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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Only One You Need

***Did you know... You can follow One Sassy Housewife on facebook and twitter now?!?! So if you find yourself wondering what I'm doing (probably taking pictures of my son) or thinking (probably something about marshmallows) at any given moment, you can stalk me in one or both of those places and find out. Hooray!

You know what I love about cookies? They are a bakery item I can't seem to mess up! Cakes, breads, brownies... all seem to go wrong for me... but cookies are simple and versatile. Especially when you find the right recipe. The right basic recipe can be tweaked for a different cookie and success every time... which is awesome!
This basic chocolate chip cookie recipe came from the America Cooks cookbook (yeah you read that price right-- no longer in print but highly sought after cookbook, it has the basic recipe for everything your grandma used to make...) which is another family heirloom kind of thing... that my parents stalked Ebay to find for me when I started cooking. (Similar story to the magnalite!)
 This particular recipe makes a small-ish size batch (about 16-20 cookies, depending on how big you like 'em.) of perfect crispy, chewy cookies. We like crispy chewy. But if you are a cake-y kind of cookie person, it's easy to tweak. Then when you are ready, through in your yummy bits of choice: Chocolate chips, M&Ms, nuts, crushed peppermints, dried fruit (craisins!)... so many yummy options.
The cookies pictured have white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
Another thing I love about this recipe, is it makes a smaller batch, so you don't have 4 dozen cookies when you just wanted 2 cookies for a snack... but it also doubles easily if you need cookies for a crowd. OR it freezes well if you want to make a double batch and freeze half for a rainy day. I recommend using your cookie scoop to make the individual balls, then throwing them in the freezer for about 15 minutes to flash freeze them, before throwing them in a ziploc bag (or other airtight container) for storage. You can keep them in your freezer for up to a month that way. When you are ready to bake (maybe just 1 or 2... or 8 or 12 at a time) just pull them out of the freezer and line them up on your tray while the oven is preheating, then bake and enjoy as normal.
(another thing... I like to bake my cookies on parchment paper... because, well you can see what my cookie sheet looks like. Is everyone's cookie sheet grubby looking? I kinda feel like that's a universal thing. Anyway... parchment paper! Cookies don't stick, don't burn as easily, and clean up is as simple as throwing away a piece of paper. Awesome.)
So are you ready for it? My secret cookie recipe... the only cookie recipe you need:

Chocolate Chippers

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup presifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease baking sheets (or line with parchment).
Cream shortening, sugars, egg, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir into creamed mixture, blending well. Add chocolate/nuts/candy.
Drop dough by tablespoons (I use a cookie scoop), two inches apart on baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat at once.

*For cake-y chewy cookies, replace half the shortening with butter. For soft cake-y cookies replace all the shortening with butter.
*Use white, milk, dark, or mini-chocolate chips (or a combination!) in place of semi sweet chips! Also try M&M's, Reeces Pieces, or other crushed candies/candybars.
*If adding nuts, use only 6 oz chocolate, and 1/2 cup of nuts
*baking time does vary slightly based on what you added, just keep an eye on your oven for that first batch...

Now make yourself some hot cocoa and a batch of yummy cookies and share with your family this holiday! Enjoy!

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