Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our recipe for chocolate chip cookies comes with a bit of history, a Cookie Monster / Tom Waits mashup, and our usual nerdy tips for the tastiest cookies.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies! Who DOESN’T love them? The churlish people, that’s who, you know the ones I mean. Those sour, pinch-lipped joykills with hearts of black, black stone. People who, for whatever reason, just don’t have a sweet tooth. People whose doctors have advised them to maintain a cookie-free lifestyle. People with gluten intolerance. Er. Look, I’ll come in again.

Cookies! Who DOES love them?

While you’re enjoying that, have a little bit of history of chocolate chip cookies. No extra charge.

It’s not always possible to identify the exact time and place a recipe was invented, or with whom it originated, but with the chocolate chip cookie, we can. Not only do we know exactly who invented it, when, and where, but we also know that, somewhat bizarrely, it was invented before the chocolate chip.

In 1938 Ruth Wakefield, proprietor of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, MA, made a small change in the recipe for her butterscotch cookies, substituting a chopped-up chocolate bar. And that’s how chocolate chip cookies were born. It became so popular and renowned that Nestlé not only permanently added the name of her restaurant to their baking chocolate bars, but also began to sell packets of ready-made chips specifically to be added to this recipe.

Sadly, the inn burned down in 1985, and now the Toll House sign at the Inn’s original location only welcomes you to a Walgreen’s parking lot.

Where the Toll House was. Don't worry, it's a big lot. nobody will hear your sobs.
Where the Toll House was. Don’t worry, it’s a big lot, nobody will hear your sobs.

Read more

Brownie Bites with Vanilla Mascarpone Filling

Brownie bites? Oh, they’re just delightfully cute bite-size versions of brownies, in sandwich form, with a vanilla mascarpone cream filling. Why do you ask?

Brownie Bites with Vanilla Mascarpone FillingWhy is a teeny-tiny version of just about anything so much more fun than a regular-sized version of that same thing? For instance; regular wool hat? Mmm, nice. Ridiculously tiny hat that sits on top of an egg cup? Oh-my-god-adorable-but-why-is-it-so-expensive?

I swear, I usually have an allergy to things that are “cutsey” but a wee little Eames chair just pokes me right in the awww-bone (which, oddly enough, is right next to the eeeew-bone).

NERD ALERT: Speaking of the eeeew-bone, as I was “researching” miniature stuff (also known as wasting time on the internet), I came across the work of Lisa Wood who makes Miniature Insect DioramasI am officially obsessed with these. My favorites are “Caterpillar having an Eye Exam” and “Ants Looking into a Crystal Ball”.

So, back to mini-edibles. Especially when it comes to sweets, something that would be way over the top when full-sized can be a perfect little bite when scaled down. This idea worked well with our Lemon Squares so I thought, why not try it with something chocolaty?

Well… ahem, *breathes on nails and buffs them on shirt*, these, my lovelies, are really good. Think whoopie pie meets brownie meets sandwich cookie and then scale it down to its adorable nexus. It’a a diminutive delight! A mini marvel! A Lilliputian lovely … okay, I’ll stop now. [Matt says: “I can’t believe you didn’t use the phrase ‘dessert sliders’ “]

But I mean, come on! Look at that thing! It’s not a giant hand! They’re tiny brownie bites.

Brownie Bites with Vanilla Mascarpone Filling

Read more

Sea Salt, Oatmeal and White Chocolate Cookies

Sea Salt, Oatmeal and White Chocolate CookiesI don’t remember having cookies when I was growing up in Britain in the 1970s. I don’t mean to say that they didn’t exist; in all probability they were around, but in the country’s crowded biscuit industry, with its Bourbons, its  Garibaldis, and Custard Creams, its Jammie Dodgers and digestives of both plain and chocolate variety, its Rich Teas, Penguins, and Jaffa Cakes, there seemed to be no great need for American imported options. Biscuits are great, though, you can have them all year round, they have absolutely no health benefits, and you’re allowed twice as many at Christmas, because of course that’s the time when everyone is a bit low on fat and carbs. 

There are plenty of sweet baked items you can make at home, of course, but nobody makes biscuits; there’d be no point. And you see, that’s my socialist English upbringing again; of course, in America, you dream, you aspire, and yes, you SHALL make cookies, and take them to the moon, too, dammit. But the same principles apply: they’re not in any way seasonal, and people like to make twice as many during the winter months. 

Good thing, then, that just before Spring leapt into the calendar and stole an hour from us, last week I decided to make cookies. To tell the truth, I believe the conversation in the house went something like this:

Me: Do we have any cookies in the house?

Emily: I don’t think so, but you could make some! And blog it.

Me: That seems like a lot of work!

Emily: But cookies.

Me: Can’t argue with that.

Emily: And blog it.

Read more

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Oatmeal Lace CookiesOatmeal Lace Cookies. So pretty. So crispy. They get their name from the fact that they are so delicate, you can almost see through them – like lace. Fancy!

These oatmeal lace cookies have always had a hallowed place in our holiday gift-bag lineup, along with pecan crescents and English toffee with chocolate. They’re a lot of fun to make and are always a great hit.

I actually have two different recipes that I use for Lace cookies (I’ll blog the other one another time) but I prefer this version for the holidays because it makes a slightly less fragile cookie.  That means you can actually give them as gifts without worrying that they will become a pile of oat dust by the time someone receives them. “Happy Christmas, friend! Enjoy!” (Friend opens box, sees a mound of crumbs). “Um…thanks?” (friend gives cookies to dog).

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Read more

Pecan Crescent Cookies

We make these pecan crescent cookies every year as a Christmas treat – the melt-in-the-mouth, nutty, crumbly treats will please any crowd. 

Pecan Crescent Cookies

You know a cookie is a classic when every person who tastes one says “Ermahgerd, gramma’s kerkies!” (translation: Oh my god, my grandmother used to make those cookies). Whether your grandmother was Italian, Jewish, Latin American, Scandinavian, or Asgardian, chances are, she made these cookies (Well, not my grandmother, who was a famously terrible cook).

Sometimes it’s just nostalgia that makes us swoon over a taste of the past but in this case, familiarity is unnecessary. These pecan crescent cookies are good. They have a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-like texture and a lovely deep nuttiness.  It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without them.

Nerd Tips

  • Toast the pecans well, but don’t scorch them. I like to do them in a skillet (medium heat, tossing often, about 5-7 minutes until you can smell a nutty aroma). You can also do them in them oven on a baking sheet (325 degrees F, 10-15 minutes, turn them once).
  • Make sure the dough is fully chilled before shaping the crescents. Also chill them at least 20 minutes after shaping, since they’ll warm up considerably as you handle them.
  • They won’t really change color much in the baking process, but do make sure the very edges turn a light golden brown. 18 minutes might be enough, but don’t be afraid to leave in a few minutes longer if needed.
  • Don’t try to sugar the pecan crescent cookies until they’ve completely cooled (overnight is best) or the sugar will melt. Sometimes I sugar them twice to make them extra perty. If you’re serving to fancy people, you’ll probably want to arrange them using tongs, since fingers will very easily melt the sugar.

Pecan Crescent Cookies

Read more

Are you excited?Your FREE Dutch Oven guide is just an email away!

Get our free guide to Dutch Ovens - Five Reasons Why the Dutch Oven is the Number One Pot in Our Kitchen!

Contains expert tips, techniques and recipes to help you make the most of your Dutch oven. Written by us, Matt and Emily. 

(We promise not to share your information.)

Want more hot dishes?Get regular recipes and articles sent straight to your inbox

We'll send you regular recipes as soon as they're published!