Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year (followed by Halloween and Thanksgiving). I can remember baking cookies with my mom every year. She would bake batches and batches of cookies and put them in tins, which she would then serve for a Christmas party, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. She always made the same couple of cookies - Chocolate Chip, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Graham Cracker Yummies (my fav), Sugar Cookies (which of course, I always HAD to decorate), and Doggie Turds (of course, if you ask her, she'll say they are called Oatmeal Logs or something, but I know better - despite the name, they are a wonderful oatmeal and confectionary sugar based cookie dipped in chocolate and actually is a recipe passed down from Karen's mom).
Well, despite my mom's recipes, I am on the hunt for my own traditional cookies (p.s. Graham Cracker Yummies are always on my list). With December just a couple of days away and our yearly girl's baking weekend coming up in a few weeks, I thought I would start experimenting before the actual day, so I can figure out what I am going to make this year. Tonight, Biz and Justin invited us over for some fajitas and margaritas (yahoo!) and altho the Mexican Wedding Cakes probably more fit the bill, I took a look in my trusty BH&G 1965 ed. "New Cook Book" and stumbled across a cookie called the Chocolate Chippers. I have been craving a chocolate chip cookie (sorry, ladies, not THAT kind of craving ;) and this one seemed to fit the bill.
My mom always had a copy of the BH&G cookbook around when she baked. As I use it more and more, I think it may have been moreso because they use a lot of Crisco in their baking. My dad is lactose intolerant and Crisco is perfect, because there is no trace of milk products (aka butter) and if there was butter, she would use margarine or non-dairy creamer instead of milk. I don't think I started using butter until a few years ago when I realized the flavor was that much better (and no trans fats!). Of course, in this day and age, fortunately unlike some other allergies, my dad can use Lactaid and safely ingest milk-based products (although he still doesn't drink a glass of milk, but then again never did, even before he became lactose intolerant, which started when he was 18, but the doctor didn't diagnose him until he was 28!).
Anyhow, as usual I digress, one lifesaver that Crisco has come up with is their individual Crisco sticks. These things are excellent! No more buying the big tub, which I would never use before it went bad (is that possible with this stuff?!) and scooping it into a measuring cup and then back out into the mixer (you get the idea), now you just cut it like you would cut a stick of butter. Yes, you pay more for convenience, but it is one convenience I don't mind!
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown)
1 tsp. vanilla
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1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces (I used Nestle Chocolate Chips)
1/2 cup broken/chopped nuts (optional, I omitted)
Oven 375 degrees
- Cream together shortening, sugars, egg, and vanilla till light and fluffy.
- Sift together dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture, blending well.
- Add chocolate pieces and nuts. If desired, add 1/2 cup crushed peppermint stick candy.
- Drop from teaspoon 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet.
- Bake 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from pan immediately.
Review: I absolutely LOVED these cookies. I will definitely make again this Christmas season. Now, BH&G says the recipe makes 3.5 dozen. I didn't come close to this. I used the medium cookie scoop (also from Pampered Chef) - p.s. I will never do cookies any other way; I used to use the 2 spoon method - you know, the way your grandmother or mom would have taught you back in the day, scoop some cookie mix and then use the other spoon to drop it onto the cookie sheet - no longer necessary with a good metal scoop!! Anyway, I used the medium scoop and only got 21 cookies out of it. Needless-to-say, I will probably at least triple the recipe when I make it for the holidays (as hope to give away some cookies as well). I also tried a new feature on my stove, which I haven't used in the past - the Convection Bake option. When you put in 375, it automatically drops it to 350. I don't know if it made the cookie better or not, but I definitely think I will try this feature again. I hope you enjoy these cookies as well!