This is the mother of all chocolate chip cookies. Well, it’s the mother of most of my chocolate chip-ish kind of recipes. Everyone needs a solid chocolate chip cookie recipe in their arsenal and this one is mine. Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies are slightly crisp on the outside edges but soft and a bit chewy in the middle.
They aren’t super chewy, I have another recipe for that, but they aren’t just soft. You can break one in half without a mess of crumbs, but the cookie has enough texture to give you a hearty, satisfying bite. It came to me from an old roommate of mine, who had just relocated from San Francisco. She used to bake them up and bring them to work.
This was back in the day when I was just starting in retail. I lived in a townhouse in central New Jersey where I had an ever revolving door of roommates.
In the beginning, there were multiple townhouses of retail roommates. The rental complex was a good hub for commuting for those of us who worked in the stores and a 5 minute ride to the train station for those of us who commuted into New York to work in the buying offices. I think I had over 16 different roommates during the years that I lived there. It felt kind of like a dorm for department store junior executives. We would often celebrate the holidays together since most of us had relocated from other states and we rarely got a day off between Thanksgiving and Christmas to travel to see our families.
We worked crazy hours, but we had a large group of friends and we had a lot of fun. These cookies became quite popular in our townhouse and at work, and my roommate became known for them. I eventually accepted an offer for a job outside of Philly and left the townhouse and my roommates. However, I didn’t leave the cookies; the recipe came with me to that company and then the company after that. Before long, I too, became famous for the cookies. Everyone always wanted the recipe. When my old roommate left her job to come work at my new company, I don’t think she was happy when she found out “her famous cookies” had inadvertently become “my famous cookies.” Fast forward to me getting married and having kids. I was working my same crazy retail hours while my husband had an office in our home. Because of my hours, he picked up most of the cooking. He also loved these cookies and liked having a stash in the freezer, so he started to make them himself, if I didn’t have the time. I’m sure you know what happened next.
Other mothers and teachers would talk about how Ramona’s husband made the best chocolate chip cookies. Yep, they became “his famous cookies.” ( Let’s just say I never saw that coming.) Since then, I’ve researched tons of chocolate chip cookie recipes. With the internet, it’s quite easy to compare them to each other and they all seem to come from four or five very popular sources. Everyone has their tweaks and secret ingredients, but I can read almost any and see where their roots came from. So, when I say this is the mother of my chocolate chip recipes, I mean it is the one I tweak and test against, changing types of flour, butter and sugar ratios, or switching up leavening agents or flavors. Sometimes I add my own secret ingredient.
I’ll be sharing those other recipes with you over time, but this is where they started. I’m posting this recipe today in its original form. I baked it that way, except for the toasted pecans, which are optional, unless you’re me, then they’re mandatory. I happen to think this recipe is 100 times better with the toasted pecans in it; then, it’s almost my favorite cookie of all. But, there are others in my life who do not bow to the toasted pecan chocolate chip cookie, and for today, for them, I have optioned out the nuts (#cookie sacrifices.) If you love nuts in your cookies, you must try these with the toasted pecans. I’m sure you have a favorite recipe…Is it the one that adds the extra egg yolk?
Or, is it the famous one from New York? Is cornstarch one of your secret ingredients? I’ve tried those and many others, and I won’t tell you that I didn’t like them, because they were all great cookie recipes. But we still keep coming back to this one as our favorite. We like the flavor and the texture….not too soft, not too crispy…just nice, thick, sink your teeth into it delicious. Sometimes I see this recipe out there, but not quite as often as others.
It comes from Michael Bauer, the executive food and wine editor and restaurant critic for The San Francisco Chronicle. I have no idea when it was published, as my recipe is on a piece of notebook paper handwritten by my former roommate. It probably appeared in The Chronicle a million years ago, much like my Peanut butter Cut Out Cookies did in The Plain Dealer. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find buried treasure. If you haven’t found your chocolate chip cookie nirvana, this recipe is certainly worth a try. Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Maybe they’ll become “your famous cookies.”