More than a Cookie: A Comfort Classic
BY JACQUELYN DUGGAN
*Cue a happy sigh*
What’s your go-to favorite when you’re seeking warmth and soul care?
Mine has always been chocolate chip cookies.
Growing up, I remember my mom making her favorite recipe for so many occasions: a road trip snack to the beach or mountains, as a birthday gift for friends (yes, they were and still are, that beloved!) – even for just Saturday afternoons when we were craving something sweet.
Hers are always perfectly crisp on the outside, with a slight chew in the center and just enough semi-sweet chocolate chips.
When I first met my now-husband Jonathan, I learned that one of his favorite comfort foods was also his mom’s cookies. Her’s were lovingly called “party cookies” and included other chocolate candies like M&M’s in addition to chocolate chips.
I remember thinking there was no way I’d love these as much as my own mom’s cookies.
After all, I’m pretty selective when it comes to a classic like chocolate chip cookies. And, I’m pretty partial to anything my mom makes.
But of course, I completely fell in love with his mom’s recipe.
After we lost Karen in November of 2019, I began to make her cookies regularly: especially when we were missing her, or sometimes, just because.
It has definitely become a staple in our house over the last two years. (One of which I literally made weekly during most of 2020.)
When I make these cookies, I feel connected to her – like I’m honoring one of her beloved pastimes with her family in the kitchen.
Food has the ability to do that for us, doesn’t it? Bringing warmth and care when we need it most. In this case, for me, feeling close to my mother-in-law.
So in honor of the changing seasons and Karen’s birthday this month, I’m sharing her cookie recipe with you.
It’s simple and straightforward – giving you the opportunity to add whatever you want to it.
I’ve also included a few notes on how I’ve adapted it to be dairy and gluten-free, along with some of my favorite baking tools and tips.
It’s a perfect recipe, and I hope you love it as much as we do.
Karen’s Party Cookies
1 cup cold butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup of white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups of chocolate chips, M&M’s or whatever candies or nuts you’d like!
+ Preheat oven to 375, and prep two baking sheets with parchment paper.
+ In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then, add in the eggs and vanilla.
+ In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
+ Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients mixing bowl, until no dry spots are left.
+ Lastly, fold in chocolate chips or other candies.
+ Scoop rounded spoonfuls onto your baking sheet at least an inch apart.
+ Now, this is important: let your dough chill for at least 30-minutes. This will allow for perfectly rounded and domed cookies. I promise it’s worth the wait!
+ Once your dough has chilled, pop the cookies into the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
+ Let cool* for a few minutes and enjoy!
Recipe Notes & Tips
*Please note that I have shared affiliate links through Amazon, which I may receive a small kickback on any purchases you make. I’ve only linked items that I actually use + love!
> To make this dairy-free, I like to swap with Earth Balance unsalted “butter” sticks – these have a really nice consistency and flavor for baking. Earth Balance is available in almost every grocery store too, which makes it easy to find! Another option is to swap with a ½ cup Earth Balance and a ½ cup of shortening. This will make your cookies chewier if you like that!
> As for dairy-free chocolate chips: Trader Joe’s and Kroger’s Private Collection are naturally dairy-free. EnjoyLife makes good chocolate chips too!
> To make this gluten-free, I swear by the King Arthur Measure for Measure flour. The consistency is so good, and I’ve had several non-GF friends tell me that they don’t notice it’s GF! Do note that it’s about $8/bag which is pretty costly for flour. So, if you prefer to make your own that’s a bit more cost-effective, The Minimalist Baker has a really great recipe.
> Parchment paper is your friend! Inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and keeps your baked items in pristine condition while in the oven. Reynold’s makes one that is pre-cut which makes it that much easier to use.
> Next to parchment paper, a good non-stick cookie sheet, and cooling rack are also your friends. Tessa Aria of Handle the Heat talks a lot about this and so many other tips in her cookbook.
> This recipe is best made with a standing mixer. I swear by my KitchenAid, but I also know that it’s an investment and also takes up a good bit of counter space. So, you may also choose to make your cookies with a hand-mixer (another one of my favorite kitchen tools!) or by hand with a rubber spatula as well.
> I like to scoop my cookies with this cookie dough scoop – it creates the perfect size cookie! You can also just use a spoon if you prefer.