A Cookie Baking Christmas


Andrew WeidmanCookies

One of my fondest memories of my grandmother is the flavor of her chocolate chip cookies. They were like no other I’d ever tried, puffy and soft, not crunchy or chewy. Mom made Michigan Rocks and sand tarts, oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies and raisin filled cookies, and when she baked chocolate chip cookies, they were made according to the Tollhouse recipe on the chip bag. Little Grandma’s cookies were unique, one-of-a-kind. Sometimes she made them with chopped black walnuts, and sometimes she made them ‘plain.’ I was in my junior year in high school when she passed away, and the recipe died with her. I don’t know if she ever wrote it down, but no one ever found it.

The memory of that flavor has stuck with me over the years. My first Christmas with Jessie, she asked me what cookies I wanted for Christmas. Have you ever tried to describe a flavor? Let me tell you, it’s frustrating, to say the least. Armed with nothing more than, “they were kinda soft, and they had a, I don’t know, a zippy flavor to them, oh! And they mounded up, they didn’t puddle when the baked …” Jessie set out to try to find the lost recipe.


Uncounted cookbooks, Christmas cookie magazines and web searches later, Jessie decided we’d never find the exact recipe in a book. That’s when she began working to recreate it. Remember my lame description, the one with a ‘zippy’ flavor? She started by experimenting with cream cheese recipes, but they all produced bar cookies. Delicious cookies, but still, bar cookies. I can’t even remember all the different rabbit holes she went down, chasing Little Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies. I do remember sampling a lot of incredible cookies; all were good, but none had that taste.


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