The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Saturdays ago ended up being my last weekend of the 2015 season at the Anacortes Farmer’s Market.  The heat was really wearing me down with this pregnancy.  Each Saturday I would come home exhausted and feeling sick for the rest of the day.  I think in my older age (compared to the first 5 pregnancies of mine) the heat was really kicking my butt!  And it has been uncommonly hot this summer in the Pacific North West!  The last Saturday after market I ended up just laying in bed for the rest of the day!  Not fun.  I had plans on doing 3 more markets but I decided to cancel because I didn’t want to go through that again.  So I may be doing the Holiday Market in November (right now I’m on the wait list, as they are full!) but I may just wait and start back up next spring.  So a big thank you to all who came out this summer and supported local artisans and farmers!  I had a fun, although short, season!

Ok, so I’ve decided to share this most delicious recipe.. It is so, so good!  I said before that I usually always have a Ziploc bag or 2 of frozen cookie dough balls ready to go so when the mood strikes for a delicious home-made cookie it’s only 16 minutes away!  Depending on how big you make your cookie balls you may get up to about 60 cookies from the recipe.  We usually get somewhere between 4 and 5 dozen out of it.  My daughter likes to make the cookies bigger so when she makes them we have less.. I usually try to make them a bit smaller so they last longer!  And as always, use the best possible ingredients you can afford.  I especially recommend not to skimp on the chocolate as that is what makes this cookie the best! One 12 oz. bag each of Ghirardelli Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate Chips.

I got this recipe from my mom.  When I was 17 she used to volunteer at The Lincoln Theatre in downtown Mount Vernon and she got the recipe from them.  I have added a few different ingredients here and there over time to make it more mine.. Not much, but I like playing with things until I get the taste I love.  I really do think the chocolate helps make it extra special.  I’ve had them with other chocolate chips and they just don’t taste as fabulous to me.  But it might be just my tastes too.  I do prefer certain chocolates!

Can you tell I shop at Costco!  The jars in back hold flour, and sugars

Can you tell I shop at Costco! The jars in back hold flour, and sugars



5 1/2 Cups Flour

1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Salt

A few dashes of Cinnamon

A few grates of fresh Nutmeg

(any other spice you might like to add, such as allspice or about 1 cup of chopped up nuts if desired)

1 12 oz. bag Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks

1 12 oz bag Ghirardelli Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Measure the dry ingredients into a large enough mixing bowl.  Stir gently with a fork or whisk.  When I add in the Cinnamon or Nutmeg I don’t usually measure.  I just eyeball it.  Sometimes I’ll add both, sometimes just the Cinnamon, sometimes I’ll throw in some other spicy spice 🙂  Usually I’ll do the spices more toward fall and winter and sometimes omit the spices all together in the warmer months of spring and summer.  It just depends on what I’m in the mood for.

The dry ingredients with just a sprinkling of cinnamon

The dry ingredients with just a sprinkling of cinnamon


1 pound (4 sticks) Melted Butter

1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar

1 1/2 Regular Sugar (I use organic raw type sugar, it’s less refined than white, not as fine)

1 Tablespoon Vanilla

4 Large Eggs

Getting the butter melted

Getting the butter melted

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan on the stove.  Watch the butter so it doesn’t burn.. You don’t need it hot, just thoroughly melted.  Measure sugars into your mixing bowl (I used a kitchen aid stand mixer with a paddle attachment) and add melted butter.  Mix until the sugars and butter are completely incorporated.  Add in the Vanilla.  I always put a bit more than the recipe calls for because I just love Vanilla!  Add in 1 egg at a time.  After each egg addition mix until incorporated then add the next.  Repeat until all the eggs are mixed in.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix.  If you are using a mixer you want to start the speed off on the lowest setting possible so you don’t get a big puff cloud of flour in your face or all over your kitchen counters.  Once the first addition of flour is just mixed in add more until all the flour in the bowl is gone.  Sometimes when I’m feeling hasty I’ll just empty the whole bowl of dry into the wet and turn the mixer on.  It’s not going to hurt if you add all the flour at once!  Just remember, start at a slow speed no matter how much flour is in the mixer!  After the dry and wet are mixed together you get to add in the chocolate!  My favorite part is taking a taste before the chocolate goes in!  and yes, I know it’s not good to eat raw eggs, and hopefully I will never get salmonella!  When you add the chocolate be careful not to over mix the dough.  One time I mixed it up too much and the paddle broke up a lot of the chocolate chips so my cookies turned into chocolate batter with chocolate chips, or double chocolate chip cookies.  Not that it’s bad, it just wasn’t what I was going for at the time!

Getting the Chocolate chip mixed into the dough

Getting the Chocolate chip mixed into the dough

You will now need to put your dough on your cookie sheet.  But before you do you either need to grease your cookie sheet with some butter, to prevent sticking, or use parchment paper to line the sheets.  I suppose a reusable mat would also work, but I have never tried one of those so I don’t know what the results would be like.  I prefer the parchment paper.  You can buy a roll in the baking section in most grocery stores.  I recently saw that Costco is carrying parchment paper now too!  I use a light color, shiny, aluminum cookie sheet with a slightly raised edge,  I do believe I bought those at Costco too!  Or they may be Nordic Wear.  Either way, I love them!  They also work great for cake rolls and Lemon cream cheese bars.

Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper for even cooking and so the cookies won't stick!

Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper for even cooking and so the cookies won’t stick!

So for now we just use a teaspoon, tablespoon, or a regular eating spoon to measure out the cookie dough.  I would love to get a cookie scoop but I haven’t gotten around to purchasing one yet!  Well, actually I purchased one from Michael’s a couple of months ago, but it was a piece of garbage that ended up breaking the first time we used it!  I do not recommend Duff’s cookie scooper from Michael’s!  Total waste of money.  Vollrath is the brand I will be purchasing (you can do a google search for a seller, has a large selection and the prices seem pretty low)  they have many different sizes, each size is a different color handle.  I believe that is the brand I used when I worked in a deli kitchen a few years back.  They work great! I think for these cookies I would either use the red handle or the black handle scoop.

Measure a good amount of cookie dough onto your sheet.  You want to try to fit as many cookies as you can on the sheet because you will be freezing these cookies right on the pan.  Once all the dough is scooped out into as even as possible heaps you want to push an indent with your finger right into the center of each cookie.  This will help the cookie to bake more evenly and not have rawish center after the baking time is done.  But, if you like that extra gooeyness then by all means do not push the hole into the center. When my daughter makes the cookies she often forgets this step and they still turn out just fine!  We usually slightly under cook the cookie as well because she likes her cookies really soft and gooey.  You do not need to push the hole all the way to the sheet, but if you do, it will be ok.

The cookie dough divided up and proportioned as evenly as possible waiting for the freezer.  The sheet on the left is already frozen and waiting for the oven!  (See, Miss O forgot to push down the holes!)

The cookie dough divided up and proportioned as evenly as possible waiting for the freezer. The sheet on the left is already frozen and waiting for the oven! (See, Miss O forgot to push down the holes!)

You will probably have more than one cookie sheet of cookie dough so if they both don’t fit into your freezer at one time just put the first pan into the freezer for about 20 minutes then transfer to a Ziploc freezer bag for a more long-term storage.  At that point throw in your other pan of cookie dough so it too can freeze. If you prefer a different brand bag that’s ok, just make sure it is a freezer bag and not a storage bag or your foods can get freezer burn! Your dough doesn’t have to be completely frozen before you put it into the Ziploc bag.  They will finish freezing in the bag.  But you will want them completely frozen before you bake any.  Freezing the dough helps the butter solidify and the cookie retain its shape during baking.  If you just cook the dough right from the mixing bowl your cookies may end up being flat and pretty spread out.  You can also keep the cookies in the freezer for a couple of months to have fresh cookies on hand when you need or want.  As my kids have gotten older our frozen cookie dough doesn’t last longer than 1 or 2 months. Probably closer to 1. Though, when they were littler I could keep cookie dough a lot longer!  I suppose having 5 little mouths instead of 1 or 2 has also helped make the cookies disappear faster than before!

When you are ready to bake you will want to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  When the oven is heated put 12 cookie doughs onto the greased or parchment lined sheet in 3 rows of 4 spaced evenly apart.  (see above photo of cookie sheet on the right)  Depending on size is how long you will want to bake them.  We usually start at 16 minutes and go from there.  If they are really small you may want to start at 10 minutes and check the doneness.  If they are really big you may need to go up to 22 minutes!  Just use your judgment.  If you like a more underdone cookie then check them early and often..  Take them out of the oven when they look like how you want them, either light in color or golden brown.. You just want to make sure you’ve baked them long enough that they are set and you will be able to pick them up once cool enough to handle.. It’s not fun when your cookie falls apart in your hand, though it still can be very delicious!

all baked and waiting for some eating!  We pulled them out at 16 minutes so they would be soft set.. Just the way Ophelia loves them!

all baked and waiting for some eating! We pulled them out at 16 minutes so they would be soft set.. Just the way Ophelia loves them!

During the holidays you can swap out the Chocolate Chips for different colored m & m’s.  At Christmas we use red and green; Easter or Spring time gets pastels; Independence Day red, white, and blue; etc.. I still prefer my Ghirardelli chocolate chip over the m & m’s but the m & m’s can be fun too.  Feel free to add chopped up nuts or switch out the chocolate for your favorite brand!  If you want nuts then add them in to the dough when you add the chocolate chips.  This is a great base recipe and a good one to play around with!  Make it your own!

All the photos were taken with my cell phone, so sorry for the not wonderful quality!  Also, I am not affiliated with any links or products in this post,  I just added them for your convenience.  The products I use and love and so therefore definitely recommend!

baby quilt, children, fabric stores, last day of school, quilting, sewing, summer

In which she (finally!) finishes Salvatore’s “baby” quilt

Salvatore is 4 years old.. to be precise he is 4 years 5 months 5 days… so many hours and so many seconds.. I’m not going to get that precise..

