When we were little, my two cousins and I would spend the summers together. They aren’t, in fact, my real cousins. If you want to get technical, they’re my second cousins. I think. You see, they are actual cousins- their mothers are sisters. Their mother’s mother was my grandmother’s sister. So, the two families- my mother’s and my cousins’ mothers’- used to spend vacations together. My mother grew up with her brothers and her cousins. (Are you following me here? This is why we just say cousins.) My grandmother wanted to make sure those family ties stayed strong so when we were a bit older, she invited my cousins to stay with her each summer.
We spent summers and later on, Christmas vacations, together. As we grew up, we remained close and spent time together in various permutations. We traveled to Israel to visit other cousins together, one cousin dated a good friend of mine, another cousin lived with my mother when I was living in DC. Funnily enough, we’ve now set ourselves up to repeat history- we each have children or are expecting children in the exact intervals that we were born (age-wise, that is). We’re hopeful we can help our children grow up like we did.
Anyway, there was an enchanted freezer at my grandmother’s house. How enchanted, you ask? Well, let me tell you. See this freezer:Plain, unobtrusive. But, trust me when I tell you, this freezer is magic. Actually, this isn’t the freezer that we grew up with but Grandma’s was similar. Plain and unobtrusive but with a cool lock that used a wavy key (I just tried googling it to give you an image but no soap. It must be a really old key.). The key hung on the hook above the handle so that no one would get locked inside. So far, not so exciting, right? Well, inside the freezer….
OK, to be fair, since this isn’t Grandma’s freezer the inside isn’t as exciting as hers. Hers had cakes and all kinds of goodies. Mine has butter and old chili. But you get the idea, right? So, where’s the magic? Where’s the enchantment? C’mon, get to it already!!! Alright, so here’s the deal, Grandma’s freezer? Had a never-ending supply of chocolate chip cookies. Seriously. No matter what day, time, month or how many we’d eaten, there were always more. The kicker? I never once saw her make them. Never.
The best thing about the cookies was how we could always obtain more- we’d have my youngest cousin approach Grandma, open her big blue eyes as wide as possible and ask. That was our secret weapon- no one could- and still can’t- refuse my cousin E. She always came back with more cookies for us. It never failed. But they regenerated by magic. I saw Grandma make an endless number of dishes but never once did I see her make these cookies. As a result, even using her recipe, I’ve never been able to recreate them. So the recipe below is mine- they’re good, trust me- but they aren’t Grandma’s.
Never-Ending Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) (keep it at room temperature so it’s soft)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 package milk chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet or cookie sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
Place all dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, coffee) into a small bowl and whisk (you could sift but that’s just more dishes to do). Set aside.
When you measure the brown sugar, you want it to be packed. This means it’s really squashed down into the measuring cup, like so:
When you put it in the bowl, it’ll be like when you make sandcastles at the beach. Add the white sugar and the butter to the bowl as well. Mix them together. I use a hand mixer first which results in sort of chunky, mealy dough. Once it gets to that stage, I take off my rings and use my (clean) hands to squish it all together a bit more evenly.
Add the eggs and vanilla, once at a time, mixing between additions. Add the flour mixture (you can do it all at once or you can do it gradually- I’m a believer in not mixing more than you have to so I always just dump it all at once) and mix until combined. Don’t forget to sort of scrape the bottom of the bowl so you get everything incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and mix (again, I do that part by hand).Use a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to drop the cookies on the baking sheet. I only recently started using a scoop and it’s so much easier than spoons. Really. Invest in one if you make lots of cookies. Make sure to leave space in between since the cookies will spread while baking.
Bake for about 9 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Or transfer directly to your waiting mouth- just be careful as the chocolate will be somewhat molten. Be sure to put some in a freezer bag for the downstairs freezer. You wouldn’t want to run out. If you make enough, maybe your freezer will magically become enchanted, too. Just don’t let anyone see you make them- I think that’s part of the magic.