The gift of sweetness

There is nothing sweeter than a classic chocolate chip cookie.

Get on the nice list: Give the gift of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies this holiday season.

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

With the votes just counted, Santa’s pollster elves have determined that chocolate chip cookies are the most beloved Christmas cookies. (And they’re not bad on other occasions, either.) After all, a classic is always in style. When I make various Christmas cookies, the chocolate chip cookies in my house always disappear first.

If you happened to be listening to Betty Crocker’s radio program back in 1938, you’d know that Nestle Toll House cookies aka chocolate chip cookies were the supposed invention of Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. She was forced to use a substitution — a chopped Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bar — while baking cookies for her guests. Since these chocolate morsels did not melt but stayed intact, her new cookies didn’t turn out as ordinary chocolate cookies. They became a hit.

Ruth’s recipe then appeared on the back of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bars, and Nestle supplied her with free chocolate for life. Originally, Nestle included a small chopping tool with their chocolate bar. But by 1941, Nestle morsels and a competitor’s chocolate chips were sold as we know them today. Who can imagine a world without chocolate chips? Scary!

Give the gift of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. A few added ingredients will leave anyone’s kitchen smelling delightful in addition to making great-tasting cookies.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE GIFT JAR

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup coarsely-chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Mix together: Flour, baking soda and salt. Transfer mixture to a 1-quart glass jar. (A wide-mouth Ball or Mason jar work well). Add remaining ingredients, in order listed, layer upon layer, pressing down layers, if necessary.

Seal lid securely, and decorate with pretty ribbon and instruction card.

Recipe Card Instructions

(attach to jar):

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat ½ cup (1 stick) softened butter, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon of vanilla and ¼ teaspoon water. Beat well until mixed. Add cookie jar ingredients to the bowl. Mix just enough to incorporate into a dough.

Drop dough by well-rounded tablespoon (Ping-Pong ball size) onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 14–16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool cookies on wire rack. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

The following are easy, quick, chocolate chip bar cookies baked in a pan.

CHOCOLATE CHIP PAN COOKIES

2¼ cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 cup butter, softened

¾ cup packed brown sugar

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Grease a 15×10-inch pan. Spread dough evenly in pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 25–30 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool and cut into small squares.

Eat Well, Live Long, Enjoy!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

Recipe winner:

Congratulations to Michael Harkins, who submitted recipes, and was chosen in a random drawing. Michael is the November winner of a $100 ShopRite gift card.

Here are Michael’s recipes.

GERRY’S CAKE

3 cups flour

3 cups sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

6 large eggs

1 cup milk

1½ cups canola oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat all ingredients for 5 minutes (no more, no less).

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and turn out. Sprinkle top with confectioners’ sugar.

E Z CHEESECAKE

2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese

¾ cup sugar

4 eggs

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup milk

Put all ingredients into blender. Beat for 2 minutes.

Pour into an 8×8-inch pan, sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. (Check at 50 minutes).

After cake is done, top with cinnamon.

The recipe submissions have been wonderful. Please remember to include exact measurements in your recipes. You could be December’s lucky winner. Send your recipe to:

Readers’ Recipes

c/o Northeast Times

2 Executive Campus

Suite 400

Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Or email your recipe to WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com.

Please include your name, home address, and telephone number. ••