By age 12, Jenny was a latch-key baker. She’d sit in class and dream about cookies. Once she arrived home, she’d call her mom at work and get permission to apron up and get her bake on. When Sandy came home, like the kids in those 1950’s TV shows, she could not resist the perfect, round delight. “It just smelled so good,” she admits with a trickle of shame creeping up her cheek. Sandy would kick off her heels and sit at the table while her daughter served her warm chocolate chip cookies and milk. Before dinner.
Today, Jenny’s chocolate chip cookies are still her go-to treat; they’re easy to throw together and even easier to clean up. She tosses everything into the dirty bowl, lets it soak; then, while the cookies are baking she finishes the clean-up in time to pour a glass of milk and sink her teeth into warm gooey goodness.
As she stirs the dry ingredients into the wet with the help of two budding baker boys, she acknowledges there’s one step that’s imperative to the right shaped cookie. Once sheets come out of the oven, the baker must either run them under cool water or set them outside if it’s a cool day to avoid the pre-cook—which leads to melted, flat cookies. She also insists on Crisco; it gives the right cookie shape and texture—butter will not suffice.
While growing up, she had no interest in preparing anything in the kitchen except cookies. These days, however, her repertoire and cooking interests have expanded, and she dedicates the same level of attention to any plate she prepares, often styling her food and creating works of art for her mom during visits. One thing, however, has not changed. Every time she’s back home, Jenny still stuffs the mouse with cookies, and she remains the master of the quiet lid lift. If you watch carefully, you might catch her teaching her young apprentices the technique.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cup flour (plus extra)
1 tsp salt
1 Tsp baking soda
1 cup Crisco
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips
Mix together flour, salt and baking soda, set aside. In a mixing bowl, mix Crisco, both sugars and vanilla; mix at low speed. Add eggs one at a time while mixing. Add dry ingredients 1/3 at a time, pausing mixer while adding them. Dough should clean side of bowl, add extra flour if needed until this is achieved. Fold in chocolate chips with a spoon until evenly incorporated. Make tall dough balls (about 1 inch in diameter and 2 inches tall). Place on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 9-11 minutes or until cookies start to brown.