Ah, Libs -
What is it about coming home? I mean, to your parents' house? I have a place of my own, a husband, kids, career – and yet, there is something about driving up to my childhood home that makes me let out a big breath and relax. I could say it’s the smell of the surrounding apple and cherry orchards that are heavy with ripening fruit. Or that it’s the anticipation of the summer sunset that is always red and orange and stunning. Or even that it’s all the fond memories I have: you know, the ones of torturing my little brother or sneaking out with high school friends.
But the truth is, coming “home” is so great because my mom is there. And, as you can attest, nobody – but nobody - pampers like a mom.
She always sweeps in and grabs the kids from the car, hauling them in while she tells me to pour myself a glass of wine. She always has my bed all made with freshly ironed sheets (I’m not kidding – the woman loves to iron). And she always has my favorite foods ready and waiting.
My mom is a wonderful cook (despite the fact she would rather be reading), and, growing up, meals were always homemade and plentiful (I definitely had a pudgy phase). I have many favorites, but there are definitely some standouts: homemade mac 'n cheese (when NO ONE was doing it yet), fabulous gazpacho (a summer staple), homemade brioche (every Christmas!!!) and – all year round - best ever homemade chocolate chip cookies.
I know, I know – what does that mean? Everyone has there own version of the best – some like thin and crispy, some like thick and cakey, some overcooked, some undercooked. For me, it is thick, chewy, buttery and PACKED full of chocolate chips. Which, of course, underscores the importance, so often overlooked, of choosing the correct chocolate chips.
See’s Candies was started in Los Angeles, California in 1921 by Charles See, his wife and his mother. They are a classic candy store carrying all manner of confections, from chocolate caramels to peanut brittle. But one of the things they do the best, at least as far as I am concerned, is their jumbo semi-sweet chocolate chips. These are unlike many of the store bought brands available today (even some of the really high-end ones) as they don’t have that waxy texture. They have a crisp bite and a nutty flavor, with just a whiff of coconut in the aftertaste. They are amazing. And they make every cookie recipe I have used them in over-the-top delicious.
Almost all chocolate chip cookie recipes are a variation on a theme: subtle changes in the amount of flour, melted versus creamed butter, number of eggs, etc. And my mom's is no different. Truthfully, it's adapted from the recipe found on the back of the See’s chocolate chip package. She’s changed around some of the ingredients and added some oats, but nothing too fancy. I've made them a hundred times and they always turn out perfectly.
Yet, somehow, when my momma makes 'em, they seem to taste even better.
My Mom’s Seecret Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (adapted from See’s Original Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe)
Oven at 375 (or 350 convection).
1 C unsalted butter
2 C dark brown sugar
1 T Vanilla
2 ¼ C flour
1 C oats
½ t salt
1 t baking soda
1 package See's Semi-sweet chocolate chips *
1 C walnuts, chopped (optional)
Measure flour, salt and baking soda into a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating until just incoproated. Add vanilla. Stir in flour mixture with a wooden spoon.
Add oats, nuts and chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Let the dough sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Drop tough by teaspoonfuls (or more) onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or longer, depending on size.
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days (at least, theoretically). The dough keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week. Frozen dough can be pre-shaped and frozen, IQF style, for up to 3 months. Just remember to bake for few minutes longer.
*Note: the See's package contains 16oz of chocolate chips, which is different from most store-bought brands which usually contain only 12oz. I think this can only help you.