Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I have been meaning to write about these cookies for such a long time, because, well, if you have this recipe, you will not need any other. They are so simple, yet so very very good. I was reminded of them this past weekend at the women’s retreat that I go on twice a year.

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The view from where we stay.

Carol and I drove up together (Carol is the one that gave me her wonderful Limpa Bread recipe, and her rustic White Bread recipe). As we were unloading our things from the car, we discovered that we had brought the same project to work on – cleaning up and organizing our recipe books! What are the chances? I wish I had a picture of Carol’s recipe book; it was so stuffed with recipes that were falling out from all angles, yellowed, some hand written, some stained, some written by her children – what a treasure. Mine was similarly stuffed, but just not nearly as full!

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I decided some recipes just needed to stay exactly how they are.

Organizing these books is a difficult task. The whole purpose of these books is to keep recipes organized, but I find that certain recipes need to be right at the front, just jammed in there, easy to grab. I don’t want to re-write them. I know exactly what they look like: the texture of the paper, the little notes written in with every change or addition, the hand writing of loved ones. My eyes know exactly where to find them. So what Carol and I decided was that we would go through and at least get rid of the recipes that we knew we would never make. That seemed reasonable.

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Retreat sunset.

In looking through my recipes, I came across the spiced chocolate chip cookie recipe that I got from my old and dear friend Monica. We used to work together in the 90’s, back before either of us was married or had kids.

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Monica is the cutie lying on our laps, and I am leaning on her shoulder.

Now Monica has five kids (how did that happen?), and some of her family members fondly refer to her as “Mama-ca”. She is amazing. And she is a fantastic cook. I remember the day so many years ago she invited me over for lunch, and made a lovely soup, and then for dessert, these ridiculously fabulous spiced chocolate chip cookies. And she told me all about her new boyfriend, who is now her husband, and the father of all of those kids. I still have the recipe that I wrote down that day, on Monica’s stationary with her name and address on it. I have since re-written the recipe, but I will always keep the original.

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Never mind the pumpkin seeds…

Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Monica’s recipe)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
  3. Blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
  4. Stir in 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips, and walnuts if using them.
  5. Cover and chill for at least two hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°
  7. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
  8. Scoop dough into 1 1/2 Tbsp balls, roll in powdered sugar, and place two inches apart on cookie sheet.
  9. Bake one tray at a time on center rack in oven for 10 to 11 minutes.
  10. Let cookies cool for five minutes on cookie tray before transferring to cooling rack. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen large cookies.

Note: The powdered sugar caramelizes a bit on the bottom (crispy!), and ends up making almost a glaze on top: it can be messy, but it looks so pretty and festive! But if you want, skip the powdered sugar. They will look like ordinary chocolate chip cookies, just a little darker, and they will still be delicious.

Tip!! – To have your cookies looking round and “bakery-like”, use a cookie scoop. I love mine; it really makes scooping the dough easier, and the cookies are all the same size… no fighting over the biggest one! And here’s another tip that I forgot about. Scoop out the cookie dough before chilling it. It’s much easier to scoop the dough when it’s not cold. Just make sure to cover it when chilling so it doesn’t dry out.

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