one — usually it was four, six or more.
Now, several years later, former students and staff members sometimes seek me out looking for that "special" chocolate chip cookie recipe. The odd thing is, it's not special at all. It is very much like many other cookie recipes.
But we did tweak it a bit to create a more delicious cookie. The original recipe called for butter, but we used half butter and half shortening (Crisco) because that makes a softer cookie. Also, we used real chocolate chips, not chocolate-flavored chips. After experimenting with different brands of flour, we concluded that national brands produced a better result than store brands.
If you are in a baking mood, try these chocolate chip cookies. They're neither new nor trendy, but have stood the test of time to be a true crowd-pleaser.