Whether you like crunchy dipping cookies or chewy cookies, I think that chocolate chip cookies are the epitome of an American childhood snack. I remember getting scolded for sneaking them from the cookie jar when my mother was out of the room. My mother had super-human hearing and no matter how quietly I lifted the lid of the cookie jar…she always heard me. Sometimes even from the laundry room in the basement. How did she do that!?
I have so many wonderful memories from my childhood of Christmas. Every year Christmas greatly involved my Grandma Engels. You see, she was a widow, and my mother was her only living child. So every year either we spent Christmas at her home in the country, or she drove to the town that we lived in and she would spend Christmas Eve and Day at our home. Looking back, I’d have to say that the Christmases at my Grandma’s house were my favorite. She lived an hour away, and I fondly remember laying in the back of my parents’ station wagon and singing at the top of my lungs, over and over again, “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandma’s house we go…” I always believed that that song was all about my grandma. I mean, that was just the kind of drive we took to get to her house. We’d also sing every Christmas carol we could think of on that long journey to Grandma’s house. I chuckle now, thinking about how that simple hour drive seemed such a long trip. As an adult, I would give anything to have only raised my kids an hour away from their grandparents. What a blessing that was.
I remember one year when I was quite young, we had arrived at her house on Christmas Eve, and just after dark, my father excitedly called me to the big picture window in the breezeway. He pointed at the sky, and said, “Look! You can see Rudolph’s nose!” I stared out the window, amazed. Of course, really that red nose was powered by jet engines, rather than a caribou, but what does a 5 year old care about that?
One of the things I loved about having Christmas at Grandma’s, was that when we were there, we always went to church on Christmas Eve. My dad never went with us, but for some reason he always fell asleep while we were gone. And while we were at church, guess who came early? That’s right! We’d walk in the door and be greeted by the mountain of presents under the tree, squealing as we “woke up” Dad, who was always shocked that he had slept through the visit. My sister and I would then open all of our gifts that evening. The next morning, while my parents slept in, Kristy and I would play with our brand new toys for hours. Wasn’t that clever of Santa, bringing them early so my parents could get some Christmas shuteye?
Whether we spent the holiday at Grandma’s or at my house, Christmas Day there was always a feast. My parents, sister and I, Grandma Engels, Grandma & Grandpa Dahl, and often my aunt, uncle and cousin would be there as well. Christmas dinner was a big ham with all the fixings and desserts. My Grandma Engels always made her famous corn casserole – the one my own family fights over and I have to make two of every holiday to have plenty of leftovers. Grandma Dahl would make lots of pies and just for me, she would always make her ice cream dessert. I would eat it in the tiniest of servings to make it last as long as possible, because I only got it once a year. Twice if she made it for easter dinner.
There’s just something about this time of year that brings back great memories from childhood. Speaking of childhood, there is nothing that makes me feel like a kid again more than a classic chocolate chip cookie.
In this particular batch of cookies, I used milk chocolate morsels. But you can use semi-sweet or even some dark chocolate chips. Whatever you happen to have in the pantry will work just fine.
This cookie dough gets refrigerated for a while before you do the baking. You should chill it for a least a couple hours, but overnight would be even better.
Enjoy these beauties!
What are some of your fondest Christmas memories from childhood?
- 2¾ c all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2½ sticks (1¼ c) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1¾ c brown sugar
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 c milk chocolate chips (or whatever variety you happen to have)
- ½ c finely chopped pecans (optional)
- To begin, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. Give them a stir to mix them together.
- In your mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until they are fluffy and pale, about 3-4 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then add in the vanilla.
- Add in the dry ingredients, and mix on slow speed until it is combined.
- Add in the chocolate chips and pecans. Stir them in by hand.
- Cover the dough with some plastic wrap and refrigerate for t least 2 hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to bake them, heat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoons, about 2 inches apart onto parchment paper for a baking stone, or a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges, but still a bit soft in the center. Let the cookies cool in place for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to cooling racks to cool completely.