About a month or  two before I got pregnant with him we moved back to Washington State from Portland, Oregon (we lived next to an awesome fabric store in Milwaukie called The Mill End, where I got all the fabrics for Fifi’s baby quilt).. We moved to Everett.  Not my most favorite city in WA but I wasn’t quite yet ready to move back to Skagit County and the farmlands.  The one thing I loved about Everett was the fabric store called Pacific Fabrics.  They have them in a few different cities in the state.  They definitely aren’t Jo Anne Fabrics.  Pacific fabric is more expensive but they seem to have a better quality selection.  While checking it out one day I came across this fabric in the home decorators section of the store.. I absolutely loved it.  I bought some with the intention of making my soon to be new son a baby quilt.  It is very thick, thicker than a quilting cotton but I thought it would work great.  And, for some reason unknown to me I have always been drawn to elephants.

Backing Home decorators fabric for Sally's quilt

Backing Home decorators fabric for Sally’s quilt

So I had this fabric sitting around for years before I actually did anything with it.  Well, I actually used part of it to make a car blanket for him.. one side this fabric the other side a navy flannel.  He still uses it even now.

We moved to Anacortes right after his first birthday in March of 2012.  While living in Anacortes I came across another local fabric store right in the down town called In Stitches Quilt Shoppe.  I love this store!  While perusing the isles I came across some great old reproduction fabrics that I thought would coordinate well with the circus backing fabric I had for so long.. Up until this point I had no idea what I wanted to pair with the lovely circus fabric I acquired in Everett.  I thought the airplanes would be perfect as my little guy loved planes.  (you can see a bit of it peeking on the left hand side of the above photo) and I thought the colors would be good.. An all red white and blue quilt.  I know the styles are a bit different but I thought he wouldn’t mind and would probably like them both a lot.

I started piecing the top of the quilt when I was pregnant with Persephone (2013).  By this time Salamander was now 2 years old and still didn’t have his baby quilt!  I was able to finish the whole top, make my quilt sandwich out of the top, batting and backing fabric, even tie the quilt and get the binding all cut and ready to go before the new baby came.  I even made a quilt top for the new baby girl who would be arriving.  But I never actually put the dang quilt together!  It sat on the back of my sewing chair, then getting moved around to various places around my sewing machine for the past 2 years!

Salamander is now 4, as I said above, and I have finally finished my boys quilt! I am so happy.  I always worried that I get in some sort of horrible accident and he would never have a special blankey to remember me by, to wrap up and cuddle in and know I loved him very much.  I’m sure he would know, it’s just the kind of thoughts that go through my mind.. I may now rest at ease.. Though, now I must finish Percy’s quilt and get started on a new one for the new, and last, baby of mine.

The top of Sally's quilt

The top of Ss’s quilt finally finished!

The quilt is 9 x 9 squares, each square is a finished 5 inches. Finished quilt size is approx 45 inch square.  I decided to hand tie the quilt instead of quilting it.  All my other kiddos baby quilts are hand tied.  My sewing machine isn’t very deep and it’s kind of  pain to quilt on it.. and I have never done hand quilting before!  I do not remember who the fabric designers are as it has been so long since I bought them.  I may have the selvages for the top fabrics somewhere, just can’t place them right now.

The top of Sally's quilt all finshed

The top of Ss’s quilt all finished

front and back of Sally's

front and back of Ss’s “baby” quilt

I really love these fabrics, and though the styles of the front and back are very different, I love them together.  I am so happy and relieved I finally finished it!  It took me dang forever.. way too long.  I hope it doesn’t take me this long to make Persephone’s and the new little fella’s quilts!

My little man all cozy and enjoying his new "baby" quilt!

My little man all cozy and enjoying his new “baby” quilt!

Sally seems to be enjoying it!  He even took it on the 2 hour car ride to drop his big sissy off at a friends house for her sleep over.. Makes me happy to know I made him happy!  I love his little squinty eyed smile with his dimpled cheeks and pointy elf ears.  He’s my naughty little angel!

And to make it all a million times better…. today was the last day of school for the year!!  Last night Miss O Graduated from 8th grade (she was and is Gorgeous in her new dress!!).  That was cool, not literally, it was pretty hot in there.. Especially with 2 little kids crawling on me wanting to get up and get drinks of water.  After they finally called Ophelia’s name I took Sally and Percy out into the hall for the duration while my Mama, 2 of my brothers, one of their wives, my 3 year old nephew and my 2 middle children sat in the bleachers and finished watching.  Oh, I am so happy that I have 2 months without having to wake up early 5 days a week to get the kids ready (holler at them over and over to brush their teeth, get dressed and eat breakfast) for school and walk them to the bus.. It will be nice to be able to spend time together as a family, hopefully with little arguing between them!  Hot days with popcorn and movie nights..  Lot’s of fresh fruit.  I am trying to enjoy them as much as I can before I have another new infant to take up more of my time.  Doing it all alone is going to be very time consuming